Sunday, January 4, 2009

Peace on Earth?

The gift wrap is all gone, the photos have been shared, the kids have gone back to their respective homes, taking cookies with them, thank the Goddess of Sweet Snacks, and the place has returned to its winter somnolence.

Sort of.

Our neighbor, who would probably like to remain nameless, decided that he needed to re-orient his above-ground pool. In order to do that, he needed to police the margins of the new spot it now, already, occupies. In order to do that, he needed to climb the two trees on our shared property line and trim all the large and small branches that stretched over his side, so leaves and doot-skreet wouldn't fall in his pool. In order to do that, he had to use a chain saw. Right above my head, while I was trying to work on a recalcitrant essay about the joys of nature. Joys which evaporated as branches swished past my little window and thunked to the concrete on my neighbor's property, right next to my little garden-shed studio. Which is I how I discovered his nefarious plan. I say nefarious because now my studio, which was once more or less quiet, somewhat secluded and tucked discreetly under the spreading branches of the two locust tree, their trunks acting as protective barrier between his yard and ours, now stands brightly revealed. Exposed. Not secret.

I don't like it.

Writing, for some reason, is a very private act for me. I don't like being observed while writing; for a long time I wouldn't even tell anyone I was writing, just "working on something." Even now I'll say: "I'm going out to the studio for a while," or "I've got a project going on." I can edit or write at a coffeehouse or in libraries, but that is privacy gained from anonymity. I prefer, when possible, to wait for everyone to go to bed before I start writing, as if it needs to be done surreptitiously. Un-noticed. Why this is, eludes me. It's a comfort thing, I guess, a way of ensuring no distractions or interruptions, or a way for the imagination to be paramount, run rampant, with no fear of witnesses.

The trees, after a day and half of his efforts, were quite lopsided, unbalanced and potentially unsafe, ready to topple in a windstorm, with the heavy side of the tree right over MY STUDIO. So Heroic Spouse has spent the past two days sawing opposing limbs off our side and making cord-wood out of it. (No one wants me handling a chain saw.) Then there was all the clean-up: twigs, leaves, sawdust, branchlets. etc. It was not the activity we'd scheduled for our weekend.

Today, after stacking, raking, sweeping and stuffing our Garden Waste can to overflowing, after finally putting the saws and clippers away, this neighbor suggested taking the trees out completely, because as he points out, now they are pretty much butt-ugly. No, duh. In which case there will be nothing between my studio and HIS POOL. Just a chain link fence, some headphones and my seething attitude.

I'm googling thick, fast-growing, climbing vines. Honeysuckle. Jasmine. Trumpet flower. I hear they are good bee habitat. Now there's some nature I can enjoy.


  1. Grrr on this neighbor for exposing your sanctuary and forcing you to cut down your trees.
    I get it about needing privacy to write. My best writing happens when I'm unobserved. Kind of reminds me of "Danse Russe" by William Carlos Williams:

    Danse Russe

    If I when my wife is sleeping
    and the baby and Kathleen
    are sleeping and the sun is a flame-white disc in silken mists
    above shining trees,—if I in my north room dance naked, grotesquely
    before my mirror waving my shirt round my head and singing softly to myself:"I am lonely, lonely.
    I was born to be lonely,
    I am best so!"
    If I admire my arms, my face,
    my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
    against the yellow drawn shades,—

    Who shall say I am not
    the happy genius of my household?

    William Carlos Williams

  2. I love this poem; I appreciate your posting it. May we all be the happy geniuses of our households! (Though when I read this poem out loud to the Heroic Spouse, he thought the last line was the "happy penis of our household." Granted the dishwasher was on....

  3. You know that's a limerick just waiting to happen...;-)

  4. you are so right!
    There once was a Happy Genius of the Household...or There once was a Penis Genius? hmmmm. Think I better work on this. great idea, Noreen, thanks!


Noise makers!