Oh dear. What happened here? Did he drop dead from all the beauty?
Or is he doing that thing that dogs do when they come across something utterly irresistible (a piece of rotting fish, a desiccated wood vole): drop to the ground and roll around maniacally in an attempt to get it all UP IN THERE?
I'd like to think it's the latter. It's how I'm feeling, at least. Spring is here and I want to roll around in it, I want carry its scent with me wherever I go. The ancient bluebell woods are calling, and I long to see them.
I am utterly captivated by this article about Eudora Welty's house and garden in Jackson, Mississippi (discovered via automatism). Miss Eudora, as she is known locally, was an intrepid collector of plants, risking life and limb to secure the perfect bloom:
...she spent most of her life weeding and watering with her mother, browsing through seed catalogues and bulb bulletins, trekking through the swamp with a bottle of snake-venom antidote at her hip to find specimens for archipelagos of flowerbeds and planters. When her night-blooming cereus plant (“a naked, luminous, complicated flower,” she wrote in The Golden Apples) began hinting at exposing its fragile white buds each year, Welty would throw parties that would last from dusk until dawn in its honor.
(A friend from Miami told me her family also threw an annual party to honor this exotic, ephemeral specimen, which blooms once a year for one night. I think this is one of the most romantic gestures anyone could possibly make.)
Like so many writers, Welty saw a kinship between writing and gardening - the former nurtured the latter:
Her letters to friends tracked time by what was in bloom, what plants she could see from the window of the breakfast nook. “The sight of the garden and its scent!” Welty wrote in a section she edited from One Writer’s Beginning. “If work hasn’t proved it real, it would have been hallucination; in this sense gardening is akin to writing stories. No experience could have taught me more about grief or flowers, about achieving survival by going, young fingers in the ground, to the limit of physical exhaustion.” For Welty, gardening was the process that helped distill the imaginative jumble in her head into stories. It was in the garden, Welty wrote in her papers, that she first "set myself at a storyteller’s remove."
Her cozy, unpretentious, book-filled house reminds me of the delightfully cluttered, offhand beauty of Monk's House and Charleston House - the sort of places you'd want to read and write and daydream.
This weekend I stepped out onto the balcony for the first time in months to take a peek at how my roses are getting on. After clearing out the dead leaves, empty beer cans, dryer lint (?) and random pieces of paper towel (??), I started seeing tentative signs of life. I got so excited I couldn't keep my paws off the thorny little bastards - and consequently retreated scratched and bloodied like a tom cat from his first fight. May is coming! May is coming! May is coming!
OK, so May isn't really coming anytime soon, but a girl can dream, can't she? A girl can dream about a whole vacation planned around roses, can't she? How about a trip to a rose festival, where the world's most fragrant roses are produced? Or a journey through the most beautiful rose gardens on earth? On this dark, gray February day, the thought of rose-filled adventures lifts me from the gloom.
Other earthly delights getting me through the day: