We have tons of art in the house. I like to think we also have a fair bit of truth, but if no one seems able to define truth, how in the world do you define “art?”
Is that the stuff which is just pretty but serves no “useful” purpose … or is it anything that has a certain eye-appeal, no matter what you might want to call it.
I collected dolls for years and antique Chinese porcelain … and for a long time, teapots and other oddities. Some people find the dolls creepy. I love them. We have paintings and photographic prints and small items that really are pretty, but currently (in this world) useless.
Is anything that makes you feel better about life not serving a useful purpose? If it makes you feel good, isn’t that enough?
I don’t know how people manage to live in houses without any art or pictures or prints. Don’t they need the color and the motion? Something to tickle their fancy?
I cannot, in all honesty, say the “most of my best pictures were taken from the car,” but an awful lot of really good ones were. What is always surprising is how well the camera sees through all the shmutz on the windshield and actually gets relatively sharp pictures.
Typically, the harder part is avoiding reflections rather than dirt … not counting whatever the birds leave behind — and the occasional really big bug.
Here are a few favorites, mostly taken during that very long drive back and forth to Jackman, Maine.
I woke up this morning and started to cough. The deep, hacking cough that screams “bronchial tubes” and “pneumonia.” But it didn’t seem as bad as yesterday, which might mean that this is going to be just a regular cold and not something more serious.
It’s a little early in our year — this particular year — for the awakening of fresh young growing things. Unless you count the ants and the mice, both of which were doing simply grandly in our backyard and walls. We have called the killers of things we don’t want living in our house and this morning was the first time I saw any ants. He warned me it takes about two weeks to get them all, so I grabbed them up and disposed of them.
There were only three.
I disdained to check the condition of the basement. The death of small rodents in not a happy occasion for me. I do not hate mice and I am not afraid of them, but they make a horrible mess of the house. They live in the walls and after a while, your whole house smells of mouse turds. A few mice, trying to get in from the ice of winter I can live with, but an entire house full of families and generations of mice? I don’t think so.
I got to thinking about the “generations of mice.”
If you were a mouse, being smarter than “other mice” decided to buy a DNA package to find out to whom in your deep, dark past you might be related? The number of generations is exponential, my dear Watson. Mice dating back to the very first sort-of mammals scurrying around the feet of the giant lizards who ruled the earth.
I don’t think our databases could handle the volume — and unless they all had unique names, how would you know? An entirely different, yet somehow mind-blowing thought.
What would the name of your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother’s mouse name be and how could you identify her among the furry-faced zillions of other mice? It is a mind-boggling concept, so I’ll move on.
To say that spring in New England and all points north is unstable is an understatement … and the climate changes our government is ignoring is definitely a part of the problem. To be fair, the weather in this part of this continent is generally unpredictable. Around here, it’s more about the level of unpredictability and this year has been crazy.
Instead of flowers, we have gotten snow and wind and rain and very cold temperatures. We had a few days when the crocus came up — and here they are:
Otherwise, we do have green shoots for the hopefully soon-to-bloom daffodils. Please view last year’s groups and try to relate:
This really is spring in New England. We get lots of winter and then we get “it’s not exactly winter, but it sure isn’t spring, either.” One morning, the sun comes up. Sometime between breakfast and lunch, the leaves on the trees open and by mid-afternoon, it’s hot, humid and buggy — which is what we humorously call summer.
Photo: Garry Armstrong
Welcome black flies and flying jaws. Welcome mosquitoes who can bite you through your denim jacket. It’s time to itch, wheeze … and if you can, get yourself to one of our wonderful beaches. I wish our seasons were a bit more orderly and perhaps — predictable.
We finished watching the third 4-1/2 hour piece of “The Lord of the Rings,” extended version last night. Given the weather, I pointed out that we could be trying to climb Caradhras, but Sauron was totally against it and we never made it.
For a variety of reasons — aching muscles maybe? — Garry didn’t find it nearly as hilarious as I did, but the man who shovels is allowed to get grumpy about it. Still, we were definitely atop Caradhras and the snow was not going to quit anytime soon.
There was no noise at all until we heard that wonderful sound, the sound for which I yearn all through the storms of the last two weeks: a plow clearing our driveway. There was an awful lot of snow out there, but the dogs, who go into a medium-level frenzy when trucks are in our drive, gave us a lot of energy. Gibbs is particularly noisy about two things: any kind of diesel-powered vehicle and my son, Owen, of whom he is insanely fond.
Duke barks hysterically whenever the neighbors emerge from their house. He seems to believe they are about to intrude on our space. Also, they have dogs. Very big dogs. Really, huge dogs. English Mastiff and a boxer. They are really quiet, peaceful creatures who bother no one — except The Duke who gets extremely feisty in the face of Other Dogs Nearby. And they aren’t that near. It’s at least 300 feet from here. More, maybe. We have what is considered a really tiny plot of 2.43 acres of land. Next door, they have maybe 27 acres? Possibly more?
A lot of people around here have a huge amount of land, but the majority of it is wild, thorny, rocky, and generally uninviting to walkers. No trails, either. So mostly, no one on two legs goes in there. No one goes there in the summer because you will be consumed by mosquitoes.
Many other creatures live there, though. Deer, raccoon, fishers, skunk, coyote, bobcats, squirrels, rabbits, bats, eagles and other raptors. Red-tailed hawks and owls. I almost never see them, but I hear woodpeckers constantly.
Foxes, chipmunks. Many fewer chipmunks since the arrival of the bobcat who is very fond of fresh chipmunk. Rats, mice, and some of the biggest spiders to make landfall since Shelob didn’t kill Frodo.
I yearn for New Zealand. If the world should bestow many dollars (or any other currency — I’m not picky) on us, that is the single vacation I would take. Fly to the west coast. Take a ship down the Pacific Ocean and land in some famed harbor. I know that’s the long way, but a cruise to New Zealand and a cruise back sounds like heaven to me.
We might never leave Hobbiton. Well, I suppose we’d have to. There are dogs and family and friends back here … but these days, not living in the U.S. doesn’t seem like such an awful idea. I’ve lived abroad before and I liked it, so it’s not that crazy, for me anyway.
If New Zealand is impossible, how about San Diego? Great weather. Beautiful beaches. One 5-hour flight and voilà. No more snow. Ever. Or we could go back to Israel. I’ve got a passport. As a citizen, I have — in theory — another home. But that may be my other country. It isn’t Garry’s and while he has nothing against a Jewish country — he’s put up with me for long enough — it might be more change than he is entirely ready for.
So in answer to two questions of the day — where would I rather be and what about noise? I’d like my dogs to shut up, but please, bring the snow plow. Then, send me to New Zealand.
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