Tomorrow is the summer solstice, at 9:36 a.m. In honor of that, don your robes, pick a chant, and go somewhere tonight to watch the sun set. If you’re a local druid, I suggest our own take on Stonehenge, the Spiral Jetty. (Okay, it has nothing in common with Stonhenge except rocks. But it’s all we have.)
Go outside. Especially if it’s a lovely evening and your apartment is empty because your roommate is STILL GONE, making you want to get a dog which would at least give you something to talk to besides yourself. (ARE YOU READING THIS, TODD? I’M SERIOUS. I’D NAME HIM BUDDY. WE COULD HIKE TOGETHER.) I recommend parts of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail: Up above City Creek, as mentioned yesterday, or around Red Butte, where I went last night. (I somehow got off the trail and ended up at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Lots of patios for a hospital.)
If you’re hiking in the grassy foothills–or really, if you’re just about anywhere–heed the advice of today’s picture.
The trailhead from Sunday’s little hike is at 18th Ave. and Hilltop Road. I know, because I went back yesterday evening. (Because if the day was long and you haven’t seen your roommate in almost a week and you’re full of nameless anxiety, you should not stay in your apartment and shop online.) I’ve always loved seeing the light on the foothills here; I’m glad it finally dawned on me I’d probably like being in those foothills in the evening light, too.
Almost as good as foothills for cheering you up: Jim Coudal’s recipe for the perfect martini. I think I’ll try it tonight.
It’s a thinly-disguised fact that I owe most of what I know to the J. Peterman catalog: If I read about it there, I would usually go and find out more–from British colonialism, Lawrence of Arabia, or Elsa Maxwell to Tolstoy.
And now, 12 years after my first historic Peterman, I’ve discovered M.F.K. Fisher, who was mentioned in a Spring/Summer issue probably around 1996. (Seriously. There was an apron dress you could buy, in pink or blue.) I picked up The Gastronomical Me, and this is what won me over:
Now…the three of us are in some ways even more than twenty-five years older than we were then. And still the warm round peach pie and the cool yellow cream we ate together that August night live in our hearts’ palates, succulent, secret, delicious.
“Hearts’ palates.” Perfect.
Why, yes I did.
All the linden trees are in bloom in the neighborhood, which of course made me think of Proust having linden blossom tea and a madeleine, thus summoning his childhood memories of such and inspiring all twelve volumes of Remembrance of Things Past. (No, I’ve onloy read the first one.)
So I made madeleines. Hooray, we have an Office Snack of The Day again!
Yessterday evening I met up with an old friend and her friend, and we all went for a hike in the foothills. We took a “shortcut” to the trailhead (on 18th Avenue and…um…Liberty Road?) and then walked up, and around, and finally down into City Creek and back home to 10th Avenue on the pavement. But the grass was still green on the foothills, there was wild rhubarb by the stream, the evening light was high and clear and yellow–and we got to talk about Robert Hass’s poems. So a good evening.
Here’s a quote I found from The Enormous and Ongoing Inspirational Quote Project that seemed to relate:
Why should all the major religions of the modern world include a crucial encounter with wilderness—Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed in the desert mountains, Siddhartha in the jungle? And why should the predominant modern view of the origin and development of life have arisen from the five-year wilderness voyage of a Victorian amateur naturalist named Charles Darwin? …Placing Darwin in the tradition of Moses and Jesus may seem heresy from both the Judeo-Christian and scientific viewpoints, but I think the roles played by the three figures have been similar. They wrenched their respective cultures out of a complacency that amounted to self-worship and thrust them in new directions that (if not always entirely beneficial) enlarged the human perspective. Moses forced his society to accept a unifying law; Jesus forced his to accept the unity of all humanity; Darwin forced his to accept the unity of all life. I doubt whether any of the three would have been able to influence his society if he had not been fortified by a season in the wilderness.
David Rains Wallace (b. 1945), U.S. naturalist, essayist. “Tracks in the Wilderness,” The Klamath Knot, Sierra (1983).
The basis of optimism is sheer terror.
Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)
Self-respect—The secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.
H.L. Mencken (1880–1956)
(The image is from Despair, Inc. Brilliant.)