I’ve been a full-time resident of this zip code for three months now. It’s not a rural setting by any stretch, so it feels strange that I can look out 32 square feet of office window and not see any neighbors. Just tree trunks and foliage.
When I lived in Oklahoma, where 360 degree horizons are the rule, a friend who had moved west from New Jersey remarked on the way trees in the northeast seem to elbow into each other’s space. I remember squinting into Oklahoma skies, my shadow the only shade in sight, feeling like spilt milk. Here in Nether Providence I feel very much ensconced. So much so that I’m pulling up a dim recall of a letter I once read from Georgia O’Keefe, writing about visiting her girlhood home (near Williamsburg, VA) and complaining that the relentless green there oppressed her eyeballs. I’m sure she stated it articulately, but I’ve managed to capture the gist.
I still marvel at and revel in this denseness of greenery, the concentration of birdsong, the variegation of light filtering through all this vegetation. When the middle of summer rolls around, I know, the shadows will be so thick, the light so filtered that it’ll resemble what I imagine the inside of an aquarium looks like. But when the middle of summer rolls around, I’ll be on the road. For the first half of summer anyway, I’ll barely be home long enough to run a load of wash before it’s time to pack and head out again. I won’t have time to get tired of the shade.
So…three months in my new home. I’m getting accustomed to the aural wallpaper of televised hockey games several times a week. A lot more casual conversation. A lot more human contact — pretty much with just one human being, except for the days when I’m gigging and then I’m swimming in a soup of human beans, but it’s only a short swim. I’m still looking for my rhythm with the daily-ness of hanging out under the same roof with someone else.
I’m glad we have the cats. I’m even glad they all pretty much hate each other. Not so glad when they express their displeasure in liquid form outside the litter boxes. But still — they give us something outside our own selves to focus on, to laugh at and about, to fuss over, and try to figure out. If they were well-adjusted good friends with one another I think we’d miss the distractions.
I wouldn’t miss Vole Patrol, though. The ivy outside must be teeming with the little critters, because I almost step on one or two a day — little chubby furry things. I know cats are predators and voles are prey. But what gets caught outdoors should stay outdoors. Inside the house they are vermin.
I spent sixteen years in Oklahoma City feeling parched, longing for shade. I got what I wished for — La Jungla. It comes with it’s own liabilities. I’ll adjust. A couple of days ago I had the presence of mind to capture a live vole and take it back outdoors. I’m toughening up.
My new studio is up and running enough to start making stuff. The first order of business is a steampunk bridal bouquet for my son and daughter-in-law’s third wedding…to each other…in less than a year. It’s the fifth of May. I’ve gotta get busy. The deal is: I make the flowers, Jack engineers the actual bouquet. He’s also in charge of taking the camera lenses apart and disemboweling wristwatches in search of flower parts. We both marvel over the adorable little gears and screws and eyelash-sized sweep second hands.
I love knowing where my tools are. I love all the horizontal space. And the light filtering through a green canopy and a 32 square foot hole in the wall. I think I’m acclimating just fine.