Sunday, October 19, 2014

The cure for boredom . . .

. . . is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
                              ~ Dorothy Parker ~

OK, the thing is, I'm never, ever bored. I'm always far too busy. 
Boredom is a word I rarely, if ever, give a thought to.

I consider myself to be a curious person. 
Ever since childhood I've been extremely interested in nature. For gifts I often requested pocket-sized nature guides to plants, weeds, wild flowers, birds, insects, even the small animals found in the meadows such as field mice and hedgehogs. I was fortunate in that I don't recall there being dangerous, poisonous, biting, stinging creatures in England's beautiful countryside that I needed to avoid . . . well perhaps a raging bull at a gate once, and a few horseflies now and then!

The older I became the further afield I would roam with those guidebooks, and a small notebook and pencil in my pocket. In winter I would don my Wellington boots and mackintosh - it was usually raining, or threatening to - sloshing through piles of wet leaves to get into the fields. In spring and summer I would traipse through a large nearby field at daybreak - before the cows arrived - gathering a basket of mushrooms for breakfast. Later, in sunshine, I'd watch the flowers opening, buttercups, celandines and daisies, as I lay on my back with clouds scudding overhead, swallows swooping low. Autumn was always, and still is, my favorite season. The colors of the mighty horse chestnuts and oaks were amazing, their leaves laying thick carpets of gold and bronze on the woodland floor, the chestnuts' copper-hued conkers shining as they peeked through their bright green prickly cases. 

We lived at the edge of the countryside. By that I mean in a neighborhood built after WWII to house families where the dads, and sometimes even the mums (both my parents served in the Royal Air Force within England during the war), returned to civilian life, desperate for housing.
We lived in my grandmother's tiny flat in town for a while, then we moved into a pre-fabricated home on a housing estate. Neat little cookie-cutter houses with small back and front gardens built quickly in meandering rows, bordering a village and plenty of woodland and farmland. I have vivid memories of that house as we lived there until I was seven. My mother taught me how to grow flowers and vegetables from seed - flowers I recall best were the heady perfumed sweet peas in summer, and powerfully fragranced sweet William that bloomed with autumn's arrival. The veggies were runner beans, broad beans, potatoes, cabbages, cauliflowers and Brussels sprouts.

I found this little rustic cabinet when treasure hunting in Asheville, NC last year. I knew immediately it was to become my own cabinet of curiosities.  My plan was to refinish it, make it spiffy with perfect paint, but the longer I've put it off the more I realize it's just the way I want it to be. It already holds some natural curiosities and brings me a lot of pleasure. Searching for new, meaningful additions to the cabinet is something I've discovered to be most interesting.

The opposite of boredom is to remain engaged or 
interested in a subject.
I believe that curiosity just might be the answer here.  
Do you consider yourself to be a curious person?


  1. Hello dear Mary
    What wonderful images you have conjured, and what an idyllic childhood you must have had :o)
    I love the cabinet and your curiosities held within. I know the enjoyment of hunting down those curiosities too ;o)
    Yes, I consider myself to be curious - and I'm never bored either!
    Thank you for your sweet comments.
    Sending love and very best wishes
    Rose H

  2. What a wonderful post Mary. I loved hearing more about your childhood. That case is perfect exactly as is! Yes, I am a curious person. I love researching.

  3. Delightful and very well written. As always your pictures are just beautiful.
    This go me to thinking about being ankle deep in a muddy swamp catching tadpoles!

    1. Oh yes Jeanne, did that too! Wild watercress grew in our nearby stream where the tadpoles hatched - we loved making soup (with the watercress, not tadpoles!!). It's still a favorite with me but I have to purchase in the grocery store and pay a small fortune for it now!
      Thanks for stopping by, and your sweet comment as always.
      Hugs - Mary

  4. This post is charming, Mary. I loved reading about your childhood in England. How free we were to roam in those days. I pity children nowadays who often can't experience wandering about on their own.
    I am also curious and love to learn new things, especially about the wonderful natural world all around us. Your cabinet of curiosities is a beautiful piece for displaying the treasures you bring home.
    Bored? I don't have the time!

  5. Most definitely I am a curious person (that can be taken two ways I think - hahaha! and both might be true). I so enjoyed the tales of your childhood wanderings out in nature, something I also loved to do and found great joy and peace and delights in the surroundings to be found in Southern California in the late 1950's, and 1960's when I was young and impressionable. Not a lot of untouched wilderness or woods, but plenty of beaches or lagoons and back country roads and small patches of undeveloped countryside to explore. Sometimes the 5 of us kids and my parents would pile into the family car and take drives out into the country or even as far as the deserts for hikes or camping. The natural created world has always "spoken" to me from early on. Your post here brings to mind that Eden Philpotts book "My Devon Year" which I still have and will never give away.

  6. Oh yes, I am curious. I don't always retain the knowledge I learn along the way though, haha! The little cabinet looks like it found a perfect home for it to be a treasure.

  7. Yes, me too. Although I tend to think of it as I Need to Know. ( an observer, a researcher who must find out why, or where or how.)

  8. Hi Mary, What a delightful post and what a delightful cabinet of curiosities. So glad to hear that fall has arrived in my beloved North Carolina and that you are enjoying the weather, Me - I simply don't have time to be bored and love to explore and learn new things - today I gave painting with oils a try!
    Have a lovely week. Blessings, Erin

  9. this was a perfectly delightful post. I like being curious and of course, finding out about other people's curiousities. The cabinet is just right to house little momentoes of yours.

  10. What a lovely post - I can just picture you as a young girl, out adventuring. Of course my view of you is just like you look today but shorter and smaller - hee hee. Each word was delightful. And your cabinet is perfect - I have a shelf that I use for things like that - wonders of nature that I come across. One of my favorite things on it is a blue plastic mayonnaise lid filled with loose gravel. When our grandson Ben was three he liked to look at the pretty stones we have collected and he went out to their gravel pathway, filled the lid with "dirt and gravel" and gave it to me as a gift - a gift of stones he said. And I've treasured it ever since. The true treasure of an inquiring little boy - who still is inquisitive and knows the names of most of the multitude of stones that his great grandfather hunted and found in the wild. I am a very curious person - always seeking in nature one more wonder - one more surprise. Thank you for a lovely post.

  11. Most definitely I am a curious person. Little and unusual things always get my attention. Your curiosity cabinet is darling. I am looking for something similar to display all my sea-theme mementoes while I live here in Kansas since I miss the beach so much.

  12. I absolutely love your stories of growing up England and connecting with nature. I love your curiosity.
    Yes, I much prefer being outdoors and exploring, their my heart is the happiest. Very rarely bored,
    but would love to adventure more than I have opportunity to do.
    That little cabinet is to swoon over, what a wonderful place to put treasures.

  13. I really enjoyed hearing of your early years in England. It sounds so lovely in your small town on the edge of the countryside. I am curious too. I love the outdoors, and history and, old houses and barns, and backroads..... I like your curiosity cabinet and I'm sure you will find many treasures to display in it. Beautiful post, Mary. xx

  14. I am definitely a curious person and I never am bored. I love how you describe your days growing up in England


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