Monday, November 1, 2010

New Attitude

Surrounded by much wailing and gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair the last couple of days, I have been able to maintain my new-found equanimity, that is, I repeated the mantra "people are stupid and they get what they deserve" so many times that I think I became a Republican for a little while. These are the lows our sorry excuse for a democracy plunges otherwise decent people to these days.

Before going too far down this low road, I decided to focus instead on the little things in life--minutia, perhaps, or maybe the only things that really matter. Things like:

Giant pumpkins,

and the wooden leaf-shaped bowl I found in the basement all covered in dust, which I cleaned up to hold all the bits of fall we've been collecting for our centerpiece,

and those bits of fall. Fall is arguably the best season for collecting little bits of nature. I found these crazy acorns near my office. C (who is a tree geek on the side) identified them as "mossy cup" (not to be confused with "mossy oak" the camouflage pattern ubiquitous in these parts). It's actually an endemic species around here, so I plan on planting a few on our land (which I should probably hurry up and do, as the ground is freezing up quick). I found some conkers, which may be buckeyes or horsechestnuts (or they may all be the same thing; I haven't set the tree guy to work on those yet) and a quince on a walk in Hallowell with a friend. The big oak leaves are from the mossy cup and the red maple ones I pick up when walking around the campus at work (oddly, we don't have many maples on our five acres). The gourds I bought, so they don't count as "finds" but they are so funky and fun and they seem to last forever (though one day in December I'll pick one up to find it rotten through).

and spooks, of course.

On Sunday morning, before the Halloween rush, I planted a few dozen flower bulbs that I bought in an overly-enthusiastic school fundraiser spending spree. As I dug the icy ground and placed four precious hyacinth bulbs in the cold mud (with no good reason to believe that hyacinths can even live in this climate), I had the thought, "I can't wait till spring." Not exactly the right attitude for Halloween morning, with spring 4 1/2 months away on the calendar, and another month or more in the future, weather-wise.

So my new perspective, both in response to politics and winter, is to slow down, pay attention, focus on what is here and now before me. Stop. Look. Listen. Breathe. Enjoy.

What other choice is there?


  1. Lovely. (: We live on a city lot, but still manage to go leaf and chestnut hunting. The squirrels in our yard recently tried to gnaw through our window to get at the "remains of the day" sitting on the inside sill.

    Plus, gotta love those mossy cups! I've never seen anything like that. I imagine my window would have been gone if that's what was waiting for the squirrels on the other side....

  2. What a beautiful colletion of autumn forage finds. I love the treasure found on walks at this time of year too.

  3. forced bulbs. ; ) ever done the paper whites in a jar?


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