Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Provincial Life


Finally, finally it feels like spring is really here. The daffodils and tulips are finishing up, the bluebells are blooming, and the iris have buds. The garden is waking up after a long, wet sleep. We have entire days of sunshine occasionally (last week on a weekend--unheard of), and it's slowly warming into the 60s during the day. My darling husband is home after two looooong months in Australia, so the heavy yard work is finally getting done. Also, we no longer have the most disgraceful lawn on the street--it's neatly mowed, even if it is mostly dandelions (excellent crop this year) and moss.

I, too did some traveling for work, to New York for the Antiquarian Book Fair. I'm just too old for that. Even with non-stop flights, getting there and back was exhausting, and except for seeing friends and some lovely books, it was pretty miserable. I am no longer an urban person. Too many people make me nervous and claustrophobic. I dislike being surrounded by huge buildings and miss the lovely greens of Oregon. It was good to get home to the provinces and resume my provincial life.

Baxter straddling the fence like a politician

With all the stress in daily life and world events, I have been taking refuge in the Provincial Lady books and other works by E. M. Delafield, and the Barsetshire novels of Angela Thirkell, both full of sly wit and social satire. The comedy of manners is one of my favorite types of novels, and both of these writers continue in the tradition of Jane Austen, only in 20th century England. I know many "serious" readers look down on books like these, but I find more of value there than in most so-called literary fiction. À chacun son goût. I could no more face wading through Thomas Pynchon at the end of a stressful day or week than I could rise and fly. So I'll stick to my provincial, middle-brow reading and let better folk than I deal with James Joyce or the latest David Foster Wallace. 


This weekend has been the kind of slow-paced, simple time that I love. Yesterday was marketing, picking up CSA veggies, and arranging with my farmer to sell some of the herbs that are taking over my garden in his booth at the market. Desultory cleaning and gardening next, followed by a nap. Today has been all about the kitchen: baking bread and cookies, making chicken stock to freeze, preparing rhubarb compote to have with my yogurt and granola for breakfast this week, using leftover rice and assorted CSA veggies to make fried rice for lunch today and to take for lunch during the week, and finally, making beans & greens for dinner. Nothing complicated or intensive to prepare, just a steady day of puttering about the kitchen. 

Cocktail corner is ready and waiting for warmer weather

It has rained--sometimes torrentially--off and on today, so it was a good time to be indoors, cooking, reading, and puttering. Tomorrow it's back to work and deadlines, but it's lovely to have a peaceful day of rest in order to recharge for the challenges in the week ahead. 

1 comment:

  1. So glad to have you back! I'll look up your reading suggestions. After (finally) getting my English lit degree at age 40 and feeling that I needed to read only "serious" books for quite some time; I now read whatever I want.