Hilltop Diary, June 1, 2020

Hilltop Diary, June 1, 2020

The last two weeks at Hilltop have seen some changes, first of all in backyard landscaping. Crystal asked me to build her a “Mary Garden” and gave me a sketch of the plan she wanted. It consists of four 4’ X 4’ raised flower beds in quadrants surrounding the fountain I built last year at this time, with a stepping stone walkway in between them. Here is a photo of the project, so far. Each box was simply made by connecting four boards with a bracket and four screws at each corner, and stained. Then I dug out the grass where they go and put perforated landscape plastic over the dirt (lets water out but not weeds in). Then I put in two inches of bark chips for drainage, and then a foot of potting mix.

Then Crystal took over and is planting perennials, which in each box symbolized the four sets of mysteries of the rosary. I laid down the stepping stones and will inset them flush with the ground soon. I made the little “grotto” for our Mary statue (see far end of photo on the right), while Crystal watched over and irreverently sang “In the Grotto” to the tune of Elvis Presley’s “In the Ghetto”, and made me laugh a lot. So, it has been a fun project to take on and do together, step by step.  But already, with the gentle sound of water and the beauty of the flowers, it is just the peaceful place we both need and have long wanted to make. There is still more to add, including more flowers in the boxes and in pots and a couple of chairs.

Garden Before

I have continued to make progress on the symphony and the novel, but I was also asked to write some prose about Beethoven’s second symphony, in a joint article with eight other musical pundits, by the journal The Imaginative Conservative, which is celebrating the composer’s 250-year birthday with several articles about him. It can be read HERE. My music was also featured this past week on WCNY-FM Radio in New York, which you can hear archived HERE , beginning at 21:42.

Meanwhile, I am celebrating my first rejection on the manuscript of my novel, which is something many books have to experience as a rite of passage. This one was to give the publisher of my first book, which was non-fiction, the courtesy of first considering my second book, which is fiction. They don’t do much fiction and thus supplied the official rejection I expected. Now I’m free to approach publishers who do specialize in this kind of novel. So I’m not discouraged. As I told my friend, “After all, a lot of rubbish gets published. I figure my rubbish can get published, too!”

Crystal will have some big professional news perhaps later this week, so I’ll come back then and add it here.

Wishing you all the best!

Michael

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