|BEFORE: looking out the front door|
|BEFORE: View from the front gate|
|BEFORE: Looking left from the gate, w/trough|
|DURING: tree and arch are no more|
When I returned home it was gone. The trees, the rose bushes, the lawn, the sidewalk, the trough... cut down, demolished, and hauled off. We now have a spectacular sweep of biscuit-colored earthen tiles, terraced on two levels, with much more modern drainage. The little olive tree still stands bravely in its own square of dirt -- Paddy insisted that remain undisturbed. Three more slots were left for planting something in. It´s a lot less dirt than I´d specified when I talked to the builder.
It´s my fault, some of it. I went away and left the job in other hands. I wasn´t here to tell them otherwise. So I got the "garden" the builder wanted -- a blast of right angles and hard sunlight. It´s new and clean and shiny. We had to immediately start painting the surrounding walls, which suddenly became a gallery of five years´ worth of grubby.
Of all the things that went, I especially mourn the passing of the ivy arch. I loved that arch. It was the first thing I saw when I first walked into the gate of the Peaceable. It was sweet and rustic and alive all the year ´round, and now it is history.
|AFTER: View out the front door|
|AFTER: View from the front gate|
|AFTER: Well still is there, but no trough or tree!|
But there is an iron structure to support a vine. And I do have long, wide flowerbeds to work with. So we set out to soften the hard angles. I planted three kinds of lavender and several kinds of herbs, and put a healthy jasmine in a huge pot beside the vine-arbor. (Now if I could convince the dogs to not sleep on them...)
We put the outside dining table up near the front door, and when the parasol is up and the table is set it is a jolly sight. I climbed up onto the roof and put the new chimney-pot on top, a capriccio from southern Portugal. It is crooked, but it is now set in concrete. We painted the chimney-piece ochre. It looks very nice. Paddy painted the mint-green potting-shed a deep Greek blue.
It´s going to be all right, I tell myself. We just need to sit with this a little while, and freshen up the paint, and get some plants growing. Next year, maybe, add a small fountain. A wall painted with an Abstract Expressionist thingy. Some ivy. Some birdsong.
The sky is very blue these days, and with the spruce gone we can see much more sky, night and day. The birds are not gone far. We have another big spruce out back.
We have a house, after all. It is paid-for. We are happy, and relatively healthy. Life is very good to us.
The poppies bloom madly. The rye and oat fields are turning gold. The air is sweet with new-cut alfalfa. The guitarists are back, filling the churches with music, and Kim Herself is here, shimmering, if only for a couple of days.
Nothing lasts. Everything changes. This, too, shall pass.
|Portuguese chimney-pot, Castillian ochre|
|Harry among the flowers|