Wednesday, January 24, 2018

...A stability of perfection is neither wise to seek nor possible to find.

Henry Beston's Northern Farm (Chimney Farm), Nobleboro, Maine, 1977 - Photos by Salt Water New England
[E]very spring, if we can, we get hold of Tom and ask him to put us down for some “time.” We do not fuss too much over the property, for any good house is as much a living and growing thing as a tomato plant or a calf, and a stability of perfection is neither wise to seek nor possible to find.  So Tom puts us down as needing carpenter work, and says he will come just as soon as he has finished one or two more jobs.  This understanding arrived at, we forget all about it, and go on with our usual round of things to do.  We know that Tom will come when he can.
- Henry Beston Sheahan, Northern Farm <http://amzn.to/2n6MprX

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this excerpt, Muffy. I've added this to my "to read" list.

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  2. I like Beston's writing. He wrote a similar book centered on Cape Cod, as well.

    "... A stability of perfectionism is not wise to seek nor possible to find" sounds pretty Buddhist to me: everything is impermanent and is in constant flux. It’s in the trying to nail things down and make them unchanging where suffering begins. Beston’s words are wise ones, methinks.

    Aiken

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    1. Agreed. I have practiced Buddhism for the past 20 years and you are correct. Well said! And while I don't need outside affirmation of my belief in nonperfection, it is appreciated. Thanks, Muffy.

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    2. Susan -- We were introduced to the Dharma 5-6 years ago and never looked back. Isn't it fascinating that a writer reveals this when writing about a house? Writers, poets, artists -- they seem to be naturally closer to it.

      Aiken

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  3. You see it all over. Flippers spending money to make an old house into a new one, and in the process losing its character. No lichen on the old stone. No hundred year old dents in the molding. No little draft from the old window. No creaks. No lean. No history. Just dead lifeless shells of what were once homes. Making them perfect.

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    1. Many years ago while living in a rented renovated home with all brand new windows and carpets the place was so airtight that it created unhealthy air and mold around the windows that I had to keep cleaning. When I bought my current house, no pun intended, I appreciated the little drafts of air coming from the wavy old windows in my office.

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    2. Very well said, Dave.

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    3. My SO and I live in a tiny little historic mining town in rural Colorado. He and his family own about half of the houses in this town as it's so near and dear to their hearts. Unfortunately what happens with the other houses when they go on the market is that often somebody from the city or another state (Texas most recently) will purchase the home, rip out all of the original doors and windows (from the 1800s), and replace them with shoddy Home Depot mass-created doors/windows. The original pieces of the house end up in a dumpster. It's so terribly sad. My SO told the recent Texas family how much each of his doors were worth, and the man was shocked. Their beautiful historic home now has vinyl planks for flooring as they ripped out the original hardwood. It's just such a shame that so many people don't have respect for the history there. At least my SO and his family do what they can to preserve what's left.

      I'm originally from Boston, and I used to see it all of the time in my hometown. Homes built in the 1700s were being demolished so that some hideous condo community could be built. An old elementary school was wrecked to put in a McMansion housing development. I understand that this is just the nature of the world, but I wish more locals would put emphasis on saving and preserving their history.

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  4. Agreed. It’s those imperfections that give true character and enduring charm...
    Mrs. Hutchinson

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  5. I actually just finished that book. Not bad. Also finished Judson Hale's "The Education of a Yankee." Didn't enjoy that as much as his "Inside New England," which I thought was much more entertaining.

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  6. "...A stability of perfection is neither wise to seek nor possible to find." It can apply to so many things...

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  7. The Japanese honor the tradition of wabi-sabi => joy in the appreciation of the imperfect, the asymmetrical aspects of products, architecture & life.

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