I´m not dead – just off to
The great thing about being in
It´s not like I´m some outdoorsy gal. The great thing about not having any pride in that department is, I can ask advice and experiment with impunity and feel no shame. I have that geek curiosity. We were staying at a camp, with a lodge and other outlying cabins, and so I asked folks about the tides, lobster pots, bears, and the amazing, hard-core gardening going on there. How do you eat a lobster? How to cope with the wind and tide in a kayak? What´s the best way to build a fire in a stove (as opposed to a grate in a fireplace)? Can I bank the coals and/or work the draw to a degree that I don´t have to start from scratch twice a day? I had a little ongoing contest with myself to see how little kindling I could use.
I kayaked. A lot. Kayaking is the perfect boating exercise, as far as I´m concerned. Rowboating is a hell of a lot of work, sailboats are tedious with all the prep and rigging and what have you (although I´m happy to sail as long as someone else is doing all the work, and we did sail, it was a magnificent day, and I loved it). But a kayak is a one-person moving meditation. It´s silent. I don´t need, or want, help. I got a two-person boat so I could take the kids out, but I could also go out by myself and haul as hard as I wanted to, out to an island and back. The water´s so cold it´ll kill you eventually, or so I´ve been told, so I never got too far out. We saw harbor seals, and the porpoises came so close to the boat you could hear them blow. The kids just rambled around with their cousins and built fairy houses out of moss and sticks and waded in the cove on low tide. I taught them the fine, lost art of s´mores. I read a lot of books. We saw two black bears and plenty of mosquitos.
This is where I´m supposed to be moving on to sticking in a quickie fragrance review, and I fully intended to do that. Having written the above, though, I´m going to blow it off and address something else. Tasha Tudor died while we were up there, and my sister-in-law and I got into a friendly argument/discussion about Tudor after we read a brief article about her death in the Wall Street Journal somebody´d left on the front hall table. Now, let me emphasize here that neither of us knows anything else about Tudor other than what was in the WSJ (although I´m now going to get a biography), so our disagreement was philosophical rather than fact-based, if you follow me.
Tasha Tudor was born in the early 20th century (1915?) but loved the 1830s and, as a young adult, went “back to the land” and lived on a farm, eventually in a house her son built by hand; she raised four kids in a
Anyhow – Kate was mildly horrified by all of that, as outlined in the WSJ, although she´s as fond of Tudor´s works as I am, which is to say: very fond. She though Tudor must have been nuts, and it bothered her to think about what it was like for Tudor´s children, being raised by a woman who seemed determined to live in the previous century.
And I found myself arguing with her, because I was … well, strangely charmed. There have been times in my life when I thought how appealing something like that might be. Okay, not as hardcore as Tudor (we´re not taking water and electricity off the table) but – I don´t know. To go put on a bonnet and a long skirt and chuck the TV and get the hell out of here.
But what does that mean, exactly? Let´s posit for this discussion that Tudor had enough independent wealth from her books that she could garden and weave and etc., but nobody was going to starve to death in a harsh winter if her cows died or whatever. On some level she had the comfort of choice – she could go buy food and provisions if she needed to. I´m not talking Back To The Land in a life-or-death way.
So, if you could have the fantasy, would you? Would you go move to (pick one) a rural Connecticut farm, or near a deserted beach or island, or a ranch in the scrub in New Mexico, assuming you had enough income that you didn´t have to bust your behind making the thing work for your survival? You could grow some stuff, but you could still drive to Kroger´s? What if you had kids? What about those renegade Mormons in
I´m not trying to provoke anything here. This just happens to be a topic I spent several hours thinking about, alone, over the course of my vacation. What does it mean to leave? To opt out? To go to the ranch or the convent? Is it play-acting? (Heck, isn´t it all play-acting?) Do you have the right? What about people who don´t have the choice, like your children? On a lighter note, am I the only middle-aged woman
Okay, I have a pile of work on my desk (typing this Monday) I haven´t done, and I need to get on it. I won´t be hurt if you punt this post; I´ll see you tomorrow or Thursday for perfume.
*This doesn´t belong in this post, but it´s so long at this point I´m sticking it in anyway. Some of the rest of you probably read the New York Times magazine article a month or two ago about Emily Gould the gawker.com blogger, and how she also had a “private” blog, and how all her general snarkiness and over-sharing the personal details of her life eventually converged into something that blew up in her face. Separate from the specific people and details involved, reading the article got me thinking – hard – about how and what I share on here. Writing helps me think, and I like to write about all sorts of things, and this is my writing outlet for the time being. But I worry sometimes – e.g., what if someone reads my kid-related stuff and uses it as some sort of ammo that I´m an unfit mother? What if I embarrass my kids? I have already been startled a couple of times by the discovery that some of my kids´ friends, and the occasional teacher, and even some adult acquaintances of mine, lurk on the blog. Where do I draw the line? In the end I didn´t have much sympathy for Gould´s predicament, but parts of the article and her thought processes felt uncomfortably familiar. I am still trying to determine – in this brave new world of online information – where the boundaries are, at least for me.
photos: Buckethead and yours truly in the kayak; Diva’s photo of a daisy, and maybe I should get that girl a camera, she’s got an eye; Hecate and our sub-standard poodle, Kai; Tasha Tudor image from WSJ article; how I gained 5lbs. in one week (the lobster rolls and onion rings from the Bagaduce Lunch, which btw just won a James Beard commendation, only they didn’t go to the ceremony because it was their daughter’s high school graduation and who the heck is James Beard, anyway?); Diva takes the tiller on God’s perfect day sail.