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.


  1. I feel this pain every July, when we leave for a week for the Carolina shore. it is essential R&R, but I hate missing the fresh early summer garden (and its needs) for even a week.

    But summer is for beaches and Maine cabins too, not just gardening.

  2. What a wonderful sounding vacation spot…and I agree about the height thing…maybe gardeners are too into the ground to want to hang over thin air? Anyway, after being away most of two weeks myself, I really enjoyed your point of view…I worried about all the same things. And I did worry a little about becoming unable to leave…prisoner of our obsessions is a good way to phrase it. It’s good to stop and get a grip!

  3. Not me. I live in Maine, so I get to stay home in my pjs on my vacations. (No tourists in my yard, either — bonus!)

    As for swimming, the last record I saw of ocean temperature was somewhere in the 60s — not very far over hypothermia level. A half-hour walk at the beach leaves your toes pink from the cold.

  4. Oh, I would be so torn, too! Though all the why’s of this particular getaway sound fabulous. (I’d really love a set of cooking friends myself, and not seeing the kid for hours would also hold its charms. So color me envious.)

    But don’t worry. Those green beans will make lovely shell beans if they’re too mealy for you pod-wise; you can always shred your zucchs and I’m sure you can spare a tomato or two. Have fun.

  5. Well, firefly, I managed to spend a half hour at a time in Somesville Sound this year, something I’ve been unable to do in previous years.

    Martha suggested kindly that extra padding might have something to do with it.

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