Posts Tagged ‘solitude’

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

We were able to start work today because Don of Peninsula Plumbing got our leak fixed in quick time.  It had been caused by the way the new washing machine had been hooked up. That was careless of the washing machine deliverers and hooker uppers.

As always, we began the work year in:

Long Beach, Fifth Street Park

The very minute that I got out of the van, my back went SPROING.  I took two Doan’s Back Pills and stood against the nearest building to straighten up fully; fortunately, I was not out for the count.

NW quadrant, before, with a guy eating lunch and the first cute dog of the work year.

I mostly did the SW section, although Allan cut the big grass and helped out toward the end.

4.5 hours later



I very much want to get the hesperantha (formerly schizostylis) kept to just one area instead of running all through the garden.  It has gone rampant because of our mild winter and was tedious and frustrating to (try to) eliminate from the main part of the border, which is also infested with wild garlic.  Will this be the year I finally get it under control again?

Deer have been visiting this garden.

deer poop on the garden cut-through sidewalk

A woman came and chatted as I worked about how she can now only garden in window boxes, after fifty years of gardening.  I suggested she get someone to bring her a picnic table and bench and then plant up a tabletop landscape.  I recommended this book:

She liked the idea.

She told me for awhile about how the healing power of the earth was coming up through the soil to fix my knee and how a certain pink stone which I could purchase right next door at Marsh’s Free Museum would solve my physical problems.  I finally expressed my skepticism.

Meanwhile, Allan was working on the SW quadrant.



after (Allan’s photos)

This small corner area in the SW quadrant is so damp that I do let the hesperantha reign freely there, except that I like to thin it hard in springtime.

before, Allan’s photo

The problem with so much hesperantha needing pulling and the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ needing clipping is that two precious clumps of camassia got clipped, too.

after, with me brooding over the camassias.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

With every intention of working, Allan hooked up the trailer.  I put the kibosh on work when I went outside and felt the cold and dreary drizzle.

As I sat reading, a knock at the door produced a member of the Ilwaco city crew.  He had come to tell us about his upcoming repair job on the ramp railing at the community building, and that he would have to move a clump of bulbs.  I wish all workers were as thoughtful!  As it happened, Allan and I were going there that day, Allan to the library and me to sort out my shingles hospital bill, so we told him we would move the clump of bulbs.

He had left a stake to show us where. (Allan’s photo)

iris reticulata and crocuses at the community building

I did get the bill sorted, in that the hospital will re-bill it with my insurance card, and I learned it had been over-billed, so it will now “only” cost me $200 (instead of $450) for a brusque 15 minute urgent care shingles visit and a lab test.

in the lobby of the hospital

With that done, I could enjoy an afternoon and evening of finishing a book, one which I had been reading in the late evenings for two nights before.

Not long ago, I read Kitty Burns Florey’s book about sentence diagramming and more, Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog.  In it, I had learned of the diaries of Dawn Powell, a novelist of the 1930s-60s.

Today I immersed myself and finished to the end.

Here are just a few favourite bits of Dawn Powell from my happy return to the staycation mode.

About her nervousness and phobias:

This passage about the death of her darling cat had me in tears over my Smoky; her experience was so much like mine, except that we did not let Smoky die at home.

She did get another cat, because years later she writes while traveling of “a feeling of homesickness for my cat.

Here is a valuable thought, if you have ever wondered WHY in the world you had been friends with someone who turned out to be just mean:

“I wonder again how we could ever have been friends, although friends are like food—one’s palate and capacity and preference changes with education, travel, ulcers, and better opportunities for choosing.”

About censorship of books, which spoke to me because of my parents forbidding me, as a teenager, to be allowed to read books from the adult section of the LIBRARY (!!):

On solitude, in which she longs for five hours of it a day:

Decades later, she had upped it to eight to twelve hours a day.  I get the same craving.  Fortunately, Allan and I rub along pretty quietly together at home.  During staycation, I crave not just twelve hours but two weeks (dare I confess to wanting even more) of solitude from everyone but Allan.

I think one of my happiest winters was one of complete solitude, on my own in my cold little house behind the boatyard, reading in front of the single source of heat, a glowing space heater.

Dawn Powell wrote diary entries for many years about ideas for a book that never came to fruition, about a world where cats were in charge and humans were the pets:

Years later, still thinking about “Yow”:

She was ahead of her time for the second wave of feminism; this was written in 1952:

On aging:

She died in 1965, not even making to 70.  I felt bereft when I came to the end of the diaries.  I still have novels of hers, and a biography to read.

Having dipped back into one bookish day, I was told by the weather forecast that we would be back to work tomorrow.




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The Measure of My Days by Florida Scott-Maxwell

I had recently read in a Susan Wittig Albert book a recommendation of The Measure of My Days as an excellent memoir about getting old.  (Others I have read and  much admired are by At Seventy and After the Stroke and Endgame: A Journal of the Seventy-Ninth Year and Encore: A Journal of the Eightieth Year and At Eighty-Two, all by May Sarton and Coming Into the End Game and Extra Innings by Doris Grumbach and any of the later memoirs by Gladys Taber.)

Perhaps because I spent so mucn childhood time with my grandmother and her friends, I have always thought a great deal about being old.  Here are my favourite bits from The Measure of My Days, a book which I acquired through inter-library loan.


I like the following passage because my grandmother hooked rag rugs (and so did I, for awhile):


a rug by my grandma, Gladys Corinne Walker

a rug by my grandma, Gladys Corinne Walker





oldage oldage2I do like all that she has to say about loving solitude and silence.

It is clearly innocent to wish to be quiet or alone, but then others must not come where you are.  It is natural to wish to be the only one to leave your footprint on pristine sand; to lie in an unvisited wood is idyllic, but if others do the same then all is degraded.  What sort of climber likes a crowded mountain peak?…It is undeniable that one needs the absence of others to enjoy the magic of many things.  So vital are these joys that I am convinced that crowds endanger our quality; with them, in them, we become unworthy of each other.”


On being yourself:


Later, she writes “Must each of us come out of the crowd, the crowd in us, stand opposed, risk existence or non-existence, apart from the mass?  What birth is as painful as this, a birth that may be a death, but may also be a holy gift to one’s fellows.”

On expressing sorrow to others:


about the difficulties of life:




I find that a very comforting way to look at life’s trials: that life is meant to be heroic and greatness is required of us.


When I read the following lines, I had a strong sense of deja vu and was sure I had written them down in my pre-blog quotations book.

Disliking is my great sin, which I cannot overcome.  It has taken my whole life to learn not to withdraw.

I turned to my handwritten book in excitement, only to find that what I had written down was this:

I don’t much care for people anyway, truth be told.  That’s my failing and I’ve relied on it for much of my happiness.”  From The Bird Artist by Howard Norman

There is a certain similarity.

My favourite paragraph:


Some of Scott-Maxwell’s passages about faith, and her rather old-fashioned views of the equality of the sexes did not speak to me, but one must keep in mind that the book was written over 40 years ago.

Rather pitifully, it’s about the only quotable book I read in March other than trying and failing to get through The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and, of course, some lighter reading along with the always fascinating journals at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.

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