Summer fare

This morning we got up a little after dead low tide and managed to wade out in time to inspect our mussel transplants. We found 7 of the batches we spread over the cove and they seemed to be OK despite the gleaming half shells scattered around the clumps. A few weeks ago I had inspected the sites from above during a mid-tide snorkeling expedition when I only saw the open shells.

Some of the clumps appeared to have expanded into a wider area, around the corner of a rock. Maybe the mussels have the same rule as we, humans have: when there are more than a certain number it’s time for a group to split off and wander away. The wandering wasn’t as far as we would like, but it is a good start.

We also found some other things: several large crabs with big holes bored into their underbellies, two sea urchins (long gone missing from our cove), also with similar large holes, and a dead seal pup on the beach, about one and a half foot long, ready to stink up our beach. The latter, I am afraid, an unpleasant project for the day before the stink gets too bad.

It’s been a time of good music and good company and good food –three critical ingredients for a fabulous summer. I might have been in South Africa (an earlier trip was scheduled from July 5 till mid August) and I am grateful that I am here instead.

On Thursday, after a busy week in the office and three long and hot commutes home I found Axel ready with the picnic basket to head out to Castle Hill for the Thursday evening ‘music on the lawn’ series.  It has become a summer ritual on days free of rain and thunder. Tessa is a regular, always with friends and we meet up with our friends. It is lovely. We sit on the second hill by the statue, our meeting point. We spread our blankets and settle down for a pleasant, not entirely bug free, lounge on the lawn while live music plays on the steps of the big house, far enough away so that we can actually talk.

Friday at noon we headed out to one of the farms that is cultivated by a wonderful project, the Food Project, now in its 20th year. We had participated in a fundraiser by paying a lot extra for our Cirque du Soleil tickets back in June and are now on a mailing list. I don’t mind being on this mailing list because this is a most wonderful project.

We happily accepted the invitation to one of their ‘community lunches,’ where the kids, from places as far apart as Nahant, Marblehead, Lynn, Beverly and Revere, were learning about how food grows, what is healthy food, and to work in harmony with kids that come from completely different backgrounds.  We sat at a table with teenagers from Revere, Lynn and Beverly and heard how the program was transforming them into responsible citizens and adults. It was most inspiring to see them interact with adults and present themselves with confidence. If I wasn’t already engaged in something meaningful, this is where I would go to find meaning,

Friday night we headed out to Cambridge to P’s house. P is always surrounded by interesting young people, more so than we are, simply because they all live in her house. It keeps her young, I am sure. We had a delightful meal and then headed out to the Lizard Lounge where the young folk seem to hang out or work.

Club d’Elf was playing, a jazz ensemble that defied (my) description. At first I thought they were tuning (I am embarrassed to admit) but then I got it as they worked themselves up into up and down spiraling cadences of musical encounters between the various instrument/player pairs. Halfway through I walked up closer to watch how they communicated with each other, musicians talking with each other through their instruments. Amazing! The base player was the ring leader, using his instrument as a conductor’s baton.

The ensemble started after my usual bedtime which was a little trying for me. I am not an evening/night person. Nevertheless I managed to stay awake through one never-ending set and the long drive home.

Aside from all these wonderful things happening towards the end of the week, and the great start with Sita, Faro and Jim being at our house, another good thing happened at work.

On Tuesday when I was given the green light to move in with a dear and longtime colleague who is in an office with windows and light and river views. This is the same place where I started when I returned from Kabul but was booted out soon after to be miserable and depressed in a shared small windowless office. Being in an office with natural light lifted my spirits more than I had imagined possible. And with that came a lift in my energy level for my job. Amazing, how that works.

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