Dinner, Deck, Downtown (and Jasmine)

050215It should still be my month of praise songs, so I could tell you about the lamb, charred on the outside into a perfect crust. The crumbly cheese we chipped off into pieces and ate with olives and salami. The bright white walls of the house, and the photos of Turkey, and the inky wine I had to go out and buy myself as soon as I could. If it were still my month of praise songs, I would sing to friendship and conversation, to shared meals at wood tables. I would not stop until I praised the dog circling our feet seeking scraps, the radicchio made tender and sweet from grilling. And the deck, how I would sing to that deck. Downtown bright through the trees, jasmine thick in the air, sitting together sharing old stories until it was late, later than we realized. Oh, the song that I would have sung.

May 2, 2015

Wisteria, Vacant House, Space

031915We miss our neighbor J, who loved this house with its overgrown wisteria. Since he left, the house has sat vacant, and we’ve watched to see what happens to it while big new homes sprout up and down the street. I clipped a few of these sprays of purple and set them spilling from a wine glass on the kitchen table. And then I returned to the porch, where I’ve cleared old firewood and dead plants, hung a basket of red flowers, painted the door, set out new chairs. It was in this space–uncluttered, freshly clean, occupied only by things alive and cherished–that I could relax. I read the New Yorker until C arrived home. And space is what’s on my mind these days, after reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up. I’d started clearing the clutter before I’d heard of the book. Front porch. Back porch. Deck I cleaned and vacuumed and set right last Saturday. And now I’m ready to take on what’s next, KonMari style. Clothes. Then books. Then the rest of it. Because I want space. Space to read and write and rest, to be part of a family and a marriage and a community, to practice reverence for the present and envision the future. Space. Not the empty space of J’s old house, which so deserves happy owners who love it. Just this space, our own, enlivened by what “sparks joy.”

March 19, 2015