An Alaska architect once referred, a little dismissively, to the kind of greenhouse window the Buffalo has as something every woman wants. (I’d asked about having one.) We who value growing things imagine such a window, full of healthy plants.
The Buffalo’s greenhouse window doesn’t get enough light (because of a shading Doug fir) to really come up to its promise, but my geraniums winter there.
And I know they are pelargonium. But do we ever really think pelargonium when we see that cheery, overly bright blossom color with distinctive thick, slightly felted foliage in window boxes, in clay pots, or passing the winter in some protected place?
They are easy to root, properly with some rooting hormone, or in a jelly jar of plain water, when a branch breaks off the mother plant. My scraggly five are all the progeny of a years-ago gift plant from my mom.
In February I fetch them and give water and food, this year I even cut them back in hopes of the elusive fullness. They spend a few months in the house, by the French door, enjoying heat and light. When the weather warms, they belong on our tiny front porch, near my mom’s old white wicker chair and a yard sale table. On the south side, and sheltered, it’s a good place to sit.
My painter friend makes memorable cherished oil paintings of just that combination – geranium and chair – inside on a Persian rug, outside on a porch. Her subjects have sunshine and certainty.
Certainty about a sitting spot I lacked here to begin with, such a simple thing, but it was strangely undoing to not know where to sit in the early morning. Mostly I manage to get up in order to have a little time with a cup of tea and my journal. The habit began in an effort to arise before children and gather my wits for the day, thinking about work yesterday and what might be accomplished today. For years I sat in my work chair, seat worn out and replaced multiple times, my feet up on the sewing machine stored under the desk, usually our heavy cat in my lap.
Here my workroom was so empty. I used a wooden stool at the high table I’d cobbled together – not a comfy sitting spot. I tried sitting in the kitchen nook, a space modeled on a favorite “settle” in a friend’s house nearby. In spite of a padded bench, view of the garden, chair for feet – it was not the right place.
Finally, like the geraniums and the paintings, I have certainty. I got a tall work chair with a welcoming seat, and I feel at home by my worktable.
Maybe what a woman wants is a chair of her own.