No Explanation Required

DSC_9466 (2)

“It’s not about having things figured out, or about communicating with other people, trying to make them understand what you understand. It’s about a chicken dinner at a drive-in. A soft pillow. Things that don’t need explaining.”  Anne Beattie

Some of the things that don’t need explaining from this end-of-summer trip to the Cape are the smell of salt air and cedar, and being welcomed home.  Unpacking the car in record time because I learned long ago that I don’t need to bring nearly as much as I think I do.

Dr. Sunwolf said, “People overestimate the pleasure they’ll get from having more stuff.  This does not apply to new rose bushes, crayons, or yarn stashes.”  For me it doesn’t apply to espresso, comfortable shoes and my camera.   It doesn’t apply to a steno pad for notes or my laptop to create from those notes.

The best things in life are not things.  More things that require no explanation are visits from friends, spending time catching up and dining out.  Becoming an important destination for their much needed quick adventure is an honor and a joy.


Morning walks to the beach with friends, or without them, but never without dogs.  If you can’t experience joy yourself I defy you to not see it in a couple of condo dogs playing in a back yard.  Running and rolling in the grass should be part of every vacation.

DSC_9764 (2)

Who can explain why one would wake early while on vacation?  Sleep in?  Not when the Cape is having the best weather of the year, not when you can have the beach to yourself with a screaming hot latte and the September sun and certainly not when your books are begging to be read.

The best things in life are free; Acting as personal paparazzi to your favorite people.  Meeting new people, enjoying music, and trying new foods all fall into the free or nearly free category.



Being welcomed home to the Cape brings with it the ritual of making dinner for dear friends and sharing lively conversation for hours.  Nothing brings me more joy than cooking for friends, gathering around the table with wine and music and letting the hours roll by.

DSC_9652 (2)

DSC_9649 (2)

And quiet:

“It just took some people a little longer than others to realize how few words they needed to get by, how much of life they could negotiate in silence.” ― Tom Perrotta

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to have a moment of quiet to reflect and bless the events of the day.  Each day brought with it something to be thankful about and something to tuck away for cold winter days.

At week’s end I’m always happy to get home, it’s not much different on Stowe Lane than being away, many of the rituals and things that require no explanation are the same. The ride home is always easy, our bed is far more comfortable and welcomed and our memories vivid. Only thing missing is the beach and the smell of salt air and cedar.





Kitchen Closed

kitchen closed 2

What I take from my nights, I add to my days.  ~Leon de Rotrou, “Vencelas,” translated


If I had to pick one thing that I call an important nightly ritual it would be closing the kitchen. Someone said, the trouble with living alone is that it’s always your turn to do the dishes.  I don’t mind doing the dishes, it ends my day with a sense of accomplishment even if the rest of the day was a bust.

I’m one of those people who really use their kitchen, you know for cooking. I try to cook something every night and even more on the weekends.  I can always whip up a meal for anyone who walks in the door and fortunately they do walk in the door.

So closing the kitchen becomes a sort of mediation for me:

I load the dishwasher and of course there is a perfectly neurotic way to do that.  Spoons, forks, knives all in separate sections, the spoons and forks facing up and the knives are facing down. Glasses on top, big utensils under the glasses, dishes in a row, it’s not like you don’t know me by now.

I clean the sink, sprinkle with Comet while I fuss with the dishwasher then come back and scrub and rinse until the poor old porcelain tries to shine.

I rub the cutting board with lemon, to disinfect and to make the kitchen smell delicious.  After I’m done I run the lemon through the garbage disposal to bring even more fragrance to the air and of course get the gook out of the disposal.

I wash my coffee cup and put it in position for the morning, priorities are, after all, priorities.

Mostly I get all the crumbs off the counters.  I don’t know what craziness takes me over when there are crumbs left on the table or the counters but surely I wouldn’t be able to sleep if they remained.  Kosher salt used with abandon will find its way everywhere. The linty stuff from pulling paper towels off the roll in the upright holder must go. The lemon zest, the piece of shallot, the cracker crumbs, you get the picture.

Once I’ve finished, as I turn out the light I always look back and smile.  It’s a tiny little kitchen in a perfect little U shape.  I can literally stand in the middle and reach left or right and grab just about anything I need.  Gratefully, I have a very well stocked kitchen both food wise and equipment wise.   It’s far from the one I left behind but I am grateful for the people it draws, the food that comes out of it, the fact that I have it and the nightly reassurance that I want for nothing. Exhale, kitchen closed.

The Gardener’s Shadow


Gardens are a form of autobiography.  ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993

So if that’s the case, what happens when a gardener moves, or becomes ill or dies? I took a photo walk through the community garden at the senior housing grounds where my mother lives recenty.  It’s about two dozen semi-raised beds that are gardened by some of the residents and I can tell you exactly what happens.  Weeds.  And more weeds.  And even more weeds.


The juxtaposition of healthy gardens to weed beds is in direct correlation to the members who have become ill, disabled or died.  It’s a heart break.  I could barely see through the lens to capture the reality but it has also given birth to a new mission.  I know, you’re shocked.

I intend to find out exactly how these plots are allocated and make it my business to volunteer.  I’m at this senior housing building almost every Sunday and if I can weed my own neighborhood I can certainly weed some of these tiny plots of soil.  I can just imagine being among these people next spring when they begin their work.  It’s been said that the more one gardens, the more one learns; and the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows, Vita Sackville-West.  The base of knowledge to draw from excites me beyond…these seniors know more tips and tricks than any five gardeners I already know.  They’ve probably forgotten more than I’ll ever know.  And yeah the forgetting part may become a problem…just sayin it’s yet another reason to make myself available.


I wonder if the on-site housing management knows when gardeners have taken ill.  I wonder if these plots can be temporarily reallocated.  I wonder why the other gardeners don’t jump in.  Is it because of the very personal and peculiar habits of all individual gardeners?

Whatever the reason I just can’t resist the temptation to get my hands dirty, share (ok more like abscond away with) all the collective knowledge of these senior growers and to preserve the integrity of these gardens through the season.


The reality of the people living in this complex is not lost on them.  They understand that they are in the twilight of their lives but I can think of nothing more distracting than to see it brought to light in the form of an overgrown garden.


For the residents to be able to walk among the plots of living, flourishing nature has been proven over and over to lift spirits and provide hopefulness and positive anticipation. Hans Christian Anderson said, “Just living is not enough, one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”  I know like I know that I will certainly get more from this than whatever amount of backache it gives me. Stay tuned.