Now, Jeff and I are charming enough in ourselves, but I mainly think we get this invitation because our collected children play so beautifully together. So beautifully, that the adults are actually able to enjoy a deckside cocktail at sundown with a good prospect of not being interrupted once.
The enjoyments here are many. There’s the hiking, though admittedly, I am the least eager of the family on that score. I don’t like heights and tend to react with unembarrassed outrage whenever Martha takes me on some route that involves climbing an iron ladder over a 2000-foot drop into the Atlantic Ocean. There’s the kayaking, too, though, admittedly, I am the most ham-fisted plyer of an oar anywhere on this side of the continent. In a warm-water year like this one, there’s the swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. Now that is something I am really good at, though admittedly in a middle-aged way that trades speed for sheer ability to stay afloat and padding over a long distance.
And there is the cooking. Martha and Tom are both great cooks, and since I am used to flying solo in the kitchen, I am inspired to complete heights of Julia Child-dom when I’m only required to make a dish or two out of five.
The one thing there is none of here is gardening. I’m in the middle of a pine forest on the ocean. It needs no ornament, and there are no vegetables. Meanwhile, back home, I know my vegetable garden is reaching a crescendo. I worry, in fact, that the pole beans are all going to seed, sending a signal to the vines to stop producing because they are not being picked. I worry that the zucchini bushes are all producing post-sized squashes and again, signaling the plant that there’s no need to keep making those nice, tasty little ones. I worry that my wonderful tomatoes are now rotting on the vine.
If I didn’t have family and friends dragging me away, I’d never leave my garden at this time of year, no matter what was on offer. And that’s why it’s good to have family or old friends. They keep you from becoming a prisoner of your own obsessions. The world is wide, there are other pleasures in it besides gardening, and sometimes we gardeners just need to have that pointed out to us.