“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald
The above quote from The Great Gatsby is just what I had in mind while (methodically) cleaning out my desk drawers earlier today upon watching this video:
What can I say, sometimes I’m easily influenced. Especially when it comes to Rajiv Surendra, who first came on my radar when I saw inside his home in this HGTV video (some of you will remember him as the math nerd ‘Kevin G’ from Mean Girls). After you’ve watched back-to-back Rajiv content it’ll come as no surprise that he was nicknamed Martha Stewart on the film’s set for, among his many talents, knitting and pottery. I love how he embodies the aesthetic life: the attention and care he gives to everything he does, from arranging a bunch of flowers to packing a gift to turning down his bed.
A Bedroom in Bernstorff Palace near Copenhagen, Johan Vilhelm Gertner, ca. 1845
What makes a thing or place precious, how does the mind accord status and significance to what, when, and why somehow reminded me of this G. K. Chesterton quote:
“It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Pimlico; in that case he will merely cut his throat or move to Chelsea. Nor, certainly, is it enough for a man to approve of Pimlico; for then it will remain Pimlico, which would be awful. The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Pimlico; to love it with a transcendental tie and without any earthly reason. If there arose a man who loved Pimlico, then Pimlico would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles… If men loved Pimlico as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is theirs, Pimlico in a year or two might be fairer than Florence… Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”
Went for a hike recently and saw this rare jewel of a bird in the forest: the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca). I am not a birder by any stretch, but living three feet away from a jungle has made me quite literally wake up to birdsong and the beauty of the winged species. Relatedly, my neighbour introduced me to Merlin, a really cool app developed at Cornell. Today’s bird was a small minivet.
Speaking of birds, I’m putting together a Boxwalla list of non-fiction books for people who purportedly don’t ‘do’ or ‘get’ non-fiction. And Matt Kracht’s book is the kind of unexpectedly delightful, genre-defying stuff I hope to crowd this list with.
Reciprocity by Wisława Szymborska