Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wanderlust For All

I love to walk. It is one of my favourite things to do, especially when I am feeling down, sad, angry, happy, thoughtful, anything! Not only do I get exercise, but I also get a chance to view the world that normally rushes by me whenever I am driving around. All it takes is a good pair of shoes and you're off! Working in Downtown Memphis has the extra cool advantage in that I can put on my sneakers and walk out of my building to a new adventure every time. Sometimes, if the weather is cooperating with me, I'll bring my camera with me so as to take photos of things that I find to be odd and beautiful. Sometimes, I just plug in my iPod and let my music lead me. And still other times, I like to walk down Beale Street and smell the BBQ smoke wafting out of the restaurants while listening to Blues music and soaking up Memphis history.
Recently, I read a book entitled The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John Baxter in which he describes his walking journeys while living there. Some of the stories are touching, some are downright hilarious and still others speak of the artistic history of the City of Light. When I read this book with obvious joy, I imagined myself walking along the Paris streets, searching for a cafe in which to sit and watch people go by. I don't know if I'll ever visit Paris yet I do understand the desire to walk and SEE and be a part of just living.
I will freely admit that whenever Spring comes around, the wanderlust in me rises to a fever pitch. I will come up with any excuse to go for a walk, even if it's to purchase kleenex. Walking means just that much to me.

As Tolkien wrote in Lord of the Rings, "Not All Who Wander Are Lost."

Amen to that!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Poem of the Day - At Melville's Tomb by Hart Crane

Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men’s bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched,
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.

And wrecks passed without sound of bells,
The calyx of death’s bounty giving back
A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph,
The portent wound in corridors of shells.

Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil,
Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled,
Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars;
And silent answers crept across the stars.

Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive
No farther tides ... High in the azure steeps
Monody shall not wake the mariner.
This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.

Source: The Complete Poems of Hart Crane (Poetry Foundation, 2001)

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Fungus Among Us!

When I was a little girl, I hated mushrooms. I couldn't stand the smell, taste, texture, anything regarding a fungus. My mother once tried to make me eat a stuffed mushroom cap, to which I politely stuffed in my mouth then, when she walked away, spit it in a trash can. All of that changed when years later, she introduced me to a grilled portobello mushroom sandwich. When I bit into it, I asked her where was the mushroom. All I was eating was something delicious, flavourful and quite tasty!
So began my love for all things mushroom. Now, many years later, I am a member of the Cumberland Mycological Society, I have the Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, I have dear friends send me photos of fungus on their property and my eyes stayed glued to the ground if I am in a wooded area. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow mushroom lover Eugenia Bone, author of the book Mycophilia. She told of her tales of meeting up with fellow mushroom hunters, exploring the fungi kingdom in all of its glory and informing us of the unlimited potential of mushrooms in today's world of science and medicine.
Mycophilia is a book for the mushroom lover, the novice fungi admirer and for those who just love a good read. I found myself nodding enthusiastically while reading her words regarding attending mushroom forays (I'll be attending my first this July!), interviewing legendary people in the field of mycology and the prevalent mushroom festivals across the country.
One festival in particular is the Mushroom Festival located in Kennett Square, PA. For those of you who don't know, Kennett Square is the home of white button mushrooms! Yes, those little guys you get in a small plastic wrapped crate from your grocery store was 9 times of out 10 from Kennett Square. After reviewing the website for the festival, I decided that I, Kimberly Richardson, would attend this year's festival! The photos from last year looked way too cool and I knew this was a chance that I would have to take. So, I'll be in Kennett Square this year from the 7th through the 9th of September and I am looking forward to it!
If someone from my past had told me that the Kimberly of today would be super excited over fungi and their many properties, I would have told them to go fly a kite. But now, I can't imagine my life any other way.


**By the way, the photo is of a puffball fungus. So freakin' cool!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Glenn Gould and Me

I listened to Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations on the way to work today. It was that piece that introduced me to the eccentric and brilliant piano player. As I drove towards Downtown, I noticed the trees with their deep green bark and bright green leaves as a result of the rainstorm we had yesterday and last night. Such beauty and yet I wondered how many people actually took the time to look at it while on their way to wherever. Once I reached my parking garage, I walked along the sidewalk while noticing yet again the many patches of clover just by my feet. The clover was dressed in brilliant hues of green and it took all of my strength to continue walking towards the building where I work. Hours later, while listening to the Phoenix based classical music radio station KBAQ at my cubicle, my thoughts drifted towards the green clover, the cool and fresh air, the trees that are dressed in their 2012 Spring finery and Glenn Gould playing his heart out on the piano. I wished I could have met him; I would have let him know that he was not alone in the world. There are many more of his kind out there, just waiting to be acknowledged or perhaps simmering in their own glory, no matter the source. Bless the freaks for they know.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

First Line - The House of Paper by Carlos Maria Dominguez

"One day in the spring of 1998, Bluma Lennon bought a secondhand copy of Emily Dickinson's poems in a bookshop in Soho, and as she reached the second poem on the first street corner, she was knocked down by a car."

The House of Paper by Carlos Maria Dominguez is a slender novel yet answers the question "How far can an obsessed mind go?" in a most unique way.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hello Spring!

Simply put, we did not have a Winter in the Memphis area. We did, however, have the occasional low temperatures, freezing rain and one day of snow flurries, but no day of absolute Winter. Instead we had a warm up to prepare us for Spring. In fact, I think it's safe to say that Spring has already sprung. As much as I love both Spring and Fall, Spring will always be my favourite season. The air smells like fresh water and everyone is out and about, meeting up with friends and spreading their good cheer. I jokingly call Spring the season for Midtowners; once the temperatures heat up, we come out of the woodwork, looking for places hang out or visit. Downtown is no exception either; locals and tourists scour the area searching for good food and a good place to soak up the blues (music). When Spring arrives, I can't wait to get outside with a good book and a cup of tea, or put on my walking shoes and walk until I find something, anything of interest. Even though today's temperatures will be in the 50s, people's mentality has already switched to Spring. Let's face it: Spring is HERE!
So now, I ask you: what do you like to do during Spring? What are your favourite activities during this "cool" time of the year?