UD’s Cousin Karen as Miss Prism…

… in The Importance of Being Earnest.

Some town wag…

… has placed a flamboyance of flamingos in Garrett Park’s Porcupine Woods.

As seen on UD‘s morning walk. She’s back from Harpers Ferry, having taken the MARC train to get there and the Amtrak from Chicago (an hour late) to get back.

It’s an insanely busy Saturday in town – there’s the farmer’s market, a plant swap (UD has nothing to swap, but would like to take, if they’ll let her), yard sales everywhere, etc. If you’re local, it’s a good day to see GP.

Off for a short trip to Harpers Ferry.

Trying to get there via the MARC train that stops right by UD’s house. We’ll see if this works. Will try to blog from there.

The view as you open UD’s front door on a rainy Monday morning.

We have memorial bookshelves.

This is the one for my mother, Mitzi Rapp, a historian.

The Woods So Wild.


Bird cage brought back from Bali. On a rainy Sunday morning.

Garrett Park Farmer’s Market…
… this morning.

Time to make your bid…

… for one of the Soltans’ Fangors. Bonham’s auction, May 15, New York City. (Scroll down to Lot 7 here.)

Details when you enlarge the image.

Peonies, Day Four
Here they are after a brief, violent storm yesterday afternoon. It left picturesque raindrops all over them.

Also seen all over town on this morning’s walk: Political signs. Details of the pitched battle for town council here. One sign – très Garrett Park – features first name only and an allusion to the trains that run through town. Indeed this candidate is a self-professed choochoophile who bought a house near the tracks so he could hear freight being hauled all the time.

I would have designed the poster with the train pulling in the same direction as the dynamically rendered PHIL. As it is, he seems not on track, but rather at odds with himself.

Morning fog; deer; downed trees chopped and ready to be dragged into the woods.
Their silhouettes in the fog are elegant. UD‘s backyard is way primeval.

A wealth of globed peonies…

abounds along UD‘s early morning Garrett Park walks. She’s been following one planting in particular (see photograph a few posts below this one) as “the fist of a bud / sprung into petals” begins to do its petaling thing. So here’s a picture of the same peonies twenty-four hours after that first picture.

Just beginning to unfold. Loosening their green sheathes.

The Park Ascending

Garrett Park wakes up, and UD watches it happen on today’s walk.

Food supply trucks begin to arrive at Black Market Bistro. So that Garrett Parkers need not spend one day bereft of excellently prepared fresh seafood.
Foreground and middle distance, Snowball Viburnum (I think), in Porcupine Woods (the porcupine — as in Don’t Tread on Me — is the town mascot).

As UD walked along Strathmore Avenue, a big red fox slowly crossed in front of her, gazing at your blogeuse the entire time. Two families in town keep chickens, and a neighbor told me the other day that a fox got into one of the henhouses and went to town.

Snapshots from Home

Two images from this morning’s walk through Garrett Park.

Peonies, in a little public green planted and maintained by Garrett Parkers, about to bloom.
One of my favorite GP houses: stylish weathered fence; teeming with woodland plants. See how the house blends into its setting rather than destroying the setting and being a vile mcmansion.

Green on Green on Green.
Chez UD, this evening.

Candidates’ Forum, Garrett Park, Maryland

UD‘s dinky but massively over-educated town (UD has often thought the town should take its motto from The Importance of Being Earnest — a slightly revised version of Algernon’s If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated… Here it would be If I am geographically a little under-sized, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.) has a mayor and a town council, and there’s a real race for the council this year. Garrett Park’s YouTube channel features the candidates’ forum, which you might not find as engrossing as I do (I know almost all of the people featured in the video, and I’ve known some of them for fifty years), but I think it’s a pretty interesting slice of a certain sort of American life.

Civil discourse dominates, along with a really striking love of the town – its amazing trees and gardens, but also all the stuff it manages to pack into its tiny size – a post office, a popular restaurant, a train station, a town hall, three swimming pools, a farmer’s market, basketball courts, tennis courts, quite a few parks (another park’s on the way, because Laetitia Yeandle, who spent a long distinguished career at the Shakespeare Folger Library, has given the town her house and land) (and speaking of Laetitias and Earnest, my talented cousin Karen will be performing Miss Laetitia Prism in an upcoming production of Earnest, and if you’re local you should try to go because I KNOW this woman, and I know she was born to play Prism), an elementary school, a church… It’s quite a jewel, Garrett Park, and some residents really don’t take to making any changes.

References throughout the forum to sidewalks refer to the anger some townspeople have expressed over GP having scored a big grant to add sidewalks to some of its streets. Although most people agree they improve safety (with very little traffic and a beautiful setting, GP is jammed with pedestrians, cyclists, etc.), some think sidewalks are out of keeping with GP’s natural, lightly-paved, character… And I can understand this, though I don’t agree – I can understand because I grew up across the street from Wells Park (I now live down the street from it) and I recall being upset years ago when Park and Planning paved a path into the park. I sort of knew I was overreacting and being irrational, but that park had always been open land with swing sets and now…

Fact is ol’ UD has responded with some alarm to virtually all changes in town, and yet she now loves and appreciates the changes. They were made by the sort of people running for council (although all the candidates at the forum are men, another member of the council is a woman, and the mayor is a woman) – judicious, intelligent, hard-working. Most of these volunteers have full-time jobs as … well, lawyers… I mean, some are engineers or architects (those, along with the odd CPA, are the best sort of council members, because they actually know how certain things work), but I guess traditionally most have been lawyers. One of the people running this year owns Founding Farmers restaurants plus other enterprises and must be insanely busy; but his heart seems to be in his work on the council.

I liked in particular one thing this guy – Dan Simons – said at the forum. A citizen asked a question about citizen participation in the workings of the town – she acknowledged that by any standard our little town boasts huge numbers of serious volunteers (UD for years, as you know, attended and reported on town council meetings for the GP paper, The Bugle; and Mr UD was a town council member himself), but she still found bothersome the fact that plenty of other citizens don’t volunteer. “They don’t even know we have a mayor and a town council!”

Simons said that the town does a lot and might do even more to draw people in to the business of running it, but: “When I first moved here I had two little kids, start-up businesses, and other responsibilities, and I had no time for any of that. It happens when the time is right; and for some people it’s never right, and I think that’s okay. Some people just want to live here.”

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