Tuesday, July 12, 2011

0neArt - Midtrip

One Art
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
-- 3lizabeth Bish0p

I stayed in the above's childhood home. It was an 165 year old house - cobbled together over several lifetimes, as time and money allowed. The rooms were small and warren-like, but very charming. This retreat has been owned by the "consortium" as a retreat since 2004. Prior to that it was home to a distant family member of said poet for over 50 years. The stairs were the narrowest and the steepest I'd ever encountered. Unfortunately, I did not take a single picture of the place. It was not grand, nor fancy, nor museum-like in any way - but it did feel homey and comfortable.

The whole experience there was interesting. Talia's co-consortia member is an independent scholar. I heard someone describe her as "making a living out of air". She is very well educated and absolutely devoted to "the cause" - of furthering the mission of the poet and her works. She was recently interviewed on the Canadian equivalent of the BBC about her work and recent book - a biography of sorts of the poet. Of which, I now have a copy. Prior to the trip, I'd also read a good deal of the poet's work (she was not prolific) and it was very interesting to put the actual place to the work. I actually had the option of sleeping in HER room, but chose the larger bed :-) But anyway, I was intrigued to view a woman of my approximate age, who eschewed all of what is considered normal for women, to devote herself to her calling. Of course, it was not the life for me, but I do admire her dedication and her ability to do this for quite literally years.

I fell ill on this trip - wicked allergy attack at the end of my first full day in Halifax that quickly morphed into something upper respiratory. Luckily, the meds and laws are different in Canada, so I popped into a pharmacy, spoke with a pharmacist and he recommended something that got me back on track after a couple of days. Talia's husband teased me that because during my first walk through the very gorgeous Public Gardens, that I'd stuck my nose into every flower in the place, and he's close to being right. So for the next couple of days, I didn't participate in a full day's activities - I'd opted out of some of the evenings and stayed at home and read. One of the poet's fans is also an author and left this book in the library.

I quite enjoyed the book, which was set in Nova Scotia and I read it during my "down time". There were some similarities between the themes in the book and those in the poet's own life (not the author's). Highly recommend.

Our late evenings consisted of sitting around the kitchen table, noshing on various local foods. The strawberries were in season and one day we went to a working farm, where this is produced. That Damned Dutchman produces some damned fine cheese. We chased down more of this - it appeared on some menus in Halifax! Great stuff. I'd love a bit of it now. Blue gouda. Yummy. Oh, and ketchup flavored potato chips! Who knew? Oh, and I also tried and loved - dulce. Who knew?

The time at the house was leisurely - with daily visits to the bay, being either "at home" or "away". If the tide is out, it is said that the Bay of Fundy is away. Away is big in Nova Scotia - The Piper asked if I was "from away".


  1. Glad you're enjoying your trip, illness and all! ♥ I've never been a potato chip eater - sweet usually wins over salty for me - but ketchup chips are an exception. They're sold almost everywhere in Connecticut but they aren't available in Chicago, so I'm lucky on that one!

  2. See? Just another reason to visit Nederland. Amazing cheese. Gouda is a 30 minutes drive from us, and we love to show visitors the weekly cheese market in the old town square (Thursdays June-August). Most beautiful Sint Janskerk, longest in The Netherlands and amazing stained glass windows. Then there's quaint little Edam. Don't get me started...


We'll try this for a while.