Friday, February 19, 2010

This and That

These February days are slipping by so quickly.  I try to catch little snippets here and there with my camera and journal.
Keeping a daily journal was one of my goals for 2010--that is, really to improve on the fair-weather writing habits I've had most of my life.  Revisiting the pages of an art journal I kept off-and-on four years ago was the inspiration to change my ways.  Surprising, I found it wasn't so much the longer, detailed entries that I enjoyed looking back on (those often written when I was processing something difficult in my life and feeling a bit melodramatic), but the little lists of things I'd done, the places I went, what I ate, and so on--sometimes paired with a random description or insight that was particularly (or unexpectedly) thoughtful or beautiful.  These entries, while certainly not very juicy, now help string together the memories made on those simple, everyday days that would otherwise so easily slip away.  
Reading the ones I made when Erik and I lived in our studio apartment off of SE Belmont Street, I find I can better recall the quality of light on the well-worn hardwood floors; the sound of the 100-year-old screen door as it slapped against the door jamb on our way out to the balcony for an alfresco dinner; the feeling of the deliciously cool basement and how I would linger down there doing laundry on a hot August evening.  These sensory things are unwritten in my journal, but they float between the lines of my haphazard handwriting and  the little lists recalling the day's events.
These days I'm especially noticing and recording things out of doors.  We're putting up more feeders to attract birds to the garden--and amazingly, they come!  Dainty crocuses bring us a first bit of color to our otherwise dormant front yard.  But still, when I slow down and look even closer, I find there is beauty in the earthy brown texture of a garden in winter, especially when it reveals the tiniest evidence that new life is coming forth.
Wandering the neighborhood during a recent stretch of sunny days, it's impossible for me not to spy over picket fences and stuccoed walls, eager to see what other peoples' gardens may reveal in the glory of spring.
Sunday morning I awoke to a surprise pair of blue garden clogs, gingerly placed amongst the pile of books and journals along my side of the bed--a gift from my sweetie.  And  funny how they foreshadowed events for the rest of the day.  That morning I was off to an estate sale that yielded two large ceramic pots--in just the shade of blue I'd been searching for--and a rusty, twisted, metal arbor for some climbing vines I want to grow for the hummingbirds.
 
I wish I could tell you that my yard shows off these pretty things as nicely as their previous home, but it doesn't at the moment.  This sale took place at a delightful bungalow with a huge front porch and an equally charming courtyard-style backyard.  This little oasis was surrounded by mature landscaping and filled with vintage patio furniture, pots, plants, and even a diminutive potting shed.  People were putting sold signs on things left and right, so I was happy to get my two pots and vine trellis.  Mind you, it was a very muddy effort hauling them down the street to my car.  And the enchanted bungalow garden was just the inspiration I needed to start uprooting the abundant weed population in my own yard when I got home.   
So there's a bit of February in Portland for you, my friends.  Hope you all have a lovely weekend.