Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Eclectic Lifestyle

Our garage sale morning could not have been more perfect -- blue skies, sunshine, light breezes.  I positioned a comfortable lawn chair and small table nearby and waited for our customers to arrive.  Unfortunately, they straggled in slowly all day, and the sale itself was not very successful.  However, our conversations were interesting.  Several people commented on my lovely yard, which boosted my spirits because with the hot, humid summer we have experienced, and a knee injury which has me sidelined a bit, the weeds are taking over in my gardens, and I have felt neglectful.  One woman told me she would love nothing better than to sit by my little pond with a glass of wine and enjoy the serenity.
And I thought about my philosophy of gardening -- I plant and weed, but for the most part, I let nature take over.  Some years the phlox will be breathtakingly beautiful, and other years the deer will chomp the tops off before the first buds have a chance to open.  Black raspberry bushes have taken over parts of my back garden and an area beside my garage -- they are thriving, but I did not plant them.  I gently prune bushes, but tend to leave them as naturally flowing as possible, to offer refuge to the birds.  My garden is a hodgepodge, but it is pretty and soothes the soul.

I have never been inclined towards structure and formality in any area of my life.  Coloring between the lines is not my style.  I fell in love with my old Victorian house with its ancient kitchen because something about its long life spoke to me; I saw the possibility of creating a warm haven for my family in this well-worn home.  My home has always been more about function and pleasure than formal Victorian d├ęcor.  Most of my furnishings are either estate sale finds or family pieces -- with the scratches and scars that come from being well-used.  My closets and storage areas hold a variety of items that represent my many interests -- sewing, knitting, flower arranging, gardening, holiday decorating.  The kitchen cabinets overflow with old soup pots, cake pans, bowls, wooden spoons -- all of the utensils that have helped me to feed and comfort my family and friends through these long years.
The dining room and its little walk-in china closet hold my beautiful collections of china, tablecloths and napkins.  So many dinners have been served in this room, with its 90-year old table and chairs.  China has always been a passion of mine; I cherish an old friend's set which is complete with butter plates and ramekins.  I use this infrequently, though, because it must be hand-washed.  There are so many memories here of much-loved family and friends gathered around the table, enjoying delicious food and the warmth of togetherness.  My little antique china closet holds family treasures -- the silver champagne goblets from our 25th anniversary party, my mother's miniature tea set, and nativity figurines from my childhood. 

My life itself has been eclectic -- years spent pursuing the things I loved, rather than the most practical or secure.  An earth mother of sorts, my years of mothering my children were my happiest days; there were part-time jobs from home -- typing, crafts, babysitting.  There was always some party to be planned, or costume to be made, or special dress to be created for my daughter.  Long hours were spent in the kitchen -- cooking, baking, sharing coffee and heartfelt conversations.  Reading has been one of my fondest pleasures, and my bedroom is filled with notebooks and journals of my writings.  I love dining in a beautiful restaurant with linen napkins and delicious food, browsing through dusty antique shops or bookstores, touring historic neighborhoods, and walking quietly through a nature preserve.

To many, my life may seem a bit "provincial" -- very little travelling, residing in the same small town all of my life -- but I have nurtured children, animals and flowers; I have created a warm, welcoming home for friends, and I have had the time to pursue those passions that bring me the greatest pleasure.  I have followed my heart --


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