Monthly Archives: January 2013
I find that my dearest of the Jane Austen novels remains Persuasion. Delicate and insightful, biting and awfully funny in a restrained way startling you with unexpected drama that arises naturally out of the characters and their flaws and strengths. But thinking of the beginning I find myself considering how it fits, as so often Austen does, into a commentary most current and urgent.
Anne Elliot the daughter, the Elliot family’s man of business and the nosy neighbor sit down with the man “of means” Sir Elliot, who needs for the first time in his life to live within those means. But it’s not simply that he needs to live a reformed life that fits his assets – he needs to live well below his old style, such that he can repay the debts he has incurred. He must retrench.
This is a reflection we might take for ourselves. We need to deal with retrenching in terms of our lives and our planet. We have so far overspent we need to seriously re-budget our lifestyles and expectations – well below what we now take as expected. This may be as unwelcome a thought to us as retrenching was to Sir Elliot, but if we wish to have our next two or perhaps more generations experience reasonable comfort, we must consider and act upon this unwelcome assessment.
I live in a small city so I take the bus instead of driving. Our family tries hard to do no more than one shopping run a week, to organize our needs so we aren’t dashing off for missing components of dinner or the screws to hang my next show of paintings. We grow a part of our food, probably not enough, and make efforts to conserve on our utilities and water. Yet my profile, trimmed back though it is, still would require many earths for everyone to live as I do. As I keep reminding myself… we only have one.
If your headlights rake across my yard tonight you’re going to see ghosts, some in plaid, some blue and others in floral jammies. It’s not what it seems. It’s the weather we’re having. Global temperature shifts have derailed the normal Jet Stream pattern and So Cal is freezing. Twenty seven degrees Farenheit last night, I kid you not.
That means one thing to me. As the shadows stretch across the lawn I go out with all the old sheets and blankets that are no longer bed-worthy, and swaddle or tent my tender plants. Thank goodness most are weather hardy, but I am still picking hot peppers off my jalapeno, habanero Thai and Serrano plants and I want to coddle them into continuing. They get some fine soft blankets of long memory. My neighbor across the street asked if an electric blanket would be my next effort.
I also tent the papaya, orchids, young snowpeas, cycads, Szechuan Peppercorn, Pandorea, Tibouchina and the Greyia. All teetering on the edge of their temperature tolerances in a year like this, all loyal performers. As said, I’m glad that most of my citrus and vegetables are frost hardy, but there’s still work to do.
Past years with younger exotic plants I had much more scuttling about to do. The ghosts looked some years like a convention, shapes leaning in together as though to share some secret or an improper joke. The super vulnerable exotics became lanterns, with lights strung under the tenting sheets, extension cords running back to the house. It was a spectacle. Plant lovers unite. The shadows grow long and the hour has come for all good souls to come to the aid of their plants.
In case you missed the chance in November, here you are! My novel Night Must Wait is a free Kindle download today through January 3! Just go to http://tinyurl.com/8pd5pbm If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle app. here for your computer:
Once you download the Kindle app., you can buy ebooks and read them on your computer without actually owning a Kindle.
Pass it on to anyone you know!
All my best wishes for a healthy and happy new year!