Friday, April 24, 2020

Craving the Familiar: Notes from the Pandemic

From my side yard. 

An acre of land surrounded the house where I lived. Every garden on that land was one that I planted. By now I would have had some pots of herbs growing inside and I would have had them ready to go outside soon. I would have had some containers of vegetables started too. Delicate green shoots pushed up through that loamy dirt. Fragrant. Stems that would thicken. Later there would be tomatoes.

The side patio was slate and lined with wide, curved garden beds. A bird bath Rob and I bought years ago in Maine sat in a small garden of hydrangeas. A copper bath birds came to swim and splash in. The many Mother Day plants I received are still growing in those many gardens.

Butterfly bushes.
Shasta daisies.

Nothing says miracle like a perennial.

Surrounding the side and back lawns were trees thick enough for bears and deer to roam, home to any number of uncounted birds. My back deck was large and comfortable. I painted there. Served family meals there. Listened to and watched birds wing from branch to branch, tree to tree. I spent every season outside there. Even in winter, Rob cleared the path of snow to the grill. Even in winter as it snowed, I would photograph from that deck, aiming the lens of my camera towards the woods.


This is the first spring in the new place I live and it is industrial in design. No real gardens. A small slice of lawn, overly planned. Antiseptic. What was I thinking when I moved here?


A need arises within me as I finish the 6th week of staying home. This pandemic has me craving the familiar.

The way the third stair from the top creaked.
The way birds made nests on the light fixtures.
How light settled and silvered the leaves of old growth trees.
The way I knew a storm was coming by hearing the birds grow industrious.
The hum of the generator as it tested itself every Sunday morning.
The way silence settled like an old friend each evening.

Nothing says safety like home.