Curl Up

We live in bi-polar times.

Or maybe I just feel bi-polar.

Some days, I have great and abiding hope for the genius and heart that I see displayed by the positive, forward thinking leaders who emerge with solutions for the times we are in. Gasoline from algae? Yes! Oyster mushrooms to clean up the gulf? Yes! Other countries have pulled their heads out of their butts? Yes!

And then the pendulum swings, and things like this leave me feeling CRAZY. Or anything on this page. Watching my government gridlock, gears grinding in a not so funny version of Modern Times. Fanatics are taking the stage and people are listening to them. Am I a fanatic too?

On days like today I am. I am a fanatic about my daughter. About her right, and the right of all children, to a beautiful and sustainable life. I am a fanatic about good, healthy, accessible food. I am a fanatic about the preservation, nay, the reintroduction of, natural systems. On days like today I feel like I woke up in a bad dream, where I wonder why we squander our human potential on the perpetuation of war, distraction and consumption. And it feels like it is all speeding up. Where are we headed? And I mean AFTER the winter solstice of 2012, where the clock will tick silently on and we will realize that we can’t wait for the magical Mayans to save our ass.

In the meantime, in an effort to unplug more, I am re-adopting a slower way of entertaining myself. The world of literature. It has been so long since I read fiction consistently, definitely not like I did as a kid, where, if I wasn’t eating, sleeping or studying I had my nose in a book. I pick up the occasional recommendation from a friend, but otherwise, when I go to a bookstore, I am overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity of authors and new publications.

What have you enjoyed reading lately? Any suggestions are welcome! While I am not trying to bury my head in the sand, I also do need downtime to counteract the bombardment of our planetary crisis. Ok, so I am burying my head…in the delicious smell that can only be found in the pages of a book.

Here are some captures from our Monday walk on San Bruno:

Can you spot the hidden bunny?
The last of the spring wildflowers are blooming and I finally found my favorite. Owls Clover. Do you see why it is aptly named? Oh, herro der.

(Fern’s awesome new poncho courtesy of Grandma Timmins.)

So lay it on me. Watcha readin?


21 thoughts on “Curl Up

    1. hi jaime, thank you for posting!

      oh, watership down is so wonderful. i haven’t read it since i was a kid, that could be fun to do again! and i haven’t read any of the little house series…i could buy them for fern and then preview. 😉 thank you.

  1. I’m reading a few things right now:
    Cruddy (one of my favorite books ever)
    Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
    Moby Dick

    Recently read:
    Geek Love
    Another Roadside Attraction
    About a Boy
    The Sun Also Rises

    I recommend all of these books, if there’s any here you haven’t read.
    Also I recently re read The Fledgling which is still one of my favorites that YOU introduced me to many years ago.

    1. ooo, there are several there i haven’t read…i will try cruddy since it is your favorite. and i love that you remember the fledgling….it’s one of my favorites too and i still have my childhood copy to give to fern. thanks julia! love you. xoxo

  2. I just started the known world. The one David insisted INSISTED I read. 2004 pulitzer. U know how u liked the fluffy cuddly ending of water, I had the same reactionand I told David that I wanted to read more books that left me happy and not sad. So he said for the thirteen hundredth time. The known world. I hope u can find this one used. Edward p jones I think. We could be in a book club. Can’t wait for our movie date. I’m gonna win you free tickets to fly out here at the preschool raffle next month. Yep. Gonna win.

    1. ha ha! yes! i will arrive with a carry-on suitcase full of movie snacks!

      good, the known world, perfect….i need those warm fuzzy endings right now too. i was trying to remember what you had suggested when i was at the book store but couldn’t recall. we could totally be in a book club! i’ve never done anything like that but think it has the potential to be wonderful.

  3. i just read ursula le guin’s collection “the birthday of the world”. it was somewhat unintentional, as i have so many other things to do, but as is always the case with ursula le guin, once i start i find it hard not to keep returning and returning. there are lots of great stories in the book, i think you might particularly like the final one.

  4. Currently reading Time Spiral. Next up, Planar Chaos. If you like Fantasy books, Magic The Gathering’s got a lot of trilogy books for you.

  5. Haven’t read it but friends reading it now really recommend Water for Elephants. I always like to read ’em before I see the movie, and the movie is out right now.

      1. i second those recs….one of my altime favorite excerpts from a book is from an american childhood.

        i hope you were curlin up today.

  6. Oooh! It’s so fun to come back with so many wondrous posts to read! I have to go but I just had to chime in on a favorite topic ;D

    I’ve been feeling the same, limiting my internets time, and having at least two days a week completely free from it. When you’re pinched for time, its important to do things that you find nourishing and fulfilling, rather than soul-drenching, or just entertainment which leaves you oddly empty.

    I heartily agree on the Little House series. It’s so well written that grown-ups will enjoy it just as much as kiddos.

    And I’m just re-reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and love it.

    I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately (so much so that I’m thinking of doing a post) and my favorites have been The Last Child In The Woods, Gary Snyder’s Essays, The Golden Spruce, 12 By 12, In Dark Wood. The Good Life is a wondrous read and I always go back to it. I just started The Refuge that Sara gave me and it’s amazing.

    As for fiction I always recommend The Shipping News, The Virgin Suicides, Our Lady Of The Forest and Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson, Karen Russell and Lauren Groff are wonderful, fantastical story tellers of a younger generation and Amber gave me a copy of Cold Mountain which I also just started and I can already tell I will love it.

    Sorry, I could go on and on.

  7. I’m still swooning over The Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball. Also Farm City, while not as lyrically gorgeous, is an interesting read from your neck of the woods. I second the rec.’s on Annie Dillard. Also, Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams is a gorgeous read on birds and women and cancer.

  8. hello, i’m new here (found you through milla) and have been immensely enjoying your posts on wildcrafting. i am completely inspired to start foraging these gold country hills and i’ve already started in my own backyard and down by the river! not much luck yet (i’m intimidated and nervous although i enjoy identifying wildflowers) and your posts have really helped me gather confidence!

    books are my favorite topic! i wanted to second the recommendations of annie dillard; she is one of my favorite writers and perfect for a naturalist who trips out on the bounty of the natural world and the strange and hopefully wondrous potential of humans and other creatures here on earth. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is one of my favorite books and even though it’s nonfiction reads as gracefully as fiction. and right now i’m just finishing up her novel The Maytrees which is satisfying to my soul. her writing isn’t easy but is so nourishing.

    i also highly recommend Terry Tempest Williams. and for more fictional fun, i love Louise Erdrich among so many others.

    again, thanks for your beautiful work here. talk about nourishing 🙂

    1. hi heather! i’ve peeked over at you at moonshine before and love the way you cherish your ancestral heritage and the joy with which you share…it leaps out from your smile! i’m so glad you said hello.

      thank you for seconding the recommend of a. dillard. i had never heard of her before, but after all the accolades, i decided to get pilgrim at tinker crk…and i am blown away. i’m going to share more about that later this week. i feel like she’s recommended reading for a secret club. 😉

      good luck with foraging! it’s scary at first, but gets easier, i promise! pretty soon, nature will look like a supermarket. i hope you’ll let me know of any fun finds you make! xoxo

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