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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

After the Holiday Weekend, Life Goes On

The grey skies held off until this morning, our long weekend was glorious, but now it’s back to business as usual, and the business of this week in Northport includes the last library book discussion of the season. Everyone is welcome at one o’clock at the Leelanau Township Library to talk about The Gift of Rain, by Tan Twan Eng. (To start the book tonight and finish it by tomorrow might mean going without sleep. It could be done, I’m sure. Consider that if you haven’t read it yet!) I’m looking forward to having Bruce here in the bookstore so I can attend the discussion, because I loved this book—for several reasons. First, the setting (Penang) is completely different for me. Then, so many sentences were like poems. And finally, the complexity of the characters and the choices they had to make in life made The Gift of Rain a book well worth reading. You can recognize the library building this week by the beautiful flowering crab apple trees gracing its garden.

The highlight of my weekend was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. How often can that be said? I’d reserved tickets weeks ahead for the Stanislav Pronin concert on Saturday evening, and the more I heard and read about him before the evening arrived, the harder it was to believe he would really be playing at the Northport Community Arts Center. Could it be true? He would be here in our little village? It was. He did. For hours at the bookstore on Sunday and Monday I relived the event, listening to a CD of that beautiful music.

Sunday morning’s breakfast was scrambled eggs with chopped shallots and, at last, fresh morels. This picture (of one that was growing sideways) gives some idea of how difficult morels are to spot on the ground amid last year’s dead leaves:

The words “assisted living” don’t usually conjure up a vision of heaven on earth for me, but a brief scene in a documentary film (“Following Sean,” in case you’re interested) shed different light on that scary idea. In one scene the filmmaker was helping his parents move out of their long-time home and into what he referred to as “assisted living,” and the next scene showed them on a farm! They had decided, his narration continued, to join a “Steiner community.” I was smitten! Not to be confused with mobile home parks of the same name in Florida (Googling brings up everything), this intentional community 35 miles from New York City, with a philosophy based on Rudolf Steiner’s beliefs in biodynamic agriculture and Waldorf education, is non-alcoholic, vegetarian and multigenerational. It isn’t just shuffleboard and sing-alongs: everyone has jobs, important work to do. Well, David said he wouldn’t mind the alcohol ban but didn’t want to give up meat, and while I could easily adopt a vegetarian diet I do appreciate a glass of wine with dinner, and we’re pretty attached to northern Michigan, too, so my new Leelanau County dream is that by the time I’m ready for “assisted living,” I can find the necessary assistance down on the farm. No air conditioning, please. I’d rather take care of the chickens.

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