Douglas Adams fans will understand why one of my favorite numbers is 42, and I just turned 42 a couple of days ago, on a blue moon no less! So I expect a lot out of this coming year. Bless you, Douglas Adams! Wherever you are now. To kick my next circumnavigation of the Sun off in the right direction, how about this: last week I renewed my drivers license with the same address for the first time in my life. Since I turned 16 I've never lived at one address for 5 years. OK, admittedly I still haven't. My 5 year Georgia drivers license started in Macon early in 2010, then moved to Tifton the following new year, and then to Ellijay 16 months after that. And OK, the remaining 39 months are also split roughly down the middle, when you consider the 3 month co-farming fiasco of fall '13, where we briefly lived at a different address (though we still owned our place and never changed the address on our IDs)! Yes, yes, the point is, it's the first time that's ever happened! As far as signs go, I think it's a good one ;p
But I have to dig my roots in deeper, of course. The upcoming decades might prove to be a rough time to be a rolling stone. And gathering moss is at the top of my to-do list. Just above planting apples, and peaches, and plums, and raspberries, and blueberries, and shiitakes, and, well, you get the idea. Make haste slowly. I have a hard time envisioning life on the road as adaptive in an era of volatile energy prices, contracting resources and budgets, and increasingly local economies. But hey, if riding the slide on a sailboat's your thing, bon voyage. Who am I to judge?
Speaking of plums, plums make me think of the late English author P.G. Wodehouse. I have a book, a really nice edition actually, called "The Plums of P.G. Wodehouse," who was, in my opinion, a brilliant social critic, all too willing to discuss the cultural landscape of an empire in decline. We'll be seeing more of that in the upcoming decades on this side of the Atlantic, too, I think. The Brits are just way ahead of us, on average, in coming to terms with contraction. Most people here in the States can't yet even entertain the idea that the period of explosive economic and technical (and growth!) growth - growth growth? yeah, why not, it fits - of the post WWII era (the official transfer of power from the British empire to the American one) in this country is temporary and self-terminating. Much less that we could already be firmly entrenched in the pattern of decline on the far side of the peak. Still, the great god Progress will no doubt think of something to reverse that trend, and lay waste to that pesky Second Law of Thermodynamics...
[Tongue, cheek, yes?]
Back to Wodehouse, over the years of being married to my amazing and Anglophilic wife I've become a big fan of the British ITV show Jeeves and Wooster from the early 90s, which was based on Wodehouse's writing. In one of my favorite episodes, Jeeves and Wooster find themselves in coastal Devonshire on Lammas Eve.
"Don't be out late tonight," the hotel manager admonishes the guests on their way to dinner, "Ol' Boggy walks on Lammas Eve."
That was the first I'd ever heard of "Lammas," But like the other quarter days, Lammas makes sense, has its place in the natural cycle, and recommends itself for observance, even if only because of its calendar position. But more than that, traditionally Lammas was the deadline for wheat deliveries to the baron. Then, as soon as the landlord was satisfied, it was also the Feast of August, always heavy on the bread from the recent wheat harvest, which had probably just replenished some pretty sad larders. It was a time to celebrate the grain harvest and the feeling of security a heaping helping of starvation insurance like that must have delivered to the village.
Today is Lammas, and with my birthday so close by, I feel a certain natural connection to it. If nothing else, it's a good excuse to keep my birthday celebration going for one more day! Yeehaw!! But you know, every year I get a little closer to a life that recognizes and appreciates things like Lammas, makes a special mead to tilt the next time it rolls around, and just rejoices in being alive and healthy. And well-friended. I am thankful.
Thanks for taking a little stroll down the virtual street with me.