Friday, August 05, 2011

Hidden in plain sight



I'm at my dad's in rural California for a couple of weeks. The entire clan is gathering next weekend -- all six of us and our entourages (that's thirty some people at the dinner table, as I'm counting). For all the surrounding quiet, the house hops. The age range here at the moment is 7 to 93, and every decade in between.

Writing anything requiring sustained thought just didn't seem possible — but write I must, I have a couple of pending deadlines. Conversations swirl around me no matter where I am, which I am loathe to tune out because they involve people I love and don't see all that often. While there's lots of empty space here, most of it is pasture -- llama territory. Not a great place to sit and write, unless you find being kissed by a llama inspiring.

Then I remembered the old lath house, which used to abut the pool cum water reservoir (fire is an ever present danger out here). The pool moved to permanent digs up the hill some year ago, but the lath house remains. Wild mustard and grass fill the depression where the old above ground pool rested, the entrance is equally filled with weeds and spider webs. An abandoned set of steps has been repurposed by the local lizard population as a basking bed. Roses, barely held in check when this was a regularly used space, have grown feral, their thorns jutting out pugnaciously from canes as thick as my wrist.

I borrowed a broom from my dad (swearing him to secrecy), bundled my writing things into a furoshiki and walked down to clear a space. Leaves and dried rose petals flew, sending the lizards franctically looking for new spaces. I hauled up the old steps, brushing off the start of a hornet's nest, to make an impromptu desk and set up shop.

It is the hermitage of my dreams, even if I can only inhabit it for a couple of hours a day. Yesterday my niece and nephew and son came in search of my hiding spot. They walked past - twice - once as the little timer I set to remind me to stretch when I'm writing went off. I though I was done for, but though they peered over the fence, they failed to see me tucked into the shade -- and the roses are a real deterrent to anyone trying to make an opening in the foilage!

My nephew wondered if I had climbed up one of the pine trees at the edge of the pasture. "She doesn't climb trees," the Boy informed him. "She's just not that agile."

I beg to differ. I spent many happy and cool hours on retreat ten feet up in a weeping beech tree just a few weeks ago. I'm agile. As well as hidden in plain sight...



The lizards have decided that my occupation doesn't preclude their use of the space. I like the shade, they like the sun. When the shade goes, so do I!

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of "pugnacious thorns." Glad I will be on your (for a bit) side of the country tomorrow!

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