Time Capsule Thursdays, in which I pause and notice. And write down what I love. And notice all the reasons I don’t want to die before my time. And get curious. And am inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem “Gratitude” (in What Do We Know). And do my own little tradition (with a hat tip to Havi).
Italicized* questions are from Mary Oliver’s poem
What made you happy?
Ooooh oooh ooooh, road trip! My favorite! My dear bear-friend loaned me his car and I got to hit the road and listen to CD’s, including…
What inspired you?
… an old scratchy recording of T.S. Eliot reading “The Four Quartets.” Oh my. The man did not win a Nobel Prize in Literature for nothing. Wow. Blew me away once again. And will, every time I read or hear it. So yeah, I love T.S. Eliot, although I don’t crush on him like Leonard Cohen. Or Johnny Depp. But seriously, the man is genius. And, yes, I’d offer him my bed and relegate my ass to the living room floor for the night if he ever needed a place to stay. No questions asked.
Isn’t he, like, passed on? As in dead?
Oh, picky, picky! It’s the sentiment, people, the sentiment. OK, where was I?
What astonished you?*
Last Friday the people of New England woke up and were all: What IS that bright orb in our sky?
So yes, after weeks and weeks of rain I am happy to say that New England had 3 days of sun. Verily! Last weekend was simply glorious and the sky was blue.
What else did you luvluvluv?
Vermont. My friends. Their baby. And oh my goodness, their herb garden. (A bunny in her natural habitat: An herb garden.)
Joy equals cilantro, dill and scallions. Parsley, sage and thyme. Garlic-scapes, oregano and chives. All mine, to play in and with for a weekend. In the sun. I know, I just had to say the sun part again. Sun sun sun—
I made saucy pesto-y concoctions in one of my favorite toys in all the world: the mortar and pestle. Left: dill + parsley + garlic scapes. Right: Cilantro, garlic scapes, scallions and toasted pine nuts. Bottom: Oregano, sage and garlic scapes. All had olive oil, lemon juice, salt and LOVE. Oh the love. (Sun. I seem to be developing a kind of Sun-Tourettes)
What did you notice?*
How addicted I am to reading! And what a time-suck much of it can be. (Sun) Often utterly compulsive.
I’m taking a 12-week class with Creativity (among other things) Coach Deb Owen and our challenge this week—which came as a complete, and, I must say, inconceivably difficult surprise which made me consider crucifying myself—was to not read. That’s right, my friend: A reading sabbatical.
When I heard Deb say those words my heart stopped and I was like you must be freaking kidding me, right? But she wasn’t. I had to practically mouth-to-mouth myself—which is a wee bit complicated to do—to keep the air flowing again… And then I grumbled and pouted and eventually sucked it up and I’ve been off twitter and facebook and pretty much off-line for two days now.
(OK, except for a few cheats including this hilarious piece I stumbled upon while looking up submission info. for “The Sun.” I admit I was halfway through reading it, before I remembered my no-reading-for-a-week challenge but I was laughing so hard not even the thought of public shame in class next week could stop me.)
But seriously, I’m realizing how much time I spend goofing off on twitter and reading endless things. Even if they are awesome. Not reading has resulted in an uncluttered desk, two bags of clothes hauled off to Goodwill, fresh mint cold tea to sip as we speak, and last but so-should-be-first: two prose poem/essays sent off to The Sun today with a kiss and a wish times 10. So yeah, thank you, @DebOwen. But then, you aren’t reading this anyway. Or are you!
What required the most self-control?
Not gobbling up my little friend Isabelli’s fingers and toes. Here’s a sampling. Eat your heart out!
What did you hear?*
The sounds of crickets and bullfrogs in the night. No cars. Not a one, for two nights. Ahhhhhhh.
What choked you up?
I was inching along Rt. 91 on my way to VT, one of a thousand or so cars stuck in traffic, and just when I came upon the cause of the bottle neck (a merge into one lane due to construction), there, on the side of the road, a man sat on the hood of his car with his guitar, singing his heart out to the cars passing by. I don’t know his story, but I like my version: he wanted nothing more than to sing. (And, yes, sit in the SUN).
_That’s this week’s slice of life, my friends. Feel free to join in with noticings—big or small, happy or sad, old or new—of your own. (One request: kindly withhold from offering advice, unless it involves how to make the sun come back more often. Thank you.)_
I like your observations and the wisdom gained after a reading sabbatical. It can feel very hard to unplug and just-say-no to all literary input, but after the first day, it feels great. Time seems to slow down and open up. Suddenly you have time to make things and savor the moments with friends. In the absence of input, you feel the urge to create (output) more strongly, or just to listen to your own wisdom. How lovely that you were able to do this in the country, and in the company of a baby and friends. It sounds perfect.
Thanks for stopping by, Belinda! Your comment about input-output is so relevant to me. I tend to take soooo much in and then feel overwhelmed. Need to find some balance with that. Reading sabbaticals aren’t always possible. But somewhere in the middle… ahhhhh: moderation…balance… ahhhh.)
BTW, my friend @zoonini sent me a link to your site http://www.latebloomerstories.com/ –> I ate it up! I especially love the Julia story. She inspires me no end. What wonderful research you did. So nice to read the synopses of all those amazing women.