A Quick Dispatch from the Maine International Film Festival

Since Sunday, we have seen six movies—with one, “The Children Act,” being superb. We have eaten pizza, nachos, and gelato, not at the same time, of course. We’ve had margaritas. And we are only halfway through. What a week! 


Of Flowers and Movies

Mid-July in central Maine. For the past week, the weather has been everything it ought to be. (Well, almost everything. We sure could use some rain.) The daytime temps are about 80°F, perfect summer weather. At night, it dips to 60°F, so cool that we don’t need fans, and blankets feel very good.

My gardens, known more for their cool green rather than for their profusion of color, are dotted here and there with flowers that tolerate some shade.

My favorite daylily is in bloom. Alas, I don’t know its name.

To the delight of the hummingbirds, the bee balm has come into bloom. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get a picture of one of those whirring beauties by a flower. (Quercus, I know how much you love hummingbirds. I’ll keep trying.)

One of my favorite small hostas—Blue Mouse Ears—is in bloom.

But along with flowers and sun, something else comes to central Maine in mid-July—movies, and lots of them, at the Maine International Film Festival in Waterville (MIFF). MIFF is a big event for Waterville and central Maine. Every year we look forward to it and see movies we never would see anywhere else, even at Railroad Square, our favorite art cinema.

Our daughter Dee, a keen moviegoer, always comes to Maine for the festival. She will be arriving tomorrow and will be staying until Sunday, July 22.

As is the case when any guest comes, there has been a flurry of cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping. I’ve made and frozen chickpea patties for a quick lunch or supper. This afternoon, I made a batch of curried lentils. Tomorrow, chocolate chip cookies.

Then it’s off to the movies. The first one we’ll be seeing is called Fake Tattoos, a movie from Quebec, which has a vibrant film industry.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting next week, but I might slip in a few pictures of this or that and some words to go with them.

For nearby friends, maybe I’ll see you at the movies.



In the Cool of the Garden

Still. Everything is quiet in the hot afternoon sun. The birds are hiding in the deep shadows of the woods, and only occasionally do I hear one call. The little boy next door has stopped running, yelling, and playing. No squirrel chitters, no chipmunk squeaks. Barely a car goes by. People are already where they want or need to be.

Meanwhile, in the cool of the garden, that brute of a hosta—Frances Williams—blooms.

Minerva, the little cat, waits until nighttime, when she can romp in the dark, and no one will see her.

Except for the small bird, who watches and waits, ready to take off at a moment’s notice.

No matter the temperature, the garden is a mysterious place.




Heat, Color, and Making the World a Better Place

At last the rain has come, and the temperature has dropped to 75° Fahrenheit. A big relief. But the rest of the week was so hot and so uncomfortable that today I feel a little woozy, as though I’m recovering from the flu. We have no air conditioning in our house—in the past, we’ve never needed it—but if this hot trend continues, we might have to reconsider.

Though it was hot, we had our Fourth of July gathering. While we didn’t solve the problems of the world, we did have this luscious ice-cream cake that Alice made and brought. How good it was!

Despite the heat, my gardens are looking good. Most of my plants are very hardy, and I hand water when it is needed. As I’ve written previously, because we live in the woods, I’ve finally given up on the notion of having gardens with bursts of flowers. Instead, I’ve succumbed to hostas, which have their own quiet charm. However, as this picture indicate, there is a bit of yellow to liven up the green of the hostas.

And a few astilbes, too.

Out back, where there is a bit more sun, we have a little more color—some orange to go with the yellow, and I really like the way the flowers look against my blue fountain.

Here is a closer look at the lilies.

Finally, I want to let my blogging friends know how much I appreciate your understanding about why I feel down in the dumps about this country. Near or far, I feel as though I have found a group of kindred spirits, who, through your writing and your philosophy, make this world a better place.

Many, many thanks!

Too Hot, Too Hot

Right now it is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Time seems to have slowed to the point where I can actually feel the seconds pass one by one. My energy level is so low that all I can do is lie on the couch and wait for the backyard to be in shade so that I can go outside. Too hot, too hot.


The Better Angels of Our Nature

Right now, in this country, the better angels of our nature appear to have fled. I know our country has gone through worse times, but never in my own memory have we ripped children from their parents and put them in cages. It’s gotten to the point where I hardly know how to respond anymore, which I suppose is a sort of victory to those who hate, holler, and rage against those who are a different color. Who are seeking asylum.  Who are poor. Who are struggling with addiction. Who are mentally ill. Who don’t fit into the narrow confines of what is acceptable to a small but vocal group.

Compassion and generosity, two humble virtues, seem to be in short supply right now in a country that has become addicted to anger. I’ve seen this anger first hand in Maine, and I have certainly seen it on TV, all the way to the highest office in the land. Where will it lead? When will it end? While anger is a human emotion, left unchecked it can be very destructive. This is true even when the anger is “righteous,” which is why so many revolutions become blood baths.

This is all a preamble to writing about our nation’s birthday, a national holiday and celebrated tomorrow on July 4. We are having a few friends over for Clif’s legendary grilled bread—and other goodies—but neither of us is exactly in a hip, hip, hooray kind of mood.

The lovely lady in New York Harbor, who has welcomed so many, is surely filled with sorrow and shame.

But after all, a birthday is a birthday. So happy birthday, United States. Here’s to better times. May they come soon.

A blog about nature, home, community, books, writing, the environment, food, and rural life.