It's finally fall, which means Halloween themed paper chains have been hung (by toy company eeBoo), mums have replaced our pansies, and pumpkins have joined the ranks. Hasn't scared this bumblebee away though.
In a couple weeks, Chris and I are planning to spend the weekend in Northampton, MA. When Sam and Deidre got married in September, some friends stayed at a nearby Airbnb; Chris stopped by to visit and thought it would be a great place for a weekend trip, so he booked the soonest dates. Work has been really stressful lately, so I can't wait to take a long weekend and get away from errands and housework and responsibilities. Counting down the days!
This afternoon a couple of friends and I went to Honeypot Farm to pick apples and grab cider donuts. It was pretty crazy because the weather was so beautiful, but I tried to avoid including the crowds in the pictures. Afterward, we got a tour of our friend's farm and got to hold some chickens and pet some sheep!
My plants are doing well, and now that it’s consistently warm, a lot of my indoor plants are living outside. Including my small army of baby aloe. The mama aloe just keeps having babies.
My friend Kara recommended to me an excellent collection of essays by Durga Chew-Bose last year. Her reflections on the dream of having a porch always make me think of the deck I suddenly gained access to when my landlord had it redone (because it was previously condemned and had no railing). I feel like even though I'm renting this deck month by month, I've gained "some semblance" of the mythologized porch, which Chew-Bose supposes is a place for listening to a parent's stories. (Over the last couple years I've been trying to track down family storytelling with a recorder too, even if it's just me hitting record on my phone when stories come up in conversation.)
Here's an excerpt from Too Much and Not the Mood:
“There are nights when I go to bed a little foolish and pretend the world is a disco ball and that the stars are simply reflected dots. That none of this is too dire and how the impossibility of knowing everything is an advantage. Most children grow up and plan to, at some stage, sit with a parents, a pad of paper, a voice recorder, and listen. Most children, despite good intentions, never make it happen.
Perhaps we’re waiting for our porch. We defer, defer, defer, and make excuses until we’ve won life’s ultimate lottery: the porch. The kind that wraps around. There’s something neutral about the conditions of its build: inside’s privacy, but outside, it’s an extension that stipulates the promise of delay. Imagine if our foreheads had porches jutting out from them? Maybe our brains would experience some reprieve.
On porches, conversation flows freely because silences, while weighty, aren’t strained. The faint interruption of a neighbor’s car pulling up the driveway or leaves rustling, or the benefits of a view in August, kink the air pressure that might exist between two people. A breeze jangles wind chimes and gently jolts us from ourselves. It’s harder to speak selfishly on a porch. Even when it’s hot, no one overheats. Picking a fight on a porch means you’ve missed the point entirely.
So, until then -- until the porch or some semblance of it -- we put off the pad of paper, the voice recorder. We are self-centered. We are out with friends, yet curious why. We are running late. Mentioning things in passing. Not picking up our phones. Lying on our stomachs. We are ambitious, only kind of. Obsessed to the point of --not boredom -- but reprise. We are incapable of writing a letter of condolence. We are vulnerable when it suits us. Taking aim when wearied. Clumsily articulate when expressing intense feelings, like subtitles in a foreign film. We are in the midst of, or have just inched past, our stretch. We read a book that alters us but never talk to our parents about the books that change our fabric, so instead, the weather. The rain. The snow in April.”
-Too Much and Not the Mood
It's going to be a very busy summer. I'll be back home visiting family for various reasons (mom's birthday, Father's Day, my dad's retirement), my brother and sister-in-law are having their first baby next month so I'm hoping to go down and help them out around the time the baby is due, and we have four weddings between the end of June and Labor Day, plus some functions related to those. One of the weddings is for my cousin Katie and her fiancé Lukas, who is from Austria. They will be getting married on the outskirts of Vienna so I'm pretty stoked for that and to then have a full week in Europe!
This week I went home for a dinner in honor of my dad, who is retiring from his post as Library Director in my home town. He had me take a photo of him to use for press stuff. The next day, we went to Nanticoke Gardens, a local flower nursery, and picked up some pansies and hanging geraniums for the deck. Mom also sent me home with this cool fiberoptic grass plant that seems pretty pleased with itself.
Chris and I took a walk to the Brookline Reservoir to catch the sunset. Mom and Dad visited for the weekend and we went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. We had blackberry pie and pasta primavera and during the prep I cut my knuckle with a mandoline slicer (and almost blacked out because I don't like seeing blood). But other than that last bit it was a really nice weekend. On Mother's Day my parents and I walked around different neighborhoods for several hours. The last photo is the stairs at Charles MGH. The light looked really nice.
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based out of Mansfield, MA.