Tag Archive: explore

High-Acreage Curiosity

I’m getting ready to take Putney (my dog, for those who haven’t met him) to Camp Clough (AKA my parents) for the summer. I’m leaving soon for 20 days, part of which is a liturgy conference at Yale.

I’m expecting a house guest for two nights, immediately before departing. I haven’t had an overnight guest for months, and the guest room is the staging area for storing winter clothes and disposal of things I no longer need.

Behind my piano is a pile of music: ten volumes of piano rags and French romantic chansons from the Chicago Public Library, a tote bag of choral octavos from Ellen Fisher, a borrowed collection of Schubert piano duets.

Behind my couch is a basket of issues of Maine: the Magazine, Vermont Life, National Geographic, unread, awaiting reading.

My refrigerator is packed full, most of its contents a large collection of sauces, relishes and other accompaniments I’ve picked up in stores trading in local and artisan foods. They keep well, but get used in exceedingly small quantities. On the kitchen shelves is a similar collection of unopened toppings. There are five jars of different kinds of mustard from Raye’s <www.rayesmustard.com> in Eastport, ME . One is open.

Mustard jars

I live alone.

And then there are the books.

A friend of mine popped his head in my office last week, and said, “It looks like a dorm room.”

Scattered about therein are more books and scores.

I need to say right now that I am NOT a collector. In my twenties, I realized that the few collections I had collected for the sake of having collections brought me no joy. There was remorse for spending money on things that had no utility. I committed to no more collecting. No thimbles, no bone china plates of exotic places. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

In tidying for my guest’s arrival and my departure, I see the problem, arising from my being a curious person. Working with a life coach <www.purposeatwork.com> a few years ago, I articulated a life purpose that is, briefly, to guide others to uncover their own curiosity to lead them to discovery and learning. My life purpose grows out of my own attitude. I find meaning and joy in vacuuming up experiences, then letting them shape my perspective and choices. I thrive on exceptional sensory experiences. Five jars of mustard could tell you that (actually, there are seven jars, but only five from Raye’s) with a translator.

The musical scores, the magazines, the Mason jars. These are containers for experiences. They gather around me, offering adventures. But they compete with each other for my time and energy, and my space. They conflict with my desire to simplify, to live more like the Shakers I visited a few summers ago.

I am immensely blessed to know that curiosity will never, ever let me be bored in this too-short life.

But it’s taking up a lotta space in my apartment!


When enough people had said, “You should blog about that”, I began slipping slowly into a pop-author-like delirium. Of course, the only logical next step was… to buy a book about blogging.

Weeks passed. Months. No blog.

I bought another book about blogging.

Still no blog. *sigh*

Casual descriptions of my dream to cultivate cultural curiosity by offering food-forward active adventures to a curious clientele prompt responses like, “If you offer a trip like that, I’ll go!” and “Sign me up.” Launching an international tour business from the organ bench seems like a logistical impossibility (one lacks time and money enough to support it, and how does one learn not to be an organist?).

Poppa never traveled much. Nana refused, for the most part, and after she departed this earthly life, although travel became more possible for him, there were still limits imposed by seasickness and pteromechanophobia. Mostly, the armchair was the vehicle of choice. Tickets for passage, foreign and domestic, could be found in magazines, books, television shows, supplemented by occasional car trips with family and frequent self-guided ramblings around Central New York.

I hold my Poppa in high esteem. “Why go, when one can blog?” “Blog” spelled backward is “go[lb]”. Drop the last two letters, and find your mandate: Go when you can; the rest of the time, blog.

I remember Winnie-the-Pooh and friends went on “explores” and “expotitions”, and, since the two Pooh collections are my most enduringly-beloved books, I think that perhaps Christopher Robin’s adventures infected me with wanderlust from childhood. I go on an “expotition” through the books, looking for an emblematic “explore” to illuminate my mission to my readers. Success eludes me.

Next time: The Revelation of 18 Pockets