Today I Saw

A couple, presumably homeless, pulling 3 large suitcases into the Old Towne Parkway. (Rock Creek Canyon) I saw them the next day, one with a walking stick and his/her jacket wrapped around his/her waist with the dozen or so facial hoops removed. They looked much more relaxed. I assume they found a place to live in the canyon for awhile.

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I want to believe they will manage and make it out OK.

Banksy Plays the Violin

The Hipping Post

Banksy

Earlier this year, I read an article about Joshua Bell, a violinist who played at a Washington D.C. subway station during the morning rush hour. Unlike most buskers, this musician was one of the most accomplished virtuosos in the world. Three nights before, Joshua Bell played in Boston’s Symphony Hall for patrons who paid over $100 a ticket. And the instrument he played? A violin from 1713, handcrafted by Antonio Stradivari, that cost Bell $3.5 million.

You would expect that one of the best musicians on the planet to garner some attention. But during his 43 minutes of playing time, only seven people stopped to listen, and he earned a total of $32.17.

This experiment, the brainchild of The Washington Post, raises all sorts of questions, including: Can we appreciate beauty in unfamiliar settings? Are we able to recognize talent without signposts? And how do we know when we…

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An Offence to the Nostril

The Hungry Gap

Today, I am contemplating a few words from the deep blue pen of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  I am doing so in relation to my work in art, my gardens, my cooking, my plant-based diet, this blog, and my projects altogether.  I am doing so in relation to what I mean by ‘contemplative gardening’ . . . and The Hungry Gap itself.  I am doing so with humility.  I offer here four moments from Emerson’s powerful oration delivered before the Society of the Adelphi, in Waterville College, Maine, August 11, 1841, The Method of Nature:

Tell me not how great your project is, the civil liberation of the world, its conversion into a Christian church, the establishment of public education, cleaner diet, a new division of labor and of land, laws of love for laws of property; — I say to you plainly there is no end to…

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On Hoeing By Moonlight: First Green Bean Harvest

The Hungry Gap

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This morning, I harvested our first green beans . . .  and continued my reading of the poet Cesare Pavese.  Together, they arrested the gravitational pull of high-summer heat.  We sometimes feel claustrophobic when the summer heat reaches its upper registers, but how much more easily we close ourselves in.  How easily we fall into dejection when circumstances aren’t perfectly favorable.  With the poet, we say:

Mist clogs the sunshine,
smoky dwarf houses
Hem me round everywhere;
A vague dejection
Weighs down my soul. – Matthew Arnold, Consolation.

These beans delight me. Though we tend to take them for granted, they are small wonders. There is deep satisfaction in hunting for them far down in the bushes, pinching them off with thumb and forefinger, dropping them in the basket, carrying them to the house, cooking them well, and eating them one at a time.

We can discover the…

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Letters to a Young Gardener, Letter Three

The Hungry Gap

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My Dear Sir,

Thank you again for your patience.  I hope you are well and in good spirits.  When we first met, you said your aim was to take inspiration from what I might tell you, and that you want to figure out how to get started in gardening on your own.

In considering your question, I could not help thinking of what Gertrude Jekyll said many years ago in her book, ‘Wood and Garden (1899)‘:

“Many people who . . . wish to do some practical gardening are at their wit’s end to know what to do and how to begin.  Like a person who is on skates for the first time, they feel that, what with the bright steel runners, and the slippery surface, and the sense of helplessness, there are more ways of tumbling about than of progressing safely in any one direction.  And…

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