Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Fen Shui of the Scythe

Connectedness is a strange thing. This morning, I mowed around my flower beds, trimming serpiginous patterns.  The neighbor's boy mows our lawn every other weekend. He is saving up for his first car, and the income from mowing is important to him, so I had to go over and explain to his father I'd be mowing just the front lawn which faces the street so I could get a Fenway Fen shui effect there, but his son could count on doing the sides of the house and the big back yard running down to the woods. We respect the rights of labor here in this part of Seacoast New Hampshire.  I am now connected to that boy's dream of his own car. 

The sun was so bright, I brought up my painting from the basement to my driveway, so I could paint in natural light for a change. It didn't make my "art" any better--in fact it was like an aging woman looking in a mirror in bright light--sort of discouraging. But I did block out the colors and it was nice standing in the sunlight and the gusty winds,  which have pushed out the heavy summer air for the weekend.

Then I sat down with the Sunday New York Times on my front porch in the rocking chair and read the wonderful article by Jeremy Hastings describing his day with a scythe in his hand, on an island an ocean away, in the Inner Hebrides, off Scotland. He described starting on an outer ring of his lawn in a way designed to allow ground nesting birds to fly away before he could do them any harm. He was mowing in Scotland; I was mowing in New Hampshire, both taking about the same pleasure from it.

Accompanying the article was the wonderful painting by Winslow Homer, "The Veteran in a New Field," and Hastings quoted Tolstoy describing the pleasure of cutting a field of hay with a scythe.  Now the thread ran to Russia.

I've lined up stones I gathered from the beach, 3 miles away, and lined the flower beds with them.  It's the best art of which I am capable, sort of a paleolithic caveman level of art, but still. 

These are the pleasures of country life.  

A good friend took a train down to New York City and emailed me from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the Homer painting hangs. She said she could have spent all day there, all week, but she had to get to a Eugene O'Neill play.  Such are the pleasures of the city.

It's June in the Northern Hemisphere.  We are all connected.

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