Thursday, June 24, 2010
I need badly to get outside and do things. Our last trees of the season arrived yesterday -- a pair of sourwoods and a Carolina silverbell -- plus a native autumn clematis vine, all of which need replanting somewhere in our increasingly crowded wood margin. And I'm behind on some of my succession planting plans, and in starting some perennial flowers for next year.
Amid this retrogressive two-step, though, I have developed a number of what Fellow Traveler calls wild hares...you know, those sudden new interests; those odd, persistent promptings to do some new thing.
I've always had a thing for magnificent obsessions. One year, as a child, it was learning shorthand from my mother's old high school textbook. (Not terribly successful.) Another year it was stamped embroidery and rick-rack lace. Then I become completely engrossed in poultry raising. As an adult, I went through The Year of Knitting and The Year of Self-Help Psychology and The Year of Two-Mile Walks and the Year of Making Cakes From Scratch.
Here are a two of my latest wild hares:
Going to the library. I used to be a library geek, even in our book-deprived community. I used to take out a half-dozen books at once and read them all in a weekend. (And then forget to return them; I hope the library board have invested my fines in some fund for a future expansion.) Then my mom died. Then I met Fellow Traveler. Then I got busy. And I forgot about reading books. Wow; I can't believe I just typed that; but I did. This summer, though, I want to read some books, just to read them. The other day we were talking about antiques, and I remember how my aunt used to find interesting old books in secondhand stores -- books that sold for a dime, or by the foot -- and read them. I'm interested in reading a couple of those -- jackets long gone, covers faded, signed in fountain pen on the inside by some long-gone owner. Maybe a travelogue, or a treatise on botany or beekeeping, or one of those progressive novels for girls featuring a plucky heroine defying convention by tenting with the Campfire Girls or going off to college. That and a book by a Michigan author. Traverse magazine's latest issue has a list of 30 beach reads by Michigan authors; that might be a starting point.
Mosaics. We spent many weekend afternoons last year learning how to work with stained glass. Fellow Traveler loves this. I love the look of it, and there are parts of the process (like grinding) that I enjoy and think I do fairly well...but I don't have FT's ambition to launch into a full-bodied, serious art project in this medium -- because frankly I don't think I'm good enough. If I'm going to fail, let me fail with some fairly small, low-investment objet d'art. But the other Sunday we took an afternoon trip to our stained glass instructor's shop for some supplies, and while we were there I found myself attracted to the mosaics in progress in her classroom; someone was in the process of covering a cement replica of the "Bird Girl" statue made famous on the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and I marveled at the tiny bits of stained glass the student was carefully placing on the statue. Then in a book I saw a mosaic patio table using bits of broken china and other colorful tiles, and a mosaic bird feeder made out of a basic $10 pine model covered in ceramic pieces and flat-backed marbles. I can do that, I thought. Not only can I do that, but I can do it using the rather large amount of scrap glass generated by other stained glass work.
I have strangled other wild hares. My interest in terraria, for instance, died a-borning, mostly because I realized we don't have adequate natural light in our home for most houseplants of any kind, and no spot in our living areas that would really do such a project justice. I also experienced a momentary interest in making cheese -- you know, like Martha Stewart telling us that homemade mozzarella is "quite easy and fun" -- but after coming to from that patio reverie I had to remind myself that, no, what I really like doing is eating artisanal cheese.
I haven't had any church-related wild hares of late...ironically, the more involved I am in lay ministry the less proactive and innovative I want to be. My pastor and a couple of other folks want me to lead Bible study Sunday mornings, and I've enjoyed the couple of times I've led Bible studies for our quilters' group during our pastor's recuperation from heart surgery; but my reaction to the sample Book of Faith Bible study we ordered was a big "Meh," and flashbacks to my mind-numbing experiences sitting in on Navigator Bible studies in my college dorm.
We'll see what becomes of the hares bouncing around in my brain this summer.