I cannot love our little white cottage more than I already do... because I do with all my heart! Ah yes, it's a darling little doll's house, a storybook cottage and a jewel in a forest of privets, and now that part of my days are spent at the office, the few hours I get to be here are simply magical... and everything look dazzling, agleam, and clean and sunshiny-bright and ever so lovely... lovelier than ever, I should say, even when I know nothing has really changed.
In the morning, sunshine streaming through the old 'church-style' windows inundates the living room and main bedroom in pure sheer delight.
Then, before evening falls, it is the south part of the house. The sun hits brightly there, cascades of golden light pervading it. Sunshine on the walls and floors, on the sheer window panels and sunshine on the large, square table... and it feels as if we have been given the gift of living light, and any other light, no matter how clear and brilliant, is pale and static in comparison to this magical light.
The grass that we sow before we left to Florida has flourished with all that rain we have had, and it has filled all the empty spaces that the relentless heat and days and days without rain of last summer left us with. After we got home from work on Friday, the Fisherman and I went to work on the gardens. He mowed the lawn and worked on the hedges around each flowerbeds, while I started working on removing all that weed that creeps in uninvited. And everything is looking tidy and green--light green, deep dark green, lime green, jewel green—tones of life and exuberance, making me happy and feeling blessed beyond my imagination.
I worked in the front and back gardens all day today; removing by hand those stubborn weeds that like to grow among the pea pebbles, happy to see while doing this that every bulb and seed I'd planted at the beginning of the year and the years before this are flourishing. I also trimmed the vinca bushes I left in the flowerbeds this past autumn to make sure they do not re-root themselves and keep multiplying again.
We removed some branches and dead wood from the brittle trees that grow at the edge of the woods and spoil the cultivated beauty of the garden. And while the Fisherman worked on adding some more grass seeds on specific places, I cleaned, weeded, mulched, and sprayed every plant in the front gardens with Neem oil, then watered everything down. The Iceberg rose bushes are finally growing wider, and stronger. They are putting out what it looks like stronger, healthier branches, and although it took a few years for this, I'm already anticipating a new life and better bushes this summer.
I bought a couple of ferns that I'm placing on the urns in the front porch this year instead of flowers, then decided to take Mrs.Whaley's advice from her book "Mrs. Whaley and her Charleston Garden" very seriously, and threw away the old ferns that, although still alive, were looking feebly and doing poorly.
Normally, I would have kept them and tried to nurse them back to life, as it is my instinct with plants, but Mrs. Whaley's wise advise gave me the audacity I needed to get rid of them and start anew. I love how she puts it: "Life is full of decisions and you better not waver and quaver over each one or you will stress yourself. You will die young and miss your seventies and eighties, which are two decades that can be a delight". So alas, no more wasting my time caring for plants that won't respond to my cares! Can we do the same with people? My heart tells me no. We need to keep trying. "People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway." Mother Teresa.
I am very tired, and there's not a muscle or bone in my body that does not ache. But I'm feeling happy, and accomplished, and I will do the same all over again tomorrow when I get home after work... work in the garden, removing, planting, transplanting, embellishing, decorating, being one with Nature, because at the end that's what gives me my peace and a sense of completeness. Gardening is hope, disappointment, joy, frustration, beauty, life, and death all rolled into one. Basically it’s like a new painting that I get to star in every year. And I just love it!