By necessity. ObamaCare will drastically limit fees for services. The fees for services will be inadequate to support private solo practice. Doctors will not be able to repay the $150-$200K medical school costs, plus insurance, overhead, accountancy, and so on, out of a private practice. Only group practices will be able to cover costs; but salaries will be lower than traditional. Few doctors will make more than $150k/year, not equal to the mid-level federal bureaucrat who determines how they will practice medicine. Fewer individuals will choose to enter medical school. The government will end up having to pay people to go to med school, in return for x years of governmental medical service. They will remain in governmental service, because they can't afford to transition to private practice. The result will be practical nationalization of the nation's physicians.
When we visited Britain last summer--L_ [my wife], A_ [mydaughter], and me--we did some touring outside London, as well as in the city. A_, her new grandfather, E_, and I visited Windsor Castle, where we spent much time viewing the Queen Mary Doll House, which was E_'s favorite site. I remember, however, St. George's Chapel and the moat gardens.
The Chapel, built in the 15th century, soars on thin and delicate stone columns to an intricate and graceful vault roof. The walls are nearly entirely stained glass. It is a thoroughly beautiful structure at which I gazed, sitting at a pew chair for long minutes.
What is interesting is that I have only a poor memory of color in the chapel; yet, with all the glass, it must have been flooded with soft, diffused colored light.
I do recall the bright colors of flowers in the moat garden. At the center of the complex of buildings is the Round Tower, built about 1170, a century after William built the original castle at Windsor. The moat surrounding the tower was never filled, but in this century it was transformed into a beautiful garden. The garden fills the basin and sides of the moat, and paths wind up and down the sides like goat-trails. The green is nearly overpowering, rising from the moat floor and building on the sides, with small trees, shrubs, and countless bright flowers, whose names are lost to me now, but whose colorful effect remains vivid in my memory.
I have been reading the book which was written for the British History of Gardening exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum last summer. Several things struck me. One was how imprecise and poor is my nature description and the garden descriptions. Another is the evaluation the British writers have of British character. For instance, they belief [believe] the British have a tendency to indefinite edges and indeterminate--natural--shapes, in gardens, in personality, and in character. And while this is true in certain matters, any foreign visitor could inform them that they like clear and definite, if not obtrusive, class lines, manners, queue lines at Bus stops, planned town boundaries, and a host of other qualities and features in their lives. What is better said is that today the British like indefinite and "natural gardens" if they take less care than formal or classical gardens.
At any event, my descriptive vocabulary is limited--definitely limited. I know so few names. I have always been slow to learn names, and always envied persons who carried around with them a store of technical names--of plants, of parts to engines, of features, of houses, etc etc.
I think that as a writer--even a writer of a private journal, as this, I should augment my knowledge of garden names.
Victoria Avenue: How many times have I been down Victoria Avenue? A hundred on my bicycle, a hundred on my motor scooter, two hundred by car and truck.
Victoria Avenue has been, on each occasion, a pleasant relief and joy. In summer on the hottest (and smoggiest) afternoons, a drive down Victoria cools with its eucalyptus trees shade and enlivens the spirit by the beauty of its flowering trees. In the evening, at sunset, the rows of palms, eucalyptus, crepe myrtle splinter and refract the horizontal sunlight like a kaleidescope. By a moonlighted night, returning home from a movie at Tyler UA, the avenue is as romantic and lush as a tropical undersea floor, with shillouettes of trees standing silently and cars speed quietly by like fish.
Today, toward the end of a hot July, in the middle of annual summer smog seige, when I drove down the avenue to my eight o'clock morning riding lesson, the avenue was illuminated by bright white and pink crepe myrtle blossoms.
As finely and brightly dressed as an elderly lady, dressed for an afternoon tea at a lakeshore Swiss resort, a touring English lady, elegant in her seventy years of age; poised, cool, calm through all. Above all, charming, and wearing a large floral hat, with each colored flower arranged like an answer to a question.
Paths. I always loved an early John Updike piece--it's not a short story--about paths. Updike was writing in the period when he believed rituals, as distinctly human creations[,] had to be created, cultivated, and maintained. A path of packed dirt across a vacant lot in a small, suburban town, passed over by generations of children, was such a ritual.
There have been many such paths in my life, some of which I have walked many times, some frequently for brief periods.
The most frequently used paths were school paths--the "short cuts" I , and my school friends, followed through vacant lots and fields to get to school.
When my [parental] family lived on Garland St., Plymouth, until I was ten or so, I walked to school with my friends--B_ D_ and my cousins, T_ and J_ C_ and F_ A_--across a vacant lot, grown up as a field, behind F_ A_'s house. There was a definite packed earth track through the grass, and in the winter, a snow-packed trail approximately followed it.
After my parents moved us to Sunset Lane, when I was ten or so, I walked to school alone. I walked town streets and sidewalked [sidewalks] except for a path through a wooded lot. The path crossed some marsh, cut through a birch grove, and crossed a stone wall, connecting Sunset Lane and the backyard of the family of a beautiful girl named N_ Y_ (whose house was purchased by the high school principal a little later[)].
I recall walking that path in Winter--punching out a trail in the snow, and in the spring-summer-and fall, walking the path, jumping over the wet places from rock to rock.
Summer hours, the langorous peace when lying in the shade, and in the summer sun, insects and birds buzz and chirp (as the poets say) in the glade.
When I was--what?--eight or nine, sitting in the dappled shade on the ground under the over-bowering branches of a semi-cultivated blackberry patch, of a house up the street from the Plymouth Inn: how to describe the delicious peace, contentment, security of sitting there while my mother picked berries: the warm ambiance of sun-heated air in the cool intervening breeze off the hills.
When I was--what?--eleven, lying on my bunk in my cabin at YMCA Boy's Camp (Belknap): the cool shade of the cabin, the supervised silence of the afternoon napping hour, the gentle rustle of wind in the heated and fragrant pine trees: this feeling of the absolute rightness of this moment, of this quiet, of this time to dream.
When I was--what?--thirteen or fourteen, and working as a casual laborer at Link Pearson's farm outside Plymouth; ordered to pick peas in the hot sun, I lay down on the cool earth shaded, between the rows of pea plants: the sweet peas, the sweetest peas I have ever tasted, the sweetest rest to a tired back, the sweetest rest and peace.
When I was eighteen at UNH in the spring after my freshman year, after final exams were at last over in free days waiting until I went home to Plymouth: lying on the warm grass, the cool sea coast air felt gently, completely at peace--at last--after the ordeal of exams; Boo P_ lying quietly beside me--how I loved her!--the rightness of the moment, the absolute sense that this peace, that this moment were as real, as legitimate, as possible as any other! I can smell Boo P_s freshness, her virginity, I can smell her in my memory, and draw the memory into my lungs as relief and peace.
How many moments, as these past, infuse themselves into any moment I feel now? More beyond counting. So I can lie down on my bed, on this warm summer day, the patio door open, the entering breeze colored cool by the patio green shade, and sink into memories, memories known and memories unknown but felt, as I sink with relief and relaxed, on to the mattress.
Life creates new sensations, builds freshness, by insinuating the past into the present. Moment to moment: memory and now are one.
Window box gardens. Now I remember fondly the brightly colored window box gardens of London. Rutland Street, where L_'s parents live, was beautifully gardened in its small and tucked spaces. Her father, E_, had a reputation on this street and one nearby for his gardening ability. The air-wells opening the basement apartments, below street level, the small entry patios--six feet by six feet--opening onto the street, and window boxes were all colorfully and intensely planted, providing a changing air to this small street of three-story brick row houses. Originally constructed to provided [sic]houses for the coachmen attached to the great estates at the nearby park, in the 18th century, little interest in amenities or beauty was designed. Now, in a fashinoable neighborhood in Knightsbridge, clever and continuing efforts have made the street charming for its upper middle class residents (mostly renters).
By the intense cultivation of itself, Rutland Street gave me--when we rented a house across from L_'s folks last August--the sense of a world by itself, referring by its architectural gestures and garden designs only to itself. The street is even isolated geographically by row housing runnning across its ends, leaving only gates or underpass openings. Only to [the?] side streets running into it provide vehicle access.
This quality is completely seductive. As completely entrancing as the fantasy of the last South Sea isle. E_'s parents wanted this sense of isolation in her father's retirement. Her mother can live for months with no more excursions off the street than walking the dog in nearby Hyde Park and buying food at Harrod's food halls a block away.
As I sit here and write this page, pulling myself out ofthe memories of Rutland Street and begin to think about my day--which includes two conference-meetings--I find the seductive quality of Rutland Street hard to resist. Ah, for a hidden-away rowhouse of our own, away from administrative meetings, free to write and read books. Free to think about ideas for longer than ten minutes uninterruptedly!
Tend one's garden, Think one's thoughts; Colorful shoots of mind to grow From window box lots.
Window boxes and summer rockers. As I walked in the garden this morning, planning out changes and trying to envision how the garden would appear a year from now, I tried to remember flower boxes. At first, I couldn't; then a flood of early childhood memories returned to me of my maternal grandparents' inn in Plymouth.
My mother's parents' owned a[nd] managed a small inn, the Plymouth Inn, of perhaps thirty rooms. My mother grew up there after she was--I am guessing--eight years old. During the 2nd World War, 1944-1945, while my father was in Europe, I lived with my mother in the Inn. All during my childhood in Plymouth, I was frequently at the Inn--say, as much as three times a week--either with my parents or visiting my grandparents on my own. I was a favorite at the Inn with the guests, and my grandfather taught me to play [cribbage] at a table in the lobby.
I loved the ambiance of the Inn lobby: the morning light flooding through the three large picture windows (the lobby faced east), the large leather chairs, the three divided writing desks, with their blotters, ink wells, and inn stationary, the large, ornate, carved wood table in the center of the lobby holding the newspapers and magazines, the large, worn, area rugs with their colorful pattern, the brick fireplace with a shallow mantle carrying an old sheathed sabre, with an oil painting above of some ancestor on the Eastman branch of the family. I remember a red coat in the portrait; is this correct?
At the west end of the lobby was the registration counter, at the open end of which was a glass cigar-cigarette case. In the counter were registration pad, a heavy metal, ornate mechanical box dispensing hotel stationary and envelopes, a cash register, a wall board with keys, and a wall clock. I remember a plain wall clock (West Bend?), round, black metal case, white face, black hands, electric.
Behind the counter were drawers and cabinets filled with an unexplored universe of rubber stamps, pens, pencils, glue, rubber bands, locks without keys, old paperback books, dust rags, ink, tools, twine, polish, and who knows how much I have forgotten.
I recall that this room was never too warm, nor too cool. It seemed immense to me, even when I was in high school, and I loved the openness, the light, and the freedom of movement it allowed. Off the lobby were large doors to a dining room, to the baggage check and Western Union office, and to a coat check room. A wide staircase--wide enough for Uncle C_ to carry up a suitcase in each hand--rose from the lobby opening the huge world of two upper stories of rooms.
In the summer, the large, glass front door was frequently left open, and cool currents of New Hampshire mountain air circulated through the room. In the winter, this entry door was left open briefly to air out a room frequently filled with smoke from my grandfather's cigars.
Running parallel to the lobby and dining room, on the east (front) side of the inn, was a porch. In the summer, my uncle placed metal rocking chairs, and some extra wooden wicker chairs from the lobby writing desks, and hotel patrons would sit for hours, watching activity along the town's main shopping street and enjoying summer warmth.
On the low rising half wall of this porch, which was a half-story above the street level, my uncle placed wood flower boxes. I remember them filled with annuals with red blossoms which trailed down the side of the box, and lying against the white clapboard siding of the building, contrasted gaily and gave a festival feeling to the porch.
Did I, as a child, sit long on a rocker on that porch and view the large, complicated and peaceful world that displayed itself along the street? Probably not--what child willingly sits long in any chair. But I do remember sitting in that rocker, I do remember those flowers, and I do remember the peace and wonder of those moments.
It occurred to me how much, in my own mnd, the difference between a "garden" and "nature" lies in the sense of my proprietorship (I wouldn't exactly say ownership). Most gardens I have identified myself with, as saying the garden is "somehow" "mine," whereas nature I perceive as "not-mine."
One feature of my walks, returning frequently over to the same route, is--was--my interest in seeing how the scenery along the route has changed: what trees have grown, what houses been altered, what new plantings or homes been added. This attitude probably derives from my parents' habit of taking weekend drives around my little home town and commenting on everyone's homes. I sensed all these homes as part of Plymouth, and identified myself and my parents' families with Plymouth. By this indirect net of associations the homes, yards, and other features of the town became subsumed into a whole--a whole in which their individuality separate from me (which I feel as an adult) was not apparent.
No doubt, there was an intensely personal interest in this interest in the change of the world around me; I was, unknown to my child's mind, also inquiring how much I had changed. For a young boy of ten or twelve to wonder how rapidly a familiar tree grows is also, probably, a way of asking how rapidly he grows.
In gardens, I have this feeling of proprietorship (is it a projection of a sense of place?). Even when I garden [when a garden?] is unfamiliar to me, as when visiting as a tourist, I can feel a sense of "cultural proprietorship," of my participation in a cultural tradition that created this garden, that it exemplifies.
Ever since we visited London last year I have wanted to have a greenhouse in my garden. I visited the British Gardening exhibition ("A Celebration of One Thousand Years of British Gardening") at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which was a block away from L_'s parents' house in Knightsbridge.
The greenhouse I wanted at our old house, I now want to have at our new house. Of course, with less exterior ground space, I will have to design a long and narrow greenhouse--a "corridor" greenhouse. I have loved orchids for several years--ever since E_ G_ brought in some into the department and they (for whatever reason at that moment) imprinted themselves on my mind. I got the Sunset book on orchids out of the Riverside Public Library last week. Independently and coincidently, B_ W_ dropped by earlier this week and gave us two Philappine (?) orchids as gifts of appreciate [appreciation] for employing her as a real estate agent in our recent purchase of this house. The flowers are astonishingly beautiful--exotic, perfectly formed, asymetrical on symetrical.
The exotic quality of the orchid reminds me of the first time I was ever aware of a truly exotic flower. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I visited several times the conservatory at Schenley Park. In the typical floral section I saw a "Bird of Paradise" flower. I couldn't decide whether this flower was beautiful or ugly (I was still in that youthful phase of life where I believed making asethetic judgments was a matter of applying categorical qualities). But certainly it was interesting. Isolated in the conservatory, the exotic quality of the Bird-of-Paradise was enhanced.
It was a pleasant surprise to discover the Bird of Paradise in Southern California. It it still an interesting flower, but its tamed employment in domestic gardens has rendered it less exotic, and its frequent appearance as a weed, in fact, is positively a shame.
If I have one, I should cultivate it in a humid greenhouse--give it back the exotic quality it deserves.