All News & Blogs
Visit the Photo Place
Barbara Holland (1933-2010), a native Washingtonian, moved to Bluemont in Loudoun County in 1993 and in short order wrote "Endangered Pleasures: In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences." A manifesto for enjoying the unsung--or plain disreputable--joys of life, the book was an answer to the deathless, host-hopping Puritan spirit that has possessed religious crusaders and feminists, fitness fanatics and suburban planners, vegans and environmentalists, ascetics and abstainers, and all the other grim tribes whose purpose is to make us feel bad about feeling good.
THE CHINESE, who seem to have spent thousands of years sitting around thinking up sage proverbs, have one that says, sagely, "If you would be happy for a week, take a wife; if you would be happy for a month, kill your pig; but if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden."
Another piece of pleasure on the endangered list, at least in America; England still bursts into roses, but who here has time for all that puttering? Life is busy, life is structured, and when we aren't working we ought to be partaking of what's called "active leisure," an oxymoron if ever I heard one.
Real estate ads refer glowingly to low- or zero-maintenance "landscaping." The old-time summer evening pastime of strolling the sidewalks to admire the neighbors' gardens is thinly rewarded these days. The neighbors may have set out a row of zinnias and marigolds and hired a reliable service to cut the grass and clip the hedge; they may even raise some tomatoes out back; but they haven't the time for the luxuriant burgeoning of Grandmother's day. (Heaven knows where Grandmother found the time. Perhaps by avoiding active leisure.)
The very rich still have gardens, sometimes open to the public once a year in a charitable cause, but they don't go out and dig in them; half the hired help would give notice if they interfered.
PUT OFF PROFESSIONALISM