I don’t think anyone would dispute the fact that moving is chaotic. I’ve done a lot of it and have always found it an overwhelming experience even as it holds an element of adventure, the thrill of something new. It occurred to me that beginning this blog is like beginning a new life in a new house. Both are a blank canvas upon which I can lay my own design. In the case of a house, I stand in a room that is four plain walls, a window or two and a doorway. And as I pause there, half dreaming from exhaustion, from anxiety and anticipation, a vision rises as if from nowhere. That painting, I think, the one my friend Jo did, of the garden . . . wouldn’t it be perfect over there on that wall with Granny’s rocker beneath it and I’ll put the small green cut velvet pillow, the one that’s the color of old moss, in the wicker seat. I can see it now. Yes! And I’m off, newly energized, to unearth the painting, find the small rocker, unbox the pillow, and the hammer . . . where is the hammer?
I love the process of creating something beautiful, but it rarely seems to happen, at least for me, on the first try. I might find the hammer and hang the painting, add the other elements only to move them after five minutes, six hours, a number of months, or a year, because somehow the arrangement isn’t as pleasing as it was in my original vision. It isn’t satisfying.
The yard is as much an experiment and I am drawn to it. It is another room to me, another blank slate tented by an ever-changing sky, the arching canopy of a few trees. I’ve been fortunate in that the several landscapes I’ve gained custody of have been plain-Jane. Not more than a sheet of grass that meets a row of shrubs under a window, or maybe there is a lone flower border. I can look at this, what isn’t much more than a bare patch of ground, and in my imagination see the rock wall curving away from the fence line, the path leading through the allée and up worn stone steps to the pond. Yes, that’s it. And around the corner of the garage, a garden room with a potting table. It’s shaded with wax myrtles. They grow fast in almost any situation and the birds love the berries. Or sweet olive, I think, immediately swooning at the memory of their scent.
There’s space, too, for the chair I salvaged from a pile of unwanted furniture that was heaped in the parking lot of a university where my oldest son and his team played basketball. He was embarrassed at my insistence on having that chair, but he loaded it up and brought it home for me. The aqua paint is peeling, one rung is missing and the seat is gone, but I can set it outside the new garden room and plant giant salvia underneath it, the one that blooms a gorgeous shade of azure blue. And then I remember the day my youngest son and I found an old metal hoop contraption that had once been used to store logs for the fireplace sitting on the curb waiting for trash pick-up. Of course I had to have it and catching my drift, grinning, my son lowered the car window, grabbed the hoop and dragged it home, sparks flying. Thankfully home was only a few houses away. But that hoop makes the most useful trellis. I’ll hang it there on the side of the house. Underneath it, I’ll plant passion vine, the one that has deep, rich red blooms that are beloved by all manner of insects and hummingbirds. I’ll train the vine in a circle to resemble a giant wreath. At least that’s my plan.
Making a home, making a garden, writing a novel . . . to me it’s a matter of ingredients, found objects, salvage, that new thing spied in a shop window. I am thinking a blog is like that, a mélange of ingredients, an exchange of thoughts and ideas like furnishings and subject to revision. But that process of reinventing and revising seems inherent to life, whether it is in regard to planning a home or a garden, a book’s story arc or the direction of a blog. I plan to write here regularly. Certainly I’ll be posting about my forthcoming e-novel, The Ninth Step, but I also have in mind to post about books and writing in general, and gardening, home and family, matters of happiness and forgiveness. Matters of love and relationship. I hope you’ll find what unfolds here interesting and that you’ll be moved to share. It’s all an experiment, a big adventure. I’m looking forward to it. Thank you for coming and I hope you’ll come again soon.