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Down the Rabbit Hole

I’m ok with an occasional rabbit hole—as long as I know I’m on my way in and also, can see the light above me and can haul myself back out when it’s time. This past 15 months, there have been myriad rabbit holes urging me to “come on down”, many lurkng on the internet.

On New Year’s Eve before the dawning of 1983, fireworks spangled the sky. That night, they were doing more than celebrating another year. Those flashes of light presaged the internet as we’ve come to know it. Though the seeds had been sown in the ‘sixties, the internet took another twenty years to become the global network we know and love today. If we had known what was coming, would we have signed on for the ride?

I think so. I know I would. I made a Linzer Torte for a birthday celebration this week. After decoding half dozen recipes online, I started researching the history of the torte back to the 1600s in Austria. Down the proverbial rabbit hole, interesting and fun for me. Then I got curious about a Maxfield Parrish mosaic, The Dream Garden, which a California friend told me is here in Philadelphia. Thank you, Google, I now know Parrish was born in Philly in 1870; this mosaic was the only of his works he collaborated with Louis Tiffany to create; and it’s constructed of over 100,000 pieces.

Another rabbit hole for me this past year plus has been the tiny libraries that sit in front of people’s houses. Rather than designing my reading around my interests, I walk down the street and look. I take a bag with me in case there’s a treasure trove waiting for me. I’ve read D. H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, and Thomoas Hardy again. I’ve also read crime fiction, novels for kids, and must I tell you, romance fiction. All quite wonderful, actually.

Then there are the hours following my own dreams with no destination in sight:

•Down the rabbit hole into a new novel, now 90,000 words and probably three-quarters to the inevitable end. I say inevitable because I don’t want it to end. I love my characters and their story. Knowing this is a rough draft which will take perhaps endless polishing before it’s ready to be read by anyone but me actually helps me keep writing.

•Down the rabbit hole into the guitar where I, the eternal beginner—it’s certainly too latel to be a “child prodigy”—wander through a few chords endlessly or play the melody and sing along to Amazing Grace.

•Down the rabbit hole into the world of color and form, splashing watercolor on paper. Looking at a series of paintings I not only had framed but hung on the wall, my daughter said, “Your inner child painted those . . .” It’s as good an explanation as any. During this past year, I’ve kept a visual journal with dozens of small paintings glued to the pages.

•Then, there’s the garden. Hopefully there’s not a literal rabbit hole out there although something has been eating young plants before they’re ready for the table. The garden is one of my favorites for taking me down and into itself. Veggies, herbs, flowers, berries; I love getting my hands in the dirt. Once I get out there, it’s easy to stay. I set the timer on my phone to keep from over-doing it. Growing things, cooperating with Mother Nature, picking a salad and eating it five minutes later . . .

I do best when my days have shape. I enjoy the free float of entering a rabbit hole and not knowing where I’ll end up, but I’m aware of what else the day calls for, my regular yummy routine which includes getting enough rest, eating well, meditating, exercising, connecting with nature and also other humans . . .

All my love to all of us who keep ourselves company day by day . . .

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