Friday, 23 January 2016
Another nice day pulled me away from reading.
Before I started gardening, Laila from Salt Hotel dropped by to see if I had any fresh rosemary for a recipe for roasted nuts. I did. Allan saw the harvest from the window.
I trimmed and weeded here and there and was glad when a rainstorm sent me back into the house before dark, as I did want to read.
I had time to read the entire M Train by Patti Smith (whose album Horses changed my life when I checked it out of the library in 1979 because I liked the title).
Patti, how I adore you.
Two moving things for me in this passage about books that belonged to her mother:
One: I was not close to my mother, yet I miss her more than I ever thought would be possible. Two: My grandmother owned few books; one of them was Girl of the Limberlost, and I read that and The Harvester over and over. I have been meaning to read The Harvester, by Gene Stratton-Porter, again. I still have my grandma’s copy.
I see again that the book was a gift from Hugh, her fiancé who did not marry her after she moved to Seattle at age 18 to meet him. (He lived in California and sent a box of oranges and a ring but never came for her.) “To be given to Ginger”, in my beloved Grandma’s handwriting, refers to my mother.
But I digress. Back to Patti:
I became deeply thrilled when she fell in love with a rundown tiny cottage in Rockaway Beach (New York).
She writes that she has “an old and recurring desire…to live by the sea with a ragged garden of my own.”
I am so moved that her dreams are as simple and small as mine. “An uninhabitable house on a withered lot, steps away from the train to the right and the sea to the left.” “Small rooms rusted sink vaulted ceiling century-old smells mingling with musty animal smells. …Mold and a prevailing dampness ignited my cough but did not dampen my enthusiasm.”
How hard will she have to work to raise the money. and what happens to the bungalow in Hurricane Sandy? I will leave you to get M Train to read the rest of story of the bungalow. I wish she would write a whole illustrated book just about that.
I found the following, about memory, comforting. Sometimes I cannot remember a book that I recently read and enjoyed:
I was shocked to read of her turning 66 years old. Wait. Patti Smith is 66? That makes me old, too. “Sixty six. What the hell.” she writes, and later: “How did we get so damn old? I say to my joints, my iron-coloured hair.” How indeed. I am equally mystified.
Tomorrow: Still more gardening.
After you read M Train, you might want to read this follow up about the bungalow.