Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I think of winter as the god’s domain. The goddess and her daughter mourn or sleep, while the god tries his hand at giving life, and gets it wrong.

I went for a dawn walkabout this morning. In summer and fall it’s a ritual, but I always forget the peace and joy this brings in the cold weather as well. The light snow drifts down, just an inch or two deep.

Walking around a cold bare garden in winter, you feel the earth as stone and see the plants as dead, the garden is a grey monotone without form or function. But walking around a cold and snowy garden you see the shapes— of a low stone wall, or of the pond, yin in the water, yang in the stone edging. The plants become plants again with each twig or berry capped by a tiny drift of white.

Seeing the garden in such stark contrast recalls for me the volume and edge that define it. The eye follows the line of luminaries that mirrors the wall, and lands on the metal bird nestled between the sedum (so glad I remembered not to cut back the sedum). Even the trite statement of Italian lights becomes magic in the bluegrey dawn. You remember why a thing becomes trite— because it’s so wonderful that everyone does it.

I think I will decorate for the holidays after all, and bring some of the god’s magic inside.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You're not getting the security deposit back

Having finally acknowledged that my son moved out more than five years ago, really, my daughter (who also doesn't really live here, but whatever) took over his larger room, leaving the small front room for another use.

And until there are grandchildren sleeping over, that means, for me. So I turned it into a trash-novel library and seed-starting station, since it's got the only window in the house that gets anything approaching direct sunlight.

We've made a pact that any rehab-type projects will be done right, since when we moved in decades ago we basically just slapped paint on everything and now it's all falling apart. But looking at Nga's old room now, with all her bits and pieces, photos and BFF paraphernalia stripped away, I really don't want to have to do it right. I also have a bone deep sympathy for landlords.

What A Mess. At some point, one of them wrote all over one wall with that glow-in-the-dark puffy glue.Nga  liked sticking photos to the wall, and apparently at one point used glue, which left not just residue but bits of paper stuck there until, I suppose the second coming, because it would not come off with just a knife. Apparently not liking the glue, she switched to scotch tape, which has become one with the wall. I'm going to have to heat strip it. Rather than pulling unused nails out of the wall, she just banged them all the way in, sometimes leaving holes in the plaster.

I've said it before. They leave, but little pieces stay behind.