When it’s finally temperate enough for every single window, nook and cranny to remain open twenty-four-seven, that’s what I call a beginning. The last couple of nights have been such. I have my bed ready for summer what with new fun springy sheets (and my “Linus blanket” thrown over for extra warmth if need be, although it usually winds up on the floor) and thieves please note: you certainly can pry through my screens if you like, but you won’t walk away with anything much of value.
You’d have to be one of those dumb crooks to choose my modest abode for a take.
I still have my cut-off-at-the-finger gloves handy, which I wear due to having grown into a person whose body has given up on regulating the cold. Well whose body has a habit of jumping in response to any kind of weather really, but cold does evil things, inexplicable. So the every single window, nook and cranny being open twenty-four-seven is cause for celebration.
Heat does good things.
And so do mint juleps. I’ve talked about it before and because juleps do good things I’ll talk about it again! Saturday is Derby Day and even though I may not seem the horse racing enthusiast I’m one of the utmost. At least in May. The big race is my front to connect with the earth in the very best and most personal of ways. And also with the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Freud would have a field day! Well to me anyway it’s a telling narrative. I’m sure Freud, despite being creepily twisted, would appreciate a simple kind of madness? The kind that’s beautiful and defies reason, where events all around knit up and fall into place and life unfolds in such way that one has the luxury of joyfully going along for the ride with nary a peep?
It’s very simple really.
You get to sit back and watch.
And why not? I’m sure it’s happened to you and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. And in this still clutching certain little things dear, seemingly illogical things, ridiculous mostly to pretty much anyone else yet you CLING. Those things that keep you alive, keep you going. You know what I mean? Like horse racing for me. Yeh the Derby is Saturday which is nice. Those ladies with the big hats! Those horses with the dumb names! Kentucky. But best of all the juleps. And I have the whole luxury of joyfully going along for the ride with nary a peep, particularly now, as I have chocolate mint and apple mint and of course spearmint growing. and maybe peppermint too.
(I’m not sure about the peppermint- I was told it could be mixed in from the patch of spearmint I dug up-to be honest I’ve never been able to really distinguish them- the plant nor the taste).
So that’s been growing steadily in the front garden of the new place I’m moving into in a few weeks, the very tall second floor apartment (bats in the belfry, too high ceilings) of the old Victorian house that sits on the ridge—built in 1872—the perfect example of late nineteenth century American domestic architecture: bell cast gable roof with tastefully, perfectly appointed windows, big old front porch with inviting and welcoming grounds that at this point have nothing but potential, English basement apartment in the rear with a huge yard and that abuts two community gardens (one for a church and one for the homeless), and beyond the tree line a city cemetery, started back in the time the house was built. It’s crowded there now. This scene all part of a what in the early 1800s was a prominent, hundred-seventeen acre estate of rolling foothills, owned by the county clerk and apparent robber baron of the day. Who woulda thunk it? Not me. I only planted the mint seedlings three or so weeks ago, but their leaves will do the trick. And by the time that the mint and bourbon and sugar are in my belly the point of the whole experience IS the experience.
Am I boring you?
So I haven’t worked on land where I live in a couple of years, but I’ve worked on lots of other people’s land in the interim- a few properties that I help take care of. I’ve loved it. But in the last month since I’ve signed on for my new place I’ve been sprucing up THAT property, and in just a short time the whole taking care of my OWN property has done wonders, more than years of the best psychoanalysis ever could. RAWR! Nothing like getting lost in the right task—that’s primal—ask God! Being an aesthete and reliably and deliberately driven to quench that which is unquenchable, as of late I’m quenched. The results have been excellent, with even the weather like I’ve ordered it. The people along the way have been warm and agreeable enough and the overall stage is set for success. The joy of course has been in the getting there, with it all unfolding in such a way I can only enthuse.
It’s time to go to the liquor store.
I’m thirsty! I’m going over on Saturday to mow the big lawn. Then I’m gonna harvest some mint and boil it up with some sugar and water, crush some ice in a highball glass and add bourbon. And suck it all down. And then do it again. And sit back and look around.
Maybe you can join.
See it’s all very simple. It’s not about seeing the Derby. In my mind I see all the other mint I’ve planted and harvested and drank in all those other gardens in all those other places I’ve lived over all those other years. And always for the same reasons and seriously, how cool is that? Connecting with where you’re standing when you’re in your place and time and lifting up your glass is what I call living.