My young friend and her parents came to stay at the Buffalo during her spring break, and I loved having them here. It seemed so neighborly to have people you love next door, like in my old neighborhood. They enjoy this place – like sleeping late and reading, walking in town or on the beach, going out to dinner or eating at home by the fire, some nights rewatching favorite movies.
As they headed to the ferry on their last day, we walked the trail at Bloedel Reserve – past pink rhododendron blossoms, hellebore, and primula, much green grass and ducks on the pond. Part of the charm of Bloedel is the manor house, a graceful mansion that looks so livable (if one were really, really lucky). My young friend’s mother and I smiled to see it.
Houses have been much on my mind. I recently read both Bill Bryson’s book “At Home: A Short History of Private Life,” where he rambles, as is his wont, through our relationship to houses and their contents, and “A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman,” a collection of Margaret Drabble’s stories. These wonderful stories span her whole career as a novelist, but have never been collected together before. I remember houses in Drabble’s books the way one remembers characters, and first wrote about her here.
Then, looking for April inspiration, I came across the dummy pages, quotes, and illustrations for a house journal my young friend’s mother and I once talked about doing together. I also found an old sketchbook with line drawings from a solo trip to Hawaii long ago, when I drew all the utensils in the kitchen drawers instead of vistas or flowers.
These thoughts moiled around until April seemed a month for houses – with open-ended possibilities, visits, details, houses in movies? The art of life is much about house and home.
In these parts March has gone out like a lamb (albeit a lamb well-hydrated by rain), a beautiful ending with flowering trees and blooming bulbs. Indoors, on the sunny days, light reveals cobwebs, dust filigrees, and smudges – and that will surely be another part of the month of house – to see if I can inspire myself to a “deeper clean” or just draw pictures of sun splashes, never mind the housework.
I vote: draw pictures and neglect the housework. I’ll feel better about neglecting mine. Love, Jane
OK. Done! (or not done) xo
I love the idea of the “month of the house.” This is such a perfect post. Frances is definitely urging you to the artistic side of the “housework,” and I’m looking forward to reading and seeing the results of this April exploration. I already feel inspired to pay attention to my own house. Thanks!
Thanks Carol for always great comments!
Oh for sure I would draw those splashes of sunshine!!! Those colors are beautiful!!! WOW!!!!!! Love to look at your art. I pulled out some colored copies that you had sent me years/eons ago of your water color flowers….. and you made all these little notes on them… they were on your wall and then other pictures you had hanging in a gallery….. I have your pears and heart up on my shelf with ALL the other drawings you have made for holiday cards… they always make me smile. thank you. N
Thank you Netzy – what a lovely message! Hope you are having a good work week, looking forward to seeing you in The Workroom Friday with more if your amazing birds!
Working on kingfishers!!!!
Katy, I’m delighted to have found my way to your blog via REDHOUSEWEST. (I’m Katie’s mother.) I just finished reading Drabble’s Pure Gold Baby and there she was again referenced by you. Have you read this? There are many kinds of “homes” and houses in this complex, layered novel of family and motherhood framed by anthropological expeditions. I look forward to reading more of “Her Spirits Rose.” Your writing and art encourages my spirits to rise!
Hi Susan – how lovely to hear from you and welcome to Herspiritsrose…!I have enjoyed your comments on RedHouseWest very much – living in a canyon sounds much like living in Alaska! Aren’t you proud of Katie and Mera? They are making such a gift for all of us fascinated with houses. Again, welcome!
Oh, and Susan, I haven’t read, this must be the newest Drabble. I wanted to catch up the short stories first but now I’ll get with pleasure. Thank you – so glad to meet another Drabble fan!
Maybe like me you have followed her across her and our decades? I started reading her in my mid- thirties. Yes, I’m delighted that Katie and Mera have begun this blog. I enjoy these young women and their creative and loving energies so very much. I met Mera the same day Katie did as they were settling into their college dorm. I attended Mera and Chester’s wedding – lovely – but we only met fleetingly, of course!
Of course I remember meeting you on that amazing day! And yes, I loved reading Drabble’s books as they came out and paralleled our lives!
I love your book suggestions — add to the growing pile… The house descriptions in Elizabeth Goudge and Rosamund Pilcher are delicious…