mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: “Remembrance of Things Past”

‘remembrance of things past’. . .

Marcel Proust sure had it right.

Many things, like the petite madeleine cake for him, evoked innumerable fond memories of times past that had meaning and import to his life and the society he lived in. In fact, he wrote volumes after tasting again the petite madeleine of his childhood.

It is also true for families who have shared wonderful times in the past. Only when photos are taken by someone whose approach is friendly and good-humored are people captured with so much love. In this case, because my daughter, C. whose eye is as artistic as her vigilance in capturing touching vignettes is commonplace, our family has a chronicle of Christmas that is unforgettable. A panoply of visual petite madeleines, if you will.

Here is a remembrance of past Christmases our family has shared together at a tiny cottage on the Atlantic on the North Shore opposite Thacher Island in Rockport, MA. and in our home here in central Massachusetts.

PCG 121PCG 56jpgPCG 155   PCG 118PCG 116PCG 120 PCG 132 PCG 130jpg  PCG 40PCG 124PCG 140 PCG 141 PCG 156jpgPCG 119  PCG 117  PCG 115 PCG 112PCG 105 PCG 110 PCG 106PCG 87PCG 107   PCG 103PCG 101PCG 104   PCG 100 PCG 95 PCG 98    PCG 97jpg  PCG 99PCG 86PCG 85  PCG 82PCG 93PCG 77PCG 83  PCG 84 PCG 81PCG 80  PCG 78 PCG 79 PCG 75  PCG 70jpg PCG 71  PCG 69 PCG 68PCG 61aPCG 60PCG 67PCG 66PCG 58PCG 62pgPCG 64     PCG 72  PCG 59   PCG 56jpg PCG 53PCG 76  PCG 52PCG 57 PCG 51PCG 54 PCG 50PCG 49  PCG 122PCG 16PCG 43   PCG 44 PCG 45PCG 46PCG 42jpg  PCG 41jpg  PCG 47PCG 35PCG 37 PCG 36  PCG 33  PCG 26PCG 31 PCG 30 PCG 18PCG 27PCG 29   PCG 20PCG 25 PCG 24  PCG 32PCG 22 PCG 17PCG 21  PCG 19    Past Christmas GlowPCG 15 PCG 14  PCG 12 PCG 13PCG 11 PCG 10jpg PCG 5PCG 7jpg   PCG 2jpg PCG 15     PCG 10jpgPCG 14       PCG 9PCG 6

 


artful recluse(s) . . .

DSC_1308This morning as I sat at the table with the sun streaming through the kitchen window, sipping my freshly made smoothie, I came upon the art section of the NYTimes which had a full page painting from 1644 of a Ming dynasty painter. The Asia Society has just opened an exhibition featuring works by reclusive artists so many years ago.

I was taken by the concept since it resonates with so many of my values and perspectives, including the search for Taoist hermits in the mountains of Sian that I had read about earlier. William Porter, nicknamed Red Pine, described his travels seeking reclusive Taoist priests and priestesses who lived alone in huts, subsisting on very little food, rainwater and sitting among pine needles. It was a romantic search, buffered by humorous encounters with some hermits, “hiding in plain sight.”

Living in solitude has long held an appeal for me and the journals of May Sarton, especially “Plant Dreaming Deep” and “Journal of a Solitude” struck a familiar chord with me when I had three kids at home and no solitude as such at all. I tired of reading Sarton after awhile because her writing became more whining and complaining amidst a lifestyle that included a home in New Hampshire and then on the coast of Maine, a multitude of flowers, inside and out, her loyal pets and friends who showered her with care and gifts of food, even as she continued to wring her hands about not being recognized sufficiently as a poet. That’s probably because her journals were her tour de force with women readers during her generation of writing–not poetry. In any case, her writing about the everyday was different from Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s but there was a common theme of domesticity around houses, flowers, food and gardening that appealed to many of us at the time.
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I don’t ask myself any longer why living inwardly is appealing. It just is. I have no desire to go on a cruise (esp. when many of the ships keep breaking down) where you’re trapped with hundreds or thousands of people whom you can’t avoid running into. Henry Beston wrote many years ago about living in a small shack which he wrote about in his famous book, “The Outermost House” during the 1920’s in Eastham, Cape Cod. To preserve those areas, the Cape Cod National Seashore reserve came into being in the 1960’s.

I guess if you’re artful or not, taking time alone can allow for a space for reading, rumination, creating and making things that reflect one’s inner senses and individual skill. At least, there’s a possibility to nurture and inform one’s spirit if taken.

For me, the last few weeks of winter have been filled with knitting, the amaryllis and orchids blooming, the canary singing, and I’ve even taken upon myself to (finally) read Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past,” having picked up a used, boxed three-volume Pleiade edition. Come to think of it, Marcel Proust was a reclusive artist too, writing 4000 plus words in his dimly lit cork-lined bedroom describing the mores and human vagaries of French society which are so universal that they may mirror our own.

Let’s see how far I get with THAT while being grateful for peace and quiet, and most of all, time.