Give me S-P-R-I-N-G!!!
Spring is coming folks!!! Temps are finally above freezing and there’s been some serious melting going on. I can see some of the raised beds (and the damage), there is an actual dirt path from the front steps to the driveway (no more snow boots!!), and the bees are out flying. The feathered gals have even been able to hang out behind the barn where a bit of the snow has cleared. Yay!!! Sunny days in the 30s and 40s I’ll take ‘em!
When being productive, I read a book or two a week. If you were to peruse my bookcases and the stacks of books around my house you would see I read in themes – sort of. One month I read everything I can find on caffeine, then fruit, then fishing stories, childhood memoirs (especially those set in East Africa), true crime (biker gangs anyone?), biographies, and travel books (especially those set in East Africa). Recently, I have been making more of an effort to learn about the Islamic World. More culture than politics, more history less extremists. For the past two weeks I have been trying to get through Edward W. Said’s academic Orientalism, while also rereading V. S. Naipaul’s brilliant A Bend in the River.
Truth be told, I put down the latter after reading the first 50 or so pages when I tried reading it a year ago. What the heck was wrong with me? The last few weeks Naipaul’s name kept coming up in books and I realized I had his Nobel prize winning novel in a stack upstairs. I started flipping through it and haven’t been able to stop.
So, that has been taking up a bulk of my reading time (along with two other – I cannot put down, look forward all day to reading) – books. But, really Said’s book is so dense. There is so much important information I find I have to reread what I read the day before just to “get it” – does that ever happen to you?
The preface took me three days. He’s writing about so much more than Israel and Palestine, and Western views of Islam. He writes about humanity – about what it means to live a humane existence.
Said writes “The book culture based on archival research as well as general principles of mind that once sustained humanism as a historical discipline have almost disappeared. Instead of reading in the real sense of the word, our students today are often distracted by the fragmented knowledge available on the internet and in the mass media.”
This weekend leave the computer and TV screens behind and let your hands find wood, wool, dirt, paper – something pure and of the earth.
This winter I began volunteering at The Telling Room, a nonprofit writing center in Portland, Maine, dedicated to the idea that children and young adults are natural storytellers. It is such a luxury to finally have the time to get back into volunteering and I am thoroughly enjoying it. The staff, kids!!, and my fellow volunteers are rays of sunshine. The programs original and thoughtful. Between you and me I feel a bit guilty – as though I am getting more out of volunteering than the kids I am supposed to be helping. My brain is challenged during each session as I learn more about creative writing (books, poetry…) and trying to find the most productive – positive – way to help the kids – who are smart and have these incredibly unique and colorful – and honest! – outlooks based on their experiences thus far. Do you volunteer in your community? It is a great way to exercise – your mind – or if doing something outdoors e.g. gardening – your body – and a terrific way to meet people. Personally, I think a large part of our lives should be spent giving back – we take so much. Thoughts?
p.s. I am taking a pause on the Photographer Friday posts till next winter. We’ll have plenty to focus on without them – travel, maple syrup, gardening, food, the sea, books, Maine during her warmer months, etc. etc. *Now, that said I strongly encourage you to take a look at my friend Shoshannah White’s beautiful images of the sea. We have been friends for years and as I watch her body of work grow so does my admiration for her dedication, imagination, and eye for beauty.