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By Samuel F. Pickering

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Every morning I searched for flowers, and by noon the kitchen table was covered with specimens and books. Soon I identified a long list of flowers. Unfortunately, I never went beyond identity to the lessons Gray mentioned. I was a university professor. Like the people who drafted the proposal for Adult and Human Resources Education, I inhabited a world in which words were not simply currency but deeds of the realm. Truth was not so much action as the description of it, and often what passed for rigorous probing of complexity was airy, wordy illusion.

Full of sentiment and an almost righteous good spirit, I began my study of wildflowers. Unfortunately, changing ways hardened by years of soft living requires more than spirit. Besides writing about nature, I planned to lose weight in Nova Scotia. As I celebrated a simple life and studied the natural and the lasting, so, I thought, I would pare my appetite, peeling away all confection. The resolution was short-lived. Two miles from Beaver River in Port Maitland was Edna Churchill's bakery, and when I drove over to buy the children a treat, all thoughts of diet blew away like morning fog.

I don't want to be married to a man with a thirty-eight-inch waist," Vicki told me when I filled out the Sears order. May is also the month for second marriages, not the fabled May-December marriage but the May-October marriage. In June the marriages of young brides and grooms crowd church calendars. In May a few dates are always available for girls embarking on first marriages with older men. " Having been divorced, the groom would prefer the county clerk's office to the chapel, but he goes along with the plans.

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