17 August 2008

From English to French

Our house in Colorado is on the market right now (I know, what market!?) and even though we've had lots of potential buyers view our home, we have heard twice that our backyard is too small. It was professionally landscaped and I'm of the English garden aesthetic, where nature is allowed to grow and overflow its containers and be itself. So I have a lush and private backyard. I thought it might be wise to prune for potential buyers so the yard looks bigger. Two enormous bags of greenery later, I've pruned back the yard and it now looks to me much more like a French garden, everything perfectly shaped and trimmed as if it had been sculpted from concrete rather than free-flowing from a seed. In English gardens plants are allowed to spill over their containers; in French gardens the plant is the container.

While out there clipping and trimming, I found a small wild bee clinging for its life on one of the hedges. Its wings were wet with rain and it had lost the strength to fly. Every time I trimmed branches around it, it lost its balance and hold on the leaf, so I placed it on a garden chair beside a dragonfly that was also too wet to fly. It pained me to cut back my rose bush, but I'm still enjoying the fragrance of the roses that were cut off.

From this...

to this...

(Both images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

In the meantime my gardening assistant had removed her gloves and cut herself on some of our tall grasses, which despite their delicate looking form, are more like gracefully curved swords like thinly bladed cutlasses. After being bandaged in Scooby Doo and rose petals, she decided to sit on the steps to keep me company with her songs. Savannah made up a song about her favorite words, "My favorite word, my favorite word, I have a most favorite word and objection is its name..." Objection? Is this further evidence that she's going to be a lawyer when she grows up? I'm not even sure where she read or heard this word but she wanted to sing its praises for five long minutes.

Everyday she reads whatever she can, street signs, the safety literature on the airplane, menus, words from the books I'm working on. On the airplane her new words were: raft, life, vest, help, exit, slide, landing, front, and crash.

More news on our trip to New York later.

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