By Julie Carpenter
To all the messy gardens I pass, the ones where the forsythia and quince have twisted around each other like jealous lovers who can’t let go, where the grass and daffodils have tangled themselves into a standoff, barely domesticated versus natural, at the base of dogwoods and fruit trees. To the little white farm house where the Carolina Jessamine is trying to pull off the garage door and crawl inside. To the one where the wheelbarrow is melting into rust at the back of the vegetable garden, abandoned in front of the blackberries, the old shovel swallowed by fugitive dill and basil. To the garden where the sweetheart rose has covered the privet and together they form a warren of caves, a fortress for a city of rabbits. To all these gardens, you have my love.
There’s something about the half-gone garden, the dreamy absentminded overgrowth, the mouldering restfulness, the way the vegetation eats away the hard lines of the sidewalks and driveways, the corners of sheds and houses that makes me want to crawl into them, into the rabbit tunnels, to lay on the soft green carpets of overgrown grass, to become small. There’s something dreamlike about the garden that’s halfway between domesticated and natural, fleabane, moss and dandelions creeping back in, waiting to see if they’re welcome, that makes me want to become a chipmunk or a rabbit in a Beatrix Potter book. Something that a fully domesticated garden can’t evoke.
I’m not sure what there is about the creeping moss and decay that fills me with odd longing. Such gardens are not destinations, they’re doorways into something half-wild, half-cozy, some sort of afterlife fantasy that’s hidden away at the bottom of my brain. As much as I fight the death of my own garden, I find it oddly appealing to watch nature eat someone else’s.
So, hats off to neglect and the ravages of time and encroaching nature. The beauty of it a comfort, the destination one I certainly share.
by Julie Carpenter
I was supposed to post something this morning, but I’ve been a little lost in unpacking. We are in the middle of a cross town move. This means, of course, that instead of sensibly packing all our things at once, we are moving in fits and starts, filling up plastic totes, odd boxes, and pillowcases with whatever we think we might need in the moment. This morning, for instance, I finally found the coffee pot in a laundry basket of socks. Don’t judge me, the socks were clean. The frying pan is still AWOL. Maybe I should check the box of cat toys or in my basket of garden tools that's sitting by the garage door.
All of this is somewhat beside the post I’m actually trying to write. The actual point is this. My crazy moving experience has been made somewhat more palatable by podcasts. They don’t require quite as much concentration as Audible books, which comes in handy when you’re trying to find the window guy’s business card under a box on which you’ve precariously stacked wine glasses. (I only broke one.)
Here’s what I like to ponder while I pack and unpack.
I will never tire of trying to figure out how some humans are so completely narcissistic that even the bodily integrity of other humans is meaningless to them.
My favorite is Last Podcast on the Left: Three guys, Marcus, Henry, and Ben try to add some comic relief to some of the worst cult and serial killer mayhem in modern history. A little levity can help you hang in there while you sift through the information and ponder the black depths of the human heart . Besides that, they often venture into alien abduction and cryptid stories, so you can take a breather now and again.
Other favorites are one-off, in-depth looks at specific cases.
Dirty John, Dr. Death, The Root of Evil, To Live and Die in LA, and Over My Dead Body
I would also like to know how and why people vote for humans who are so completely narcissistic that integrity of any kind seems meaningless to them.
My current top pick is Pod Save America. Some of Obama’s top former aides discuss politics and have meaningful, policy driven interviews with candidates. While you may not agree with all of their positions, the behind-the-scenes knowledge is very helpful in parsing current events.
There are some other political podcasts I like as well.
LPOTL host, Ben Kissel, hosts Abe Lincoln’s Top Hat. Pod Save the People, and Lovett or Leave It are part of Crooked Media, the company that produces Pod Save America.
I've become addicted to Show Me the Meaning. A group of friends, some of whom are in the movie industry, sit around and discuss the meaning of movies with each other. They discuss everything from feminism to videography.
A side benefit of this podcast is that I discovered Owls at Dawn, a philosophy podcast hosted by one of the regulars on SMTM. If you want to consider the high concepts behind West World or consider how hedonism affects modern society, this is your podcast. It gets a little deep, so maybe don't pull business cards out from under stacks of wineglasses when you listen to this one.
Here’s the thing, I have a lot of unpacking to do. And then even more painting and wall paper removal. What are some of your favorite podcasts? What should I listen to next and why? I would love to discover my next favorite podcast.
Readers, I need help. I’ll get to that in the end. But I’ll start with my last reading experience. I’m not someone who reads comics. Actually, I don’t remember ever reading all the way through any before, although I’ve glanced through some at some point. However, my addiction to the Netflix show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina led me to this one. This comic is actually the basis for the show, so when I found it, I had to pick it up.