This morning was ladies’s group. They loved the new coziness of our meeting room. I worked hard in there last week to rearrange and change it. It went from a purely functional room to a space that is cozy and welcoming.
I managed to merge my library, crafts and lessons into one room that serves all purposes. It was a challenge to make sure that it wasn’t cluttered. I cant stand clutter.
I whipped up some pumpkin bars last night for the “grand opening” celebration this morning. Coffee, pumpkin bars and good company. You can’t ask for more!
It was wonderful to sit together in such a fun space with the windows open, a cool summer’s end breeze gently stirring the curtains and the papers on the table along with the steady caw of a karasu that was stealing a few tomatoes from my garden.
After the ladies had gone home I had some time and energy to spend on tidying up outside.
Our one and only “big” tree has died. These are the last of its stubborn leaves that were finally stripped away by the winds and rain that have been passing thru. I have been cleaning these up for months now. The tree, now bare, is ready to be cut down. I’m both happy and sad to see it go. It was always such a mess to clean up the leaves but, it did provide wonderful shade to the patio during summer.
The clean garden. Still wild though.
It never seems like work to me to putter about the garden. Today I spent time pulling weeds and trimming back the unruly passion flower vine that just won’t go away. I’ve surrendered to it and built a make shift trellis for it. Actually, I let it climb on the trellis that was supposed to be used for the kabocha.
The trellis provides a bit of privacy between our house and the neighbor’s. But it doesn’t really matter anymore because old Mrs. Umbrella hasn’t been there for two years now. Two winter’s ago she fell and her son, a doctor, insisted that she move to his town and live in the nursing home that he owns. So-she did.
She was a character! We knew her daily habits after just a short time of living here. Everyday at around 5am the squeak of her garden tap and the thumping of her plastic watering cans would wake us. Her tap is pretty much outside our bedroom window. About thirty minutes later we’d hear the WHACK WHACK of the bamboo carpet swatter as she beat the dust out of carpets that were slung over the laundry poles.
At around 6:00 am hubby would wander out to the patio to have his first smoke of the day. Standing outside in his pajamas-coffee cup in one hand, cigarette in the other I could hear the short conversations with Mrs. Umbrella who was still tending to her garden. Back and forth over the wall the conversation went. She made a point of telling him that she was 83. For three years she was 83.
We would always chuckle at her funny way of talking. She was an elementary school teacher in her youth and she must have been great with the kids. She was sharp whited and rather rough around the edges but…she never left her house without her hair done up and make-up on. Even if it was just to go into her garden.
I was thinking about her today as I was training the passionflower vine on the trellis. I noticed the familiar odor of mothballs that always came from her open windows. When I glanced over I saw her kitchen window open. Her daughter and grand kids take care of the home several times a week. A couple of weeks ago they came over and ripped almost every flower and bush out. I was stunned. She had such a beautiful garden! There were potted flowers and flowering bushes and roses. Her little trees were so wonderfully manicured and everything looked so healthy. But, I suppose…it’s a lot to take care of. I guess I can understand ripping it all out. I was sad to see it go though.
As I made my way around the side of the garden to my own water tap I stopped for a moment and gazed over the wall towards Mrs. K’s house now barely visible through the bushes that have all but swallowed it. She died a little over a year ago and although I never really spoke to her as she rather kept to herself, I miss her.
She was also unique. Many times when I would be outside in my garden I’d hear music and singing coming from her home. She was a karaoke teacher specializing in Enka – a popular Japanese music genre. I actually love Enka and to be out in my garden with the sound of her voice singing so beautifully was such a wonderful experience. I truly miss it.
Each time I saw her leave her home she was wearing kimono….on her way to a give lessons I suppose. She looked so elegant shuffling daintily down our little road in her kimono and zori.
This early autumn afternoon I remembered her as I gazed over the wall towards her traditional old home.
The coolness of the afternoon was comforting. I thought about this coolness several weeks ago during the sweltering heat. I knew it would come and it has. I love this time of the year most-when the seasons begin to merge and shift and summer slips silently into autumn degree by degree.