Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Food, clothing, shelter

I thank my daughter Mo for this quote from Houses and Gardens, Arts and Craft Interiors, published 1906  by M. H. Baillie Scott:
A house too may possess that strange inscrutable quality of the True Romance.  Not shallow, showy, and pretentious as most modern mansions are, but full of a still, quiet earnestness which seems to lull and soothe the spirit with promises of peace.  Such a house is the greatest achievement possible to the art of man better than the greatest picture, because it is not a dream alone, but the dream come true - a constant daily influence and delight.
This evening we fly to Ireland for our 31st summer in the cottage on the hill over Dingle Bay. Eighteen by thirty-six feet. Perfect for two people, with that "inscrutable quality of the True Romance." What more does one need? Oh yeah, there's my little writing studio buried in the hill. Even True Romance needs a bit of private space.

The older I get, the more I realize how little one needs to sustain the spirit. Food, clothing and shelter, of course, but those things best nourish the spirit when they are simple and natural and sustainable. I'm no Luddite. I need my four jet flights a year, I've grown attached to the internet, and you'll have to wrench my MacBook from my dying hands. But when the tar balls start washing up on our Gulf Stream-washed Irish beach, I hope not too many will have my name on them.

(I never know what we'll find there for an internet connection. It may be a few days before I am back here.)