Any garden/home tour that incites me to clean out the office is money well spent. Cleaning for me has never been a daily spritz here, a light bit of dusting there, but a long-delayed, ferocious, all-out assault when conditions become unbearable, when the work surfaces disappear under piles of magazines. The house keeps itself going fairly well, but the office, where we spend most of our time, becomes a sty in no time at all. The judgments are always excruciating. Keep the stacks of unread New Yorkers? Look, here’s a piece by Adam Gopnik I missed. They stay.
But cleaning has its rewards. A 20-year-old photo of
Pamela Toby,* probably watching my boys playing in the shallow pools on an Oregon beach.
(Every Newf is Nana in Peter Pan.)
Garden magazines are just as hard to toss. And I have to put myself in the mindset of the self that last cleaned the office and gave all this stuff a pass. Why was this Garden Design spared, the September/October 2009 issue? Was it oversight or deliberate choice to keep it? Flipping through I find an interview with landscape architect Christy Ten Eyck and this question: What has inspired you? And her answer: “Brimming bowls, as in Moorish gardens, inspire me by using the least amount of water for the most effect. They suggest that water is abundant, which of course it isn’t in an arid climate.”
As if commanded by unseen forces, I immediately drop the magazine, rise up and head for the copper fire pot that was used a few summers ago as a brimming bowl. It was collecting algae by the hose spigot in the front garden. A quick rinse and it was back in place. Evie and I love a good brimming bowl. I just needed a cleaning day to remind me.
*I was corrected by both boys, on Mother’s Day in fact, that this is not a photo of Pamela after all, but her puppy Toby, who was half-Newf.