A Vermont Country Store Catalog Cover I Treasured This Summer

My favorite catalog published a cover photo that combined two themes prominent in my mind these past few months.

At a local park, I discovered a pair of Adirondack chairs – my favorite outdoor seating – far removed from the most populated paths. There I sat one entire afternoon, relieving stress as I overlooked the surrounding landscape. I hope to repeat the experience soon.

I’ve also reflected often these days upon my trips to New England over the years. Whenever I recall Vermont, I think of purplish hued mountains like these. Until I’m able to travel there once more, I’ll treasure catalog covers like these, and articles in Yankee Magazine. It’s changed over the years, but still retains the classic spirit of the Northeastern states.

Book Review of Kitchen Privileges – a memoir by Mary Higgins Clark

Mary Higgins Clark passed away earlier this year, but lovers of Mary Higgins Clark’s mysteries will enjoy learning about her life through this memoir, one of the first books I checked out from a local library when it partially reopened following COVID-19 shutdown. It covers the talented author’s life up until the mid-1990s.

Mary worked as a stewardess, and in the business and entertainment worlds, before becoming an author; roles that gave her the necessary experience to write stories based on, as she and other advisors often tell aspiring writers: “what you know”.

It’s a comfort to hear such an iconic author confide the uncertainties she held for years, despite her determination to succeed in the mystery-suspense genre. A woman widowed, with children, she cared for them, held a demanding job, began her fiction career by squeezing in a session of typing at the kitchen table from five a.m. to six forty-five each morning.

Her creative and ambitious management of time inspires me as I strive to complete freelance projects, and works of fiction; various writing projects at once, between the hours of my “regular job”.

Whether you’re an aspiring writer, or a consumer of Mary Higgins Clark’s mysteries, you’ll enjoy learning more about this lady, with whom I would have loved to lunch, given the chance, in New York, a city I would love to learn to navigate.

 

 

 

Parsley and Memories

My first experience with herbs was in the backyard of the farmhouse where I lived as as a young child. Parsley was the only herb my foster grandmother grew, but it made a great impression upon me.

I remember picking the pungent stems, just the way she showed me, chewing a few of the curly little leaves while I worked. The taste was pungent, savory, peppery, the flavor of spring, of tradition. My grandmother told me stories as we harvested, of life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when she was young.

She was nearly ninety, when I was born so the tales she told of tradition, of gardening, and just plain living, were nearly forgotten by most, even then.

Some years I’ve cultivated nearly a dozen varieties of herbal plants. This spring, I lacked time and energy for so many, but I couldn’t resist starting a couple pots of parsley, in memory of Grandma Lee.

Parsley loves cool weather. It’s sometimes healthy and full at Thanksgiving, ready for use in holiday turkey dressing. I’ve never planted it in late summer, but perhaps that’s a possibility.

A Late Summer Stroll Amid Open Fields

A starting point for a late summer stroll, this fence is lined with ripened thistle plants. The down lines the homes of American Goldfinches, those bright yellow birds often referred to as “wild canaries”.

Another Photo I Didn’t Share Earlier from my Springtime Adventure in a Rural Cemetery

When seated in the country cemetery I described in an April post, small strange clouds floated above, like spirits visiting from another realm.

A crazy concept you say? Perhaps, but it was just one of those moments–like people say about a hilarious experience that falls flat with only mere words to describe it – you simply “had to be there” to believe it.

Each season holds its special experiences. Spring and fall seem the most spiritual to me.

October is another month when I begin to feel a closer presence of those who have passed on. But in a positive way. Nothing to do with skeletons and scary seances. The feeling comes to me as I see trees at dusk silhouetted in the sunset, feel the heartbeat of the earth, sense the imprint of all who have walked upon it.

Queen Anne’s Lace Adorns a Ragged Grass Clump at a Wal-Mart Parking Lot

Inspiration often arrives in non-conventional ways. Stepping from my car, donning mask and gloves to shop in the new normal, I found the sight of this Queen Anne’s Lace plant oddly cheering.

It’s a survivor, amid a clump of straggly grass, its bloom one of the most perfect I’ve seen from this type of wildflower. A species I love, no matter how common.