Friday, January 1, 2010

Brand new year, same old resolution


Hey, I never said I was a regular post-er. But the new year brings with it a renewed promise (to myself) to blog every day, at one site or another of the half dozen or so I have a hand (at this point, a pinky finger) in.

It's not like I haven't been accumulating months' worth of potential posts all this time. Case in point, I've spent the last year reading the appropriate month's chapter of Henry Mitchell essays, something I intend to keep doing for at least the next two years, since he has at least two more books organized by month. (Is that wording clear? The concept is, these wonderful, laugh-out-loud-funny collections of the late, legendary writer's "Earthman" columns for the Washington Post are organized into 12 chapters apiece, allowing the reader to experience them by season. "January" thus contains essays like "In Winter's Adversity, the Hardy Gardener Flourishes," while "December" wraps up with "In Gardening, Timing is Key," which anticipates the annual bloomtimes of snowdrops and other spring bulbs.) So there's plenty to read even when the action outside has slowed down. I love this as an organizing principle, and am beginning to wish more books were laid out according to the calendar. Perhaps I'd even read notoriously long ones if I had a plan to follow.

On New Year's Eve I finished On Gardening, and on New Year's Day I started One Man's Garden. They are every bit as entertaining (and sometimes actually informative) as I'd heard. In theory, I'd be sharing the many thoughts inspired by these marvelous columns as they occur to me, but no such luck, at least with book one.

Brutal honesty is best, is it not? That's one takeaway from Mitchell--he never hesitates to admit when some brilliant horticultural goal of his has failed miserably. So instead, I'll quote the last line of OG, which has a kind of New Years resolution feel to it:

The great trick, I am now sure, is to flow with the tide.

Which is exactly what I strive to do, in cyberspace, in the garden, in my library, and everywhere else. Happy 2010 to you and yours.

1 comment:

EAL said...

I read The Essential Earthman last summer and loved it--enjoyed his un-PC attitudes toward vegetable growing and urban trees, but really he's just a great, funny writer.