Excerpts from My Summer in (and out of) a Garden


An excerpt from Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart:

“The SoHo and TriBeCa neighborhoods in lower Manhattan continue to thrive because their buildings were designed with several enduring advantages that today would not be considered efficient: they have high ceilings and large, high windows that let in daylight, thick walls that balance daytime heat with nighttime coolness…Their appeal and usefulness is enduringly apparent.”

Donald Judd would agree, see! I saw his home and studio in New York last term. It was a beautiful building.

An excerpt from “The Butterfly” a poem by Arun Kolatkar printed in Jejuri:

“Just a pinch of yellow,
it opens before it closes
and closes before it o

where is it”

An excerpt from a lecture by the fictional Elizabeth Costello in the Lives of Animals by J.M. Coetzee:

“Let me say it openly: we are surrounded by an enterprise of degradation, cruelty, and killing which rivals anything that the Third Reich was capable of, indeed dwarfs it, in that ours is an enterprise without end, self-regenerating, bringing rabbits, rats, poultry, livestock ceaselessly into the world for the purpose of killing them.”

The book ended with four reflections from others, including one by Peter Singer. I had been wondering if Peter singer would save his daughter or his dog and in his reflection he writes, “I’m your father, of course I would have saved my lovely baby daughter. But the point is, normal humans have capacities that far exceed those of nonhuman animals, and some of these capacities are morally significant in particular contexts.”

An excerpt from Morpho Eugenia by A.S. Byatt

“‘They take your dress for the sky itself,’ he whispered. She stood very still, turning her head this way and that. More and more butterflies made their way through the air, more and more hung trembling on the blue sheen of the cloth, on the pearly-white of her hands and throat.”

(I spent a lot of my summer here and here.)

An excerpt from My Summer in a Garden by Charles Dudley Warner

“The principal value of a private garden is not understood. It is not to give the possessor vegetables and fruit (that can be better and cheaper done by the market gardeners), but to teach him patience and philosophy, and the higher virtues,–hope deferred, and expectations blighted, leading directly to resignation, and sometimes to alienation. The garden thus becomes a moral agent, a test of character, as it was in the beginning…I mean to have a moral garden, if it is not a productive one,–one that shall teach, O my brothers! O my sisters! the great lessons of life.

I read most of this book while on the subway. It was the least applicable.

An excerpt from Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman

“‘Why do you keep saying that?’ he asked in response. “Apples and oranges aren’t that different, really. I mean, they’re both fruit. Their weight is extremely similar. They both contain acidic elements. They’re both roughly spherical. They serve the same social purpose. With the possible exception of a tangerine, I can’t think of anything more similar to an orange than an apple If I was having lunch with a man who was eating an apple and–while I was looking away– he replaced that apple with an orange, I doubt I’d even notice.”

An excerpt from Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart

“One day in 1845 a Scottish tailor named Duncan Gow ate a sandwich made with wild greens his children had collected for him. Within a few hours, he was dead. The children had made the fatal mistake of confusing the lacy foliage of parsley with that of poison hemlock.”


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