I love working in the city. People walking on sidewalks, glimpses of sky between buildings, so many odd conversations. One morning I listened to a hard-hatted construction worker and a toothless street man discuss the local Audi dealership, as they separately drank their coffee at a donut joint.
But if I can’t spend my weekend in the suburbs I go a little nuts.
Rose bushes, Chinese evergreen elm, the garden. I’ve lived in this house for 27 years, with only a short hiatus during the divorce, and I love my yard.
Could someone please write an ABCdarius of California-happy plants and gardening terms.? Acanthus, batis, cymbidium, dig.
But one feature of the garden has bothered me for some time. A pond. It was supposed to fend for itself, no pump, just the lovely natural system of plants, oxygen, and water. Maybe a little de-cholorination thrown in to combat suburban water treatment. Instead, raccoons ate my lilies, parrotweed took over, and a squirrel drowned herself in the waters. I pulled out the decomposed corpse. I can still conjur up nausea thinking of those shiny guts.
Besides, I worried about the neighborhood children mistakenly wandering through my gate, and accidents.
So the other weekend I had the gardeners fill the pond in. Just like that. Now it’s a space covered in the pavers that make up my paths. Eventually, it will gray. I’ll interplant some texture.
I worried that my kids would be sad. After all, this is their family house. They get very attached to specifics. But when I texted them the photo, my daughter said, “Beautiful! It was time.” My son told me that the pond hadn’t been part of his childhood. Who knew?
As mothers, we are responsible for the abstract home. Some fathers equally. But it’s abstract, this home, and therefore the constructed relationship of symbol and ritual to reality shifts without warning. We can let go of more than we know. Just never the children themselves.
I’m planning another water feature. After all, Feng Shui says that I need one in the northern corner, not of stone but of metal. I’m imagining a rock base about 2 feet high, and a shallow copper basin. A birdbath, if you will. The sprinklers will fill it up, the sun will empty it, the copper will turn green. I welcome suggestions from all you tasteful resourceful folk.
This is a very good time of life.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone. May squirrels chatter happily in your trees.