Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hell Is Other People

So said Oscar Wilde, and after this week I am inclined to agree. Up until this past week, I was the sole full-time resident of the building, the 2 floors below me were offices and therefore empty (and quiet) after 5pm and on the weekends. I really appreciated that. Well, in a cost-cutting move, the owner of the building converted 1/2 of the floor below me into a small apartment and rented it to a very young couple- I didn't realize 12 year olds were cohabiting and signing leases these days but apparently i am behind the times.

And like all young people these days they apparently cannot exist without a very loud soundtrack to their lives. I am now treated to seismic bass notes from 5pm onward, it makes me want to clomp around in wooden clogs or build shelves in the rooms above their apartment when I get up at 6:30 every morning...

I have also been in retail hell this weekend, working at a huge Sheep & Wool Festival on the other side of the river. Ah the panoply of human folly that unfolds before me- parents totally cowed by their small children; said children making a mess of the booth while their parents stand by absolutely oblivious; people asking me for the website where they can find some of the merchandise we offer for sale- not our website, mind you; after standing in line for 20 minutes for some food, the couple in front of me finally reach the counter and suddenly can't decide what they want to eat from the extensive menu of 6 choices and proceed to discuss these options in excruciating detail; 2 couples standing in the middle of our space simultaneously having a discussion of the restaurant choices in the area, not buying- or even looking at- anything, and preventing actual customers from entering our space and purchasing our wares, and on and on and on.

The Sheep & Wool Festival has been compared to medieval festivals in its rustic character. These folks makes me wish it was a medieval festival- complete with stocks and ducking stools...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tis a Gift to Be Simple

I work at a northeast-native-plant nursery on the weekends and we are beginning the long process of shutting down for the year. It means a lot of repairs need to be done, herbaceous plants need to be cut down, pots need to be put into the bins where they will overwinter. Between tending to the needs of customers, I spent the day re-organizing the remaining pots of raspberries, currants, gooseberries and other edibles, finding spots for them in the bins, topping the bins up with the mulch that will insulate them. It was a day of many textures and sensations.

Most of the day the sun was out and the air was brisk and dry. The blue of an October sky is a blue even I, who dislikes most blues, cannot resist. The worms had been busy in the old mulch in the bins and had turned the bark mulch into a rich, dark, dense cake of castings. To my nose, the new mulch smells slightly of coffee and dampness- not an unpleasant aroma but inescapable. The texture of the new mulch is very friable and light. The stems of the black raspberries are bloomed with a waxy pale blue over rich purple. I helped myself to a luscious 'Autumn Bliss' raspberry. In the background, goldfinches were calling all day with their "zee-zee-zeet?" merrily feasting on the many seed heads from the summers' spent blooms. Bumblebees were still making the rounds- there are enough blossoms still around for them to do their work. One of the dogs at the nursery, an utterly charming Icelandic Sheep Dog, named Brinja, came by every once in a while to get her belly rubbed and then, in canine quid-pro-quo, insisted on licking my face and ears for me. By late afternoon, the sun had warmed the local fox grapes enough for them to release their heady fragrance. It was like drowning in a vat of hot grape juice- intoxicating. Unfortunately, the pulp of these grapes is insipid- and that is being charitable. At the end of the long day, when I just could not do another row of "socket pots," I headed home and stopping by a hardware superstore on the top of a ridge, sat and watched a glorious sunset for a few minutes.

There were many more delights for the senses- I neglected to mention the lovely colors of the sassafrass tree's three mitten leaves, the large display of 'Harrington's Pink' New England Asters, a few remaining Monarchs nectaring on the New York Ironweed... and on and on and on. A rich and rewarding day; and I am grateful for the chance to be present for its many gifts.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Few Trips Around the Colorwheel

I realized last evening that I have not posted for a few weeks- since leaving Thrums End and my first night in my new place; here is what has been happening.

I am slowly settling in here, I have learned the benefits of earplugs for dealing with the noise in the night and block-out liner for drapes for dealing with the street lamps that seem charming from street level but not so when one is trying to sleep. I am getting used to the wonky floors and walls in this place- I do not think there is anything at right angles anywhere
. I am unpacking and have made a few trips to the storage unit to retrieve belongings. Setting up, putting away, slowly but surely.

Starting even before I moved in here, I had assumed that I would paint and decorate using the same palette I had at my former home- I loved the colors, warm tones, earthy and subtle. But the more time I have spent here the more I have been seeing a very different palette- colors my Great Aunt Jean used- icy turquoises, limey greens (overlap with my old palette,) orchid (!) salmon, and eggplant to ground them all to keep them from being too sweet. The wood trim is all dark and that will ground them also. What!? Where are the clays and mosses? I have appa
rently moved from earth to ocean. So, I put my ear to the seashell and my eye to the horizon and pick up my paint brush.

Meanwhile, in the studio- have I been making art? Yes. Happy with what I have done? No, not really but I trust it will come back to me.