Sunday, March 18, 2012

the cellist and the garden

I’m sleeping on a bed that was made for a cellist.   The bed is raised high up off the ground by shelves at its head and foot, and in the middle, under the bed, is an empty space.  A place to keep a cello for a cellist who once lived with little space to spare.  Now the bed is in a small cabin just north of Fort Bragg, and the space under the bed serves well the suitcases of visitors who come to the Pacific coast and let the ocean breathe into them.  The cellist is no longer a cellist but a gardener.   “I hated being inside.  Hours in the practice room – that was the worst thing for me.”  

From the gardens around the cabin comes the night-time song of frogs.  The garden around the cabin is beautiful – plants and trees shape this living space, extending to the outside the created world of a home that tends and protects.   It has been raining a lot, and all the outdoors brims and drips with water droplets. Under the wide spread of a cedar tree is an outdoor bathtub, reached across a green carpet of baby’s tears ground cover.  I lie in the steaming bathtub in the dark, under the branches, after the rain.   
Garden bathtub between the leaves

All the more striking for its contrast with the sheltering intimacy of this garden, at the end of the lane, the road gives onto the wild sand dunes of McKerricher State Park.  A vast open expanse of dunes leads down to the ocean, rising up to over 100 feet and then opening out into broad, wind rippled flats.  Grasses, succulents and other hardy coastal plants grow here: in many places the grasses have an established hold on the sides and crests of the dunes, but there are other places where single leaves or shoots appear through the sand, at the mercy of its shifting in the wind, and always ready to press and grow their way back to the surface.  The sand, and winter storms, has also reclaimed stretches of the old logging haul road, the line it draws down the coast from Ten Mile River erased and blurred at intervals into the surrounding dunes.  Turning away from the water and heading inland back towards the tree line, the sound of the ocean gradually diminishes as each dune you round hushes its pounding roar.  From the bathtub, the continuous motion of the waves is still audible from beyond the garden.

McKerricher State Park

1 comment:

Junsui said...

Oh, how lovely! So glad you're getting a break (is it spring break then? Already?! Why is this year zipping by?)! And glad to see you and Belle are getting on so well. x :)