To A Small Garden | 6.20.21
The Sunday Edition
Isn’t it fascinating how wide the scope of our dreams, how varied the constitution? Some wish for tall buildings and city lights that never sleep, some for mountains and pine trees as far as the eye can see. Some wish for giant houses, swimming pools, for landscapers and personal chefs, some wish for the sea.
I’ve rambled my way through about a billion explanations as to what shape my own dreams take, stressing all the while how simple a scene it truly is. I don’t want a mansion, I have no use for a garage full of cars. I’ve never been interested in yachts, in enough money to call myself rich, but there is something that’s been pulling me since I was born, something that calls to me every hour of every day, something that soothes me when I’m lucky enough to stumble back to it, that plants ache every moment I’m not. I, like some others, wish for the sea. I wish for the simplicity of a life, I wish for a tiny home with a view of that ever-changing water. I want a long dim hallway with photographs we’ve taken on the walls, I want the light soft, overcast, and I want to forget what it is to squint, to avoid the brightness like it burns, for sometimes it does. I want rainfall on roof, I want thunder above the waves, I want a kitchen with a door that opens on the top and the bottom, depending on how much air you wish in, how open you want to be to the creatures that stir outside it. I want a small garden out beyond, to grow small bits of our own food, to eat the fruits of that labor over a dinner as the sun fades off and lights the tips of the waves, I want the soundtrack of tides.
One night on our honeymoon, Sarah and I stayed in a tiny fisherman’s cottage on the East Neuk of Scotland, right below St. Andrews, not far from Crail. It was a lofted cottage, and the total size of the place was roughly that of our living room and kitchen now, all combined. Small, simple, dimly lit, perfect. I remember sitting there with the door open, looking out to the sea beyond, and starting to cry. I remember this feeling of comfort, but more, of longing, wash over me in a way I don’t really know how to quantify. It’s something stronger than ache, something more visceral and permanent than longing, it was subcutaneous, it was in the folds of my heart, in the drops of blood it pumps, it was cellular, and I know now, it’s not going anywhere.
Something strange about this realization, especially one of this magnitude is this: It gives you an aim, but it also hurts like a son of a bitch when that aim is awhile off. I know, given my current circumstance, that we’ll not be able to have this existence for quite some time, I know there are things that keep us landlocked for the time being. This is ok. The aim is still there, the seed planted, now we just must endure the winter of waiting until that spring, now we must find the beauty in the delay. I will do my best, it’s all I can do, but I’m also honest enough to admit it hurts. One day, that simple life by the sea will come. One day, I will breathe and smell salt and softness, rainfall and fog. One day, Home will take on a new meaning and I will grow quieter in it. One day will come, but not yet. Now, I look for small slivers of that same peace, I manufacture them when they do not come easily. Now, we work hard in the preparation, store those seeds far from the snowfall and frost.
Now, we live.
A long dim hallway
and a kitchen with a door
to a small garden.
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