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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Feeling Unsettled

Where is the charger for my cell phone? The largest of the three lidded saucepans? My camera’s lens cap? Despite lists, despite progress, everything feels topsy-turvy and impossible. Besides that, the sun shone on Saturday, Monday and all day today. Do we really want to pack up and go away? We look around our messy little nest and feel homesick in advance. So from time to time, like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand (do they really do that?), I retreat into the pages of Between Gardens, by Carol Graham Chudley and Dorothy Field. The book’s subtitle, Observations on Gardening, Friendship and Disability, includes a reference to Carol’s struggle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but the only text dealing with CFS are her journal entries. The letters between the two women focus on their gardens, early childhood memories of nature, the idiosyncratic approach each takes to cultivating the soil and nurturing plants, and the passing of the seasons. Beautiful close-up photographs by Dorothy Field of plants in her garden, often set against her own hand-made papers, make the book a visual as well as a literary delight, and the writing of both women bristles with intelligence, sensitivity and creativity that neither time constraints nor illness can defeat. It is a triumph of spirit. Lost in their written garden thoughts, I rush forward mentally, into the spring and the joy of working again in my own worm-rich soil.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Michigan . . . the winter gray drives us into the sulks, but one little day of sunshine and we're all better. OK, maybe not all better, but definitely a lot better. Effervescent.

It's good to go away before you have to. Oh dear, that's a bad sentence. I'm too tired to fix it. I think I've put off a vacation too long. You see what happens? Go and have a grand time. Miss us, but just enough to make it good to be home when the time comes.

Go write a book. Honestly, some people will do ANYTHING to keep from writing.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Your winter exodus somehow reminds me of the Moomin family preparing for their winter hibernation!

The gardening book sounds wonderful. I spent some time putting a 'fence' of little sticks round the tiny growing tips of snowdrops naturalized in our lawn, so I don't absentmindedly hoof all over them in the snow!

P. J. Grath said...

Much new snow this morning! Plow truck arrived as I was bagging garbage to go out to the road, and I was glad to see it. Snow to keep up through Monday? That's here. What of there?

The gardening book was over 95% wonderful. There were a couple pages of anti-dog diatribe that disappointed me. Worry about "murdering" tentworms and then smile at someone threatening to poison "trespassing" dogs? An important reminder, however, that we dog owners must be aware of all the irresponsible pet owners who raise feelings against us, even before they meet our dogs.

Busy, busy, busy....