You can’t change who you are, but you can change what you have in your head, you can refresh what you’re thinking about, you can put some fresh air in your head.
~ Ernesto Bertarelli
Slowness means cleaving perfectly to time, so closely that the seconds fall one by one, drop by drop like the steady dripping of a tap on stone. This stretching of time deepens space. It is one of the secrets of walking: a slow approach to landscapes that gradually renders them familiar. Like the regular encounters that deepen friendship.
~ Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking
It’s been a good week here at the ranch. Busy, but mostly with good things. It seems so important, especially these days, to fill one’s life with mostly good things. In that regard, I took a small break from the news. Instead, I spent more time doing mostly good things.
A good friend came to visit. J arrived on Wednesday afternoon and left on Thursday morning. She’s been an incredible source of support for a long time. We met online via the now defunct Quit Smoking Diaries, and every now and then we get together outside of cyberspace in what a lot of people refer to as the real world. It was great to spend some time with her, walking around the property, watching the sunset at the Point, playing Shut the Box, and gabbing with each other about this, that, and the other thing. J is an artist, one that I admire (and I love, love, love her latest body of work: Misbegotten Sea Creatures and not just because there is one named after me) and we spent a little time on Thursday morning drawing while we were conversing about life, the universe, and everything. It was pretty cool to look up from my own work every now and then to watch as her latest drawing/sea creature was being birthed.
I’ve been drawing and playing with pastels. I haven’t been too successful just yet with the pastels, but it’s been fun trying. I did ruin something I liked by trying an art hack I found on YouTube. Art “hack” is about right, in the sense of mediocre standards. Word of advice: Don’t use hairspray as a fixative for pastels. Or at least not cheap hairspray. It doesn’t work.
The weather started out hot and humid at the beginning of the week. On Thursday a cool front rolled in, drying and freshening the air. Even though the temperature was still in the 80’s, the freshness of the breeze made it feel cooler. I took advantage of it by spending time out in the woods and on the dock. The water in the creek, the river, and the pond have darkened over the past few weeks. It’s a phenomenon that happens every summer. I think it’s related to tannins from the trees, but I’m not entirely sure.
I have been spending time with books, too. I finished reading Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi. It’s considered a YA novel. The Hunger Games and Harry Potter series got me interested in YA novels, and I read one every now and then. Children of Blood and Bone was getting such great reviews that I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did. It was quite good. Adeyemi has created a world of magic based in West African culture and folklore, something I know little about. NPR describes the book as “a feast for hungry readers.” I am looking forward to the sequel. If you do read the book, be sure to read the author’s note at the end.
I’m currently reading three (yikes) books. I usually limit it to two, but one, Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography by David Ulrich, is a book I’ll be working with, dipping into from time to time as I do the exercises. You might see some of the results of those exercises here at Ye Olde Blogge.
I am still making my way through Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul and enjoying her take on setting goals with soul (I think that’s how she puts it). The third book is Birdology by Sy Montgomery, a brilliant book about birds and the author’s adventures with birds ranging from her flock of chickens (The Ladies), to rescuing baby hummingbirds, to falconry (which I found particularly fascinating), and other birds. I’m currently on the chapter about pigeons. I’ve learned a lot and been entertained at the same time. I think it was Eliza who mentioned the book at some point. Thank you for the recommendation.
M has been out on his maiden voyage with the boat. He went with a friend who knows something about boats and boating, a suggestion I made because it seemed like a good idea to have someone who has experience mentor him a bit. I am, as you know, a reluctant sailor. I’ve been in no hurry to make my maiden voyage. I’m told all went well and both guys had a lot of fun. I’ll be going out when I no longer feel seasick on land. The antibiotics I’m taking make me lightheaded (I call it “listing” but it’s a mild case of vertigo) and nauseous. That happens sometimes when I take antibiotics. My hand, the one Izzy bit, is healing well. That’s another factor in my reluctance to go out on the boat. Best to let that heal first.
The gardens continue to do well in spite of the all the rain we had in April and May and the beginning of June. Drainage is quite good here on the ranch. The rainwater makes its way quickly into the pond, the marsh, and the little rain garden. It wasn’t always like that. M has done a lot of work to make it so (unclogging ditches and the streamlets, dry except when it rains, that run into the creek, marsh, and pond).
The weeds, of course, grow like gangbusters and it’s difficult to keep up. The new lavender plants I put in the flower garden, replacing those that died over the winter, are doing well. The butterfly bushes, which I thought I might have killed when I pruned them way back, are flowering. The beauty berry shrub is also flowering, along with the yucca and foxglove. We planted the foxglove about two years ago. It seemed to die shortly after we planted it. It didn’t come up at all last year. This year it miraculously sprung up and is producing flowers like crazy. The zinnias are growing. No flowers yet, but maybe in a few weeks.
The vegetable garden is also doing well. We picked our first tomato a couple of weeks ago. Granted, it was a cherry tomato. It looks like those are going to do very well, as usual. Hopefully the other tomatoes will grow and ripen better than they did last year. The lettuces, which we planted in the long planter on the deck, continue to produce. The romaine and red oakleaf lettuces are doing particularly well. The arugula bolted a few weeks ago. We still have kale, and M said he saw some baby cucumbers the last time he was out weeding the veggie garden.
I reckon that’s about it from me and from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch. Thank you so much for visiting. Let’s go out to the Point for sunset this evening. I was going to suggest the dock, but you have to make your way through swarms of deerflies and mosquitoes to get there. We have a bumper crop of both this year. There may be some out at the Point as well, but the wind usually keeps them away as long as you stay away from the marsh grasses. Sunset is scheduled for 8:29 PM. I’ll be there early. I want to get some pictures of the wheat along the way. It looks so pretty during the golden hours shortly after sunrise or just before sunset.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 746) The miraculous way the body works and heals. 747) The play of light and color on the water and waves at sunset. 748) Spending time with a good friend. 749) A trip to Saxis, Virginia to explore and see where we end up when we take some of the back roads on the Eastern Shore. 750) Ginger beer (the non-alcoholic variety) and ginger tea, probiotics, and a good diet to counteract some of the effects of the antibiotic.