Chatter Creek Cottage: Bradford Pear Tree on Northbranch Road

IMG_20160425_073824512-2OMG, I’ve got a cursed tree! Here I thought it was so beautiful and then I went on line and found out it’s the most hated tree in the world, it’s gorgeous flowers smell like a beach full of dead tuna and it dies young and smashes up all over the yard. Well, I’ve loved the beautiful and the deadly in the past, I guess I am loving the beautiful and the deadly again. Beneath its cursed lushness it soothes me, like the charm of a serial killer. It’s Brutus, or Judas or Delilah. It’s what you could refer to as a bad boy who paints like Monet or a nasty, nasty girl who is gifted, like Natalie Merchant.


But I love that damn tree like the daughter that gets into drugs or the son that wears dresses or the dog that bites you. I mean it’s beautiful! It’s Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce, it’s Madonna naked on a motorcycle, the mumble from James Dean, the murderous charm of Ted Bundy. God, what have I gotten into, I love my tree and all over the Internet it has this reputation of being absolutely evil. I’m told it should be cut down and buried deep, like Dracula.

But I don’t understand! It’s absolutely breathtaking, even though its flowers are said to stink I smell only perfume. The grass under it doesn’t grow, that’s true, it’s cursed but it soothes me, it thrills me. It’s music and poetry and emotion, yet underneath they tell me it’s a cursed demon. Well, I’m going to think of it as a Corvette convertible on an open road driven by an incredibly handsome man who texts while driving, lies to women, doesn’t take care of his mother, has too many tattoos and smokes like a chimney. That tree is a metaphor for all the times I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Yet, let it be. Give it a second chance, who among us hasn’t shown a pretty face when underneath there lurks a curse?

Chatter Creek Cottage: Can I make a Living Doing This?

IMG_20160417_085509505_HDRSpent all day Saturday in the yard raking up dirt and planning where to put what flowers where, what bushes to plant along the fence, what hanging baskets to hang on the porch and what color dirt to put in the beds. Picked up a lot of mulch and threw it over the edge of the property. I pruned the roses and the lavender bush, raked leaves and decided when to paint the fence. It was really great fun to walk it, assess the wear and look forward to rolling white paint up and down our pretty picket fence. I can’t wait to turn that ugly duckling in to a beautiful swan. This is definitely the best work I’ve ever done. There is something so creative about it, so enlivening to stick your hands in the earth and tend to flowers.


Of course, at the end of the day there was the sun and the Adirondack chairs on the back deck.. There was wine and cheese at 4:00 to soothe the workout of my fingers, my knees and my legs. The wine must have done its job; I will be back this morning with the wheelbarrow, the clipping shears and the rake. I could do this every day for the next fifty years. If heaven is a place, please send me to Chatter Creek Cottage and to gardens and lawns basking in Spring and transitioning in to Summer.

Chatter Creek Cottage: By the Fire

IMG_20160409_172652069There is nothing like doing nothing by a fire. Well, not exactly nothing, sipping wine and eating Brie on a fig and olives marinated in garlic and lemon. I never think of much of anything at all in front of the fire. The fire captures me and I stare at it, zombie like. I am giving my mind a rest and the fire reassures me that I can and that I must. I am too alert in Manhattan, too anxious about this or that, too concerned about whatever and too damn hyped up on traffic, traffic lights and too many bimbos on cell phones who walk in front of my car talking or texting about what they perceive as vitally important. I might have run them over, their not aware that it is my light but thankfully I come to my senses in time and one more cell phone junkie lives another day.

I wonder if they know how to do nothing by a fire. Conversation is lazy when the fire burns and cackles. Putting the next log in is the perfect weekend exercise. What I perceive this weekend as vitally important is the warmth of it and the lazy, cozy vacation my muddled thoughts are on. By a fire I am happy, by a fire I am vulnerable. By a Fire I am in love.

Chatter Creek Cottage: The Older the Better

IMG_20160327_091800156I seem to be lost in time. See my image in the glass taking a picture of our new India Cabinet? It makes me think of time, a subject I’ve given to two books because I think time holds the answers, is the mystery. Therein lies the truth behind the sequential lie of past, present and future, none of which exist.

My India Cabinet is two hundred years old and in it’s reflection I am two hundred years old. I love old things and old photographs because time seems captured. I love paintings that reflect time, an artist seeing something beautiful, putting it on canvas and then giving it back to us. That one still moment that is caught and held prisoner by the illusion that it is gone.

Nothing is gone because we can’t see it. The memory of flying paper airplanes with my father and laughing at a Miami bus stop with my mother is not fading in my memory, it exists in the spontaneity of life, where memory is the keepsake box. One day the box will open and loss will fade away.

I love old things, the eyes that once beheld my treasure, the hands that caressed the very same wood, the admiration for the skill and craft of its creator. I am in the moment with my antiques and my keepsake box and time teases me with my illusions. I can only see as far as I can feel. I can only know what silence whispers while time, complex and endless, taps me on the shoulder.