The summer days begin very early here in the valley: when my husband and stepson left for the airport at 4:30 this morning, it was already getting light outside. It won't be too dark to read in the garden until after 9:00 PM. I've never lived this far north, and the long summer days--and very short winter ones--are a new and pleasant phenomenon. The difference in the seasons is heightened, brought into sharp contrast. The long hours of light, the garden's exuberant flowering, the plethora of berries, fresh local produce--all these things make up for rainy, grey winter days when it's almost dark by 4:30 in the afternoon. In summer we practically live outdoors: the garden becomes our living room and dining room, the grill our kitchen. We eat so much of seasonal vegetables that I almost tire of them. Right now, I feel I can wait for next spring before eating any more asparagus. Lunch today was the watermelon shown above, with salt, the way we ate it when I was growing up. I like the contrast to the sweetness.
Today has been mostly pleasant tasks and leisure, as a Sunday in the Valley should be: making blueberry jam, starting the yogurt for this week's breakfasts (which will also star blueberries), deadheading the roses and cutting the single branch (!) of blooms below for the house. The only dark spot has been the failure of my Moka espresso pot due to incompatible replacement gasket. Factory approved parts have been ordered from Amazon; in the meantime, I have no fewer than a dozen coffee shacks to choose from for my AM fix, even in a town of 30,000.
I decided to change this to a Sunday blog because as I close in on 50, I am getting better about accepting my limitations. I rarely feel like writing during the week because that is what I do for a living; by the end of the day, I've run out of words. I also write for a rare book blog and that takes up at least on of my evenings. But after running around on Saturday, doing errands, shopping, and chores, by Sunday I'm ready to sit back, reflect, and write.
A chef from my little community made the New York Times this week due to his extreme passion for sourcing one's food locally. While I wouldn't come to blows over the subject, I do try to eat locally and buy locally as much as possible, and I'm willing to pay a bit more to do so. I enjoy getting not just my vegetables and fruit but my meat, cheese, and eggs from local farmers. I'm really no good at growing my own food, and I'm glad to have so many small farms in my community who can supply my needs.
One of the many reasons I like living in Oregon is the ease with which I can do things I feel are important, like eating locally, recycling, being within walking distance of shops and services so we're less dependent on a car. Like any good liberal, I'm consumed with guilt. Being able to do these small things may not make a real difference (especially considering the flights we take to see friends and family each year), but at least I can feel, in some small way, that I'm not making things that much worse.
Now it's back to the comfy swing (if the cats will make room for me) to read more of Sybille Bedford's memoir Quicksands--marvelous writing, like listening to a fascinating person reminisce.