On Plants

azaleasI’ve always loved plants, flowers, blooms. Made forts in boxwoods, learned and loved the evocative names Mama had planted in the gracious swooping beds surrounding our house, onomatopoetic almost, Bleeding Hearts, Johnny Jump-ups, Naked Ladies, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Poet’s Laurel, St. John’s Wort, Harry Lauder Walking Stick. I held dear The Secret GardenPeter Rabbit, and a book called Flower Fairies of the Garden (my copy of which my Mama brought back to me recently for use as a research tome). I’ve always loved plants, but it’s been like how you love Paris or how you love Vermeer or how you love Virginia Woolf. You love them from afar, through the lens of where you are, they’re distant, somehow, you appreciate their beauty and softness and worldly majesty when you are lucky enough to brush by it, but Paris is not yours, the Vermeer isn’t in your care, and you will never truly understand Virginia Woolf, no matter how many times you re-read To The Lighthouse. I’ve always felt the same way about plants. I love them, but that they are not meant for me to understand. And when I try, one of us usually ends up a shriveled brown mess.tulipdewI think this has a lot to do with our relationship with time. Talking about this crazy winter, the forsythias straggled in just last week, leggy and blown like a horse ridden to far too fast. In deciding whether to cut it back drastically or let time take its course, the words got tossed around we’ll just have to see how they do next year. It’s unfathomable for a person of 25 to be thinking about what a plant is going to do a year from now when they don’t know what they’re going to be doing six months from now. The rare young birds that do have very old souls indeed. You have to be in a place where you’re ready to put your own roots down before you can be worrying about anyone elses.daffodil

Understanding a plant takes commitment, the delicate pruning of the lilac, the blooming off of new-wood-old-wood argument of the Azalea (what, that takes 3 years to understand?), and the dauntless perennial bulbs that are springing to life right now, a testament to the staying power of loveliness and perhaps proof of the rightness of civilization. Miss McKay says that her mama told her that if you see daffodils in the country, it means a house used to stand there, the plants become the record of the people, and are still there after decades. And this is the, ahem, root of it. The best kind of plants have a kind of permanence (like Paris, like Miss Virginia) that, literally, takes root and hangs on for years, you are their steward, you have to be in it for the long haul, and if you do your job well, the roots you put down will outlast you. I discovered a stand of daffodils in the back woods, near where some mysterious stone columns have sat, fallen for years like an Appalachian Ozymandius, the dark green shoots bursting from bramble, proof that someone cared here. And I care here now.

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Glorious Weekend

In New York, the literal distance between friends- the few blocks separating a single neighborhood- can be the difference between weekly wine dates and once-a-year-in-review catch ups. You live in Cobble Hill? Are you free next September? You live in Clinton Hill? Come over for cocktails this very minute. Le sigh. It can be daunting. BUT- after much karma, zen real estate, and wise choices in love and loft we find ourselves with four very good households of friends all living within a five minute walk of each other. This seems a New York miracle. Yes, Virginia, Brooklyn sometimes feels like Virginia. Ever since I read this post from Oh Happy Day!- a progressive dinner carousing from arrondissment to arrondissment through the streets of Paris- I’ve been dying to try it. A Progressive Dinner, in short, moves from house to house with each stop serving a different course of a meal. A Moveable Feast of Brooklyn intuition. I’m thinking that the whole shebang will probably look and feel like the above picture from Comet in Moominland– which Eben and I both read as children and made mental notes that we wanted our lives to be like this-  as he agrees: so far so good. I’ll let you know how it goes. Cheers to good friends and a lovely weekend to you!

 

ps. I also made these for tonight. They are so absurd and wonderful!

pps. Love and congratulations to Dear Rav, tying il nodo in Tuscany this very night. My heart is full for you.

 

Moomin image from here, naturally.

 

Dans le trou de lapin…

Oh, the internet rabbit hole… You know the drill- you start out looking at raw edged wood cutting boards and 38 clicks later you’re inexplicably on a page of Arrested Development gifs feeling hungry or maybe angry. This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife, how did I get here? Sometimes, though, all of the clicks seem to lead somewhere, breadcrumbs living up to their name, trailing to a fabulous candy house where the witch plays accordion and doesn’t want to eat you. Such was the case when I stumbled on this awesome image on a life-in-Paris blog that Maman shared with me. As a swarthy accordion player/feather hair-piece wearer myself, I identified with the gentleman in the middle, and, of course, figured Sweetheart for the bearded banjo playing swami on the right. What on earth is this a poster for? When is it from? So… down the rabbit hole (or: dans le trou de lapin) we go. Many clicks later, I discover that “Les Primitifs du Futur” is a sort of gypsy jazz canaille collective featuring various vagabonds on guitar, brass, ukulele, theremin, musical saw, accordion, bandoneon, xylophone, vibraphone, drums… and cult artist (and creator of Mr. Natural) Robert Crumb on banjo. What the wha? Listen here and check out these awesome posters and album art made for the band by R. Crumb hisself.I mean, really? Ce qu’est un voyage dans le trou de lapin, de l’accordéon dans la patte.

Images (and more music to listen!) from here.

Happy Friday!

Spring is in the air, New York City!! I feel like the aerie baloons and farie macarons from this divine little short from Sofia Coppola (I don’t care that it’s an ad)… Moi je joue, Moi je joue à joue contre joue!