Since I started taking the Olmstead Park path through Jamaica Plain into Brookline, over a year ago, I’ve passed this apple tree in its many forms. Decked out with blossoms, in mid-summer greens, full of knobby, misshapen apples that I’ve seen only Canada geese eat, and once with a raccoon perched crookedly on top like a fur hat, I enjoy the sight of the tree in each of its annual moods. I hope to snap a few more candids as the seasons progress.
Recently, I joined friends on a trip out to Natick Community Organic Farm to check out Maple Magic Day. We missed the pancake breakfast (so sad!), but we did enjoy a tour of the grounds and stood inside a real sugar shack, bathing in the steam and sugary air. I was particularly pleased because, last fall, I read a book on maple sugaring, and so felt impressed to experience the workings in person.
An added bonus was running into two friends at the farm, both of whom, unbeknownst to me, work there!
Welcome sign out front the sugar shack.
Rabbit watches the crowd.
A young worker tends the fire.
My friend Donelle re-tells an indigenous-people’s story of maple syrup.
Sap captured. Later it will be combined with the sap of other trees and boiled, boiled, boiled. The wisdom goes that it take forty gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup.
In general, I’m not quick to anger. Sure, like most people, I’ve got my triggers, but I’m much more likely to laugh, shrug, or shake my head and wonder aloud at the mysteries of humans.
So this morning, riding serenely down Putnam Street in Cambridge (j/k – Putnam, with its constellation of potholes = far from serene), a woman in a large white SUV swerved around me, yelling out her open window, “Move over!”
Putnam Street is, I don’t know, twelve feet wide. It’s a narrow street. The Big Dipper potholes and road patches usually result in my taking the lane (for non-commuters this means = riding in the middle of a travel lane.) I just don’t feel safe otherwise.
Enter the hollering driver in her SUV that barely fit in the lane. Enter 9:30 AM on a Wednesday. Enter fury.
I fantasized about chasing her car down and through her open passenger’s side window (that she rolled down to shout at me?), giving that woman a piece of my mind. In a big way.
But you see, I’ve already done this. Multiple times, in multiple situations. It’s not satisfying. It’s never satisfying. Not even perhaps raising a choice finger. Not even mumbling savagely to myself. What happens is I get upset, I look out-of-control, I get exhausted by my own anger-adrenaline. And it’s just not worth my energy to take these situations personally, because they’re not personal.
Still when these situations occur, which is fairly often, a large (loud, panting, spitting) part of me is so ready to bring it; so unwilling to back down.
As I may have mentioned on this blog, I have an enormous appreciation for libraries. But have I mentioned that, running nearly parallel with my library-love is an undying adoration for MAIL and letters? (Notice the struggle to contain my excitement; how MAIL must be written in all caps? And bolded. >ahem<)
With that in mind, imagine my excitement to discover not just a bona-fide hand-written letter in my box this week, but also the first edition of Taproot Magazine, a new publication with whole-hearted-life themes that I’m very excited about.
I’ve been so excited, I haven’t yet opened either. Just to savor the experience.
My mother alerted me to an interesting article in the Nation about the New York Public Library’s plans to create a sort of library-within-a-library at their famous branch on 42nd Street in Manhattan. There is an intention to create a state-of-the-art computer-oriented library -called the Central Library Plan. However, in doing so, NYPL will displace the existing stacks -sending (according to the article) 3 million books to storage and demolishing the stacks (shelving.)
So the library is dumping Books and hooking up with Computers? Curious. I suppose if I lived in NYC and frequented that branch of the NYPL, I might be sad to see the books go. Except, as far as I’m aware, those books don’t circulate. And unless one is doing research, how often do people actually read full books while in the library? Isn’t part of the beauty of libraries the act of borrowing, to be trusted with public treasure in one’s own home?
The Nation article carried a tone of nostalgia and called to mind old, gilded rooms devoted to one type of literature or another. Rooms I’d probably never enter. It also quoted a librarian who feared that the new computer-centric offerings will probably draw noisy crowds to what is now an impressively quite and calm atmosphere. I’ve seen these crowds in other city libraries, so I appreciate that librarian’s sentiment: it’s important to reserve spaces for quiet contemplation, as well as respectfully preserve a culture’s literature.
Seems to me a clash of cultures (also a bit of change-fear.) I’ll keep tabs on how this pans out.
So many cameras, so few lessons! This past weekend, I took a digital photography class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and was reminded of how little formal knowledge I have about either digital or analog photography. Thank goodness for affordable education.
Learning about ISO, fstops, aperture, all that . . .
Trying out the tricks on the way home.
Create my own fun, time-consuming photo madlib? Yes, ma’am!
Back in 2011, I attended _A__ potlucks and hosted _B__.
New to hosting successful potlucks, my partner and I enjoyed fresh opportunities to _C__. Also, we learned that a host must be _D__!
Now when friends start a’calling, I whip up a batch of _E__, hop on my trusty _F__ and speed _G__.
Never before in my life have community meals been so _H__. I feel very _I__!
Majority of my city bike-commuting experiences are positive –interesting, funny, beautiful, and so on. For example, the time when a MBTA bus pulled next to me on Mass. Ave., opened the passenger door and the driver called, “Do you want to race?”
Or the time when a tractor-trailer stopped beside me at a light and the driver honked the horn, pointed to my rainbow legwarmers, and gave me a thumbs-up.
Or spotting tiny frogs on the path while heading up Olmstead along the J-way on a wet, rainy night.
Or the time when a 70-something woman passed in front of me on a crosswalk and exclaimed, “You’re awfully cute!”
And then there are the bike-commuting experiences that can best be encapsulated by the phrase: oh MY (insert favorite sacrilege expletive.)
Like yesterday when I witnessed two cars smash together in the bike lane on Hampshire Street in Cambridge.
Or yesterday when I passed two separate incidents of women weeping (one wearing scrubs and clogs, tucked behind a tree, another on a bench with a friend) along the Muddy River in the Back Bay Fens.
Or last week when I think I saw someone stealing from a car parked near the Riverside Whole Foods, promised myself I’d report it when I got to work, and then of course promptly forgot.
Like the aforementioned Incident Behind Jackson Square Station.
Like when there’s a full moon and everybody gets just a little bit odd –you’ll never seen more mid-road K-turns or multiple-car assorted contortions on tight side-streets, than during a full moon!