Thursday, January 14, 2010


At a suggestion just now from a reader who said I could solve my writer's block/bean problem by delving into "all those boxes of pages" I have filled over the years, I decided to just do the old GRAB ONE trick and let the words fall where they may.
So, on this snow-melting, soggy day of sunshine on the slush, this one is from May 24, 2007, before several important events in my life---it's a reply to an e-mail from a faraway friend:


What a lovely start to this sunny morning!!! I've been out communing with the robins, setting up a top-heavy fern that escaped its moorings last night, and just sitting out in my beautiful little "arbor room" that we carved out of a brushy old trashy section of the FAR back yard. It was overgrown to despair when we bought the house nine years ago, and it's just been sitting there, branching out and over and entertwining its sun-seeking limbs for all that time.

Chris had used a great corner of it for dumping the lawnmower clippings, and we were inclined to pick up sticks and limbs and any natural detritus and give them a quick Frisbee toss into the great nothingness. So, last year, I took a look at that good twenty feet of wasteland all across the back fence. I happened to be standing at the far end, and look upward and across, seeing the drape of the limbs and the natural curve of the roof, imagining what a lovely green-ceilinged room it would make, IF ONLY.

And so, this year, before all the GREEN took over with a vengeance (and it was a long time a-comin' as we had freezes til the end of April) we got out there with the lopping shears and cut and lopped and sweated and cleared it out three pickups full, taken to the nice people who convert all that unwanted yard stuff to beautiful mulch.

So now, we have a long tunnely affair, swaying green and sweet overhead, with a dozen nice hostas in a cleared section at one end---great rocks from all our travels scattered about amongst them, and a fairy or two fetchingly peeping out from between. We'd bought a nice pile of yellow bricks at a yard sale---they had them stacked in the front yard with all sorts of stuff for sale sitting on them, and we said "How Much?" and hauled them home.

They sat out behind the big plantation bell for a good two years, with me planning to pave a nice yellow brick road out the back garden gate, but we also took down the old weathered pool deck and discovered all sorts of nice paving stones abandoned beneath. A dozen of those made the path, now mossily surrounded, and we smoothed and squared off an 8x10 place which we wavily laid with the bricks (Caro and I did the bricklaying, as I creaked my old knees back and forth for two days). It's a lovely place now, with the brick floor, a couple of hanging pots of pink petunias spilling out, with windchimes and breezes. The robins come to the feast at the now-gone compost pile---the wormfeast is incredible, and there's a steady line at our smorgasbird.

I've just come in from the second time out there---the children gave me two incredible handmade wooden Adirondack chairs for Mothers' Day, and I go out with my coffee first thing each day, passing the little vegetable garden, the pots of herbs, the nice benches and the old fading wicker chair which holds a big flat terra-cotta bottom to a flowerpot---I fill it from the hose, and we always seem to have a chairful of birds.

Today's chores will finish up the yard, I hope---houseguests coming for Memorial Day weekend, but not for the RACE---we went once to time trials the first year we moved up here, and just don't have much interest in the gathering. We'll enjoy the cool of the shade, have some nice dinners out in the arbor, visit the new Ocean exhibit at our Zoo---I'm still waiting to go visit Nereus, the baby walrus adopted two years ago when he was found abandoned on an Alaska beach---the documentary on Animal Planet made me fall in love with the little fellow, and I'm sure he's now a husky big teenager with tusks and whiskers.

I SO envy your Umbrian experience---I can feel that warm, grapey air, the hills and the greenth, and the tables laid out in the sunshine. My only Europe trip was two weeks in England/Scotland/Wales a couple of years ago---trip of a lifetime. Scotland has called to me forever---I even took off my shoes when we stepped off the bus. I could go back and walk those heathery hills forever.

I MUST get to last night's dishes---we had roast chicken, a pot of Calrose rice, and a nice gardeny salad with a sweet homemade 1000 dressing, a nice counterpoint to the salt of the chicken drippings. I was so tired after re-stoning the side gate path---five 40-lb bags of marble chips---after supper I just took our TV trays back to the kitchen, grabbed us each two tiny Reese's cups, and we sat down to an NCIS Tivo.

Must get the house in order---I'm still looking at all the upstairs linens, which must get put back on the guest beds today.

Which, by the way, is the exact order of things at this moment, so I must get to the mundane, as I try to think of something original to write again.


Anonymous said...

That's what I'm talking about!! So interesting, I want to always be there in person! Thanks and have a lovely day.

racheld said...

Well, YOUUUU started it!!

Always good to see you here.

Jeanne said...

Rachel, I do love your text today as always. I stopped by to tell you the needle/petti point ovals did not sell. The needle work is outstanding but the frames are rough. The price is $25. for the pair. They are really very pretty and 'very old.' Are you interested?

I hope you accomplish all of your chores. I could sure use some energy to finish putting Christmas away. Five days in Atlanta and my cousin here from MI has not allowed much time for anything.

I better get to my post for tomrrow.

Hugs, Jeanne

racheld said...

Yes, I am---I left you a note in your own comments section, as well.

Thank you for your kind words!!