Living Things. Irises are completing their blooms. Thyme and sage are in bloom. Lavender is fragrant. At the kitchen window, a fly trapped on the inside escapes from a spider on the other side of the pane trying to catch it. A black cat sleeps on the porch rocker. When I come home at night, it dashes in front of me as I approach the porch steps. I do not see it during the day. At 6:00 Monday morning, when I opened the blinds, it was comfortably asleep. I’m grateful for the presence of the mysterious cat.
Weeding. I take advantage of the sunny and cool days to weed the borders. Word got out that I love clover, and it is bountiful this year in the yard and in the borders, but in the borders it was choking out the lavender, the thyme, the sage, the gardenia. When I pull clover, I notice that it binds the earth. Where there is clover, there are earthworms working the soil. Go fast, worm, or the robin who flew from Sanders to Song will eat you for lunch. I have left a few of the plants we label weeds to see how grow. Yes, weeds, as single plants, are growing proudly in the borders.
Reading. William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (c. 1596) Although I am not planning to read all of the plays of Shakespeare, I do plan to read fourteen of them, from all types and writing periods, using Alfred Harbage’s William Shakespeare: A Reader’s Guide (Noonday Press, 1963). My text is The Pelican Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Penguin, 1969) As I read this early comedy, I heard the voice of Dr. Snuggs, the Shakespeare professor, “Watch the writing. How are the characters speaking? Are they speaking in blank verse, rhymed verse, prose? Are there rhymed couplets? Notice how the versification emphasizes the meaning!” A Midsummer Night’s Dream is fun. It’s funny. And it gives us ideas about the relationship between fantasy, dreams, imagination, magic, and reality. These comments are reflected in these fourteen favorite quotations: (1) “I will wed thee . . . / With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling.” (Theseus) (2) “The course of true love never did run smooth.” (Lysander) (3) “Have you the lion’s part written? Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.” (Snug) (4) “Let me play the lion too. I will roar that I will do any man’s heart good to hear me. I will roar that I will make the Duke say, ‘Let him roar again; let him roar again.'” (Bottom) (5) ” . . . We will meet, and there we may rehearse most obscenely and courageously.” (Bottom) (6) “No night is now with hymn or carol blest.” (Titania) (7) “. . . once I sat upon a promontory / And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin’s back, Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath / That the rude sea grew civil at her song, / And certain stars shot madly from their spheres/ To hear the sea-maid’s music” (Oberon) (8) ” . . . this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.” (Puck) (9) “And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.” (Bottom) (10) “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” (Puck) (11) “Methought I was enamored of an ass.” (Titania) (12) “Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, / Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend / More than cool reason ever comprehends.” (Theseus) (13) “For never anything can be amiss / When simpleness and duty tender it.” (Theseus) (14) “I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn / As much as we this night have overwatched.” (Theseus)
Listening. Felix Mendelssohn, Complete Incidental Music to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Op. 61. Andre Previn, London Symphony Orchestra, EMI compact disc. (1977) The piece is fourteen movements , used in various scenes of the play. The score, melodious and dramatic, is justly popular. I especially like the motif representing Bottom’s braying after he is changed into an ass, the Nocturne, and the ever-popular Wedding March.
At Bachelor Hall. Laundry. After washing and drying there are the folding of towels, sheets, socks, and underwear and the hanging of shirts and pants. There is no smoothing iron at Bachelor Hall. I am Permanent Press Bill.
A place. I seek places to go for quarterly retreats. Do you know, or know of, places like this: quiet during the day, dark and quiet at night, a place not humid, not tropical, perhaps a rural place, a small town, a place by the sea? If you do, please leave a message here or write me at my regular email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading. I hope you will have a good week.