Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

It has been a busy week but now that the festivities are over,  life can return to normal.  The next week will be very trying for the garden and its produce.  Temperatures are supposed to be around 40C most days and there is still no rain on the horizon, so to speak.
2012 was a very dry year.  We had a total of 355mm (just over 13 inches) for the year.  The "average rainfall for Kapunda is more than 450mm (about 18 or 19 inches) and so this year has been exceptional.  The fear is,  of course, that this may be the new "normal" now that climate change is upon us, but even that is a matter of "wait and see".
This morning I woke to the perfume of cactus flowers wafting through the open window and the sound of birdsong.
I will put more water on the little patch of summer vegetables, secure their lacy covering and close all of the doors and windows to read my copy of "Philosophy in the Garden" by Damon Young.   It is interesting to read of the effect and influence of gardens on some of the writers that I've enjoyed,  but I don't think that Mr Young has ever read Epicurus.  He describes the ancient philosopher as "retiring to his backyard in suburban Athens for a life of grumbling austerity."  While he did go to live in his Athenian garden with a group of friends, growing food and living simply, his writings don't suggest any kind of grumbling at all.
I hope that everyone has a happy new year, living simply and remember, "The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure; but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity." Epicurus


Damon Young said...

Afternoon, Jane.

Epicurus certainly did grumble, particularly about the Platonists, who were more influential than he. He called them "flatterers of Dionysus": lickspittles, in other words.

Obviously grumbling wasn't the only thing he did--as I'll note in my upcoming Epicurean feast (for The School of Life), he also encouraged the mindful appreciation of pleasure.

But there's no doubt he was frustrated by those popular scholars from the Academy who had the ears of the authorities. This is why Isaiah Berlin referred to Epicurus' attacks on fame as a "very grand form of sour grapes".

Jane said...

Thank you so much for the feedback.

I have read what I can find of Epicurus, and find it interesting. Teh fact that he was so concerned about his lack of influence indicates rather more of an inflated sense of his own importance than is evident in his doctrines or the letters that I have read. His statements about what is needed to be happy must have been a serious search for some sort of consolation for his lack of influence elsewhere.

The upcoming dinner with the School of Life sounds wonderful. I wish I could be there.

I am very much enjoying your book. I haven't finished yet..... I'm sticking to one garden each day.

Thank you again for the feedback and "Philosophy in the Garden".