The splendid table.

harvest bowl 2015

From my window, I am watching the neighbor’s dog survey her kingdom. She is sitting atop a wrought-iron table, under a green canvas umbrella, watching birds and squirrels and, perhaps, a few invisible things of her own imagining. She is the picture of utter contentment.

I should get up and do something, should walk or sew or play a game or make sun prints. I should water the plants and change the sheets. I should do something, anything. Certainly I should get organized for tomorrow’s first Sunday school class, as I am entirely, thoroughly unprepared for it. Also I should figure out what the hell to do with the patty pan squash from this week’s farm share bag (or, as Bernard likes to call it, next week’s compost addition). When all else fails, cooking usually works.

But what I have promised myself is that I will sit down and write, at least for 20 minutes, despite having run completely out of words, at least for the time being. I have puttered here and there for several weeks now, poking at various essay drafts, none of which will cooperate and come together the way I’d like. I’ve been writing, in fits and starts, about the comfort of routines and about how, over time, the death of one’s parents becomes more liberation than loss. But it’s all sort of muddy and mushy and very much not ready for sharing, and that’s that. The more I push, the less it complies, making me want to avoid the whole thing.

The neighbor’s dog is now stretched out fully across her table, soaking up the warm sun. She is oblivious to her audience, me, perched by forced march at my own table in my library, the table I set for writing and sewing and drawing and editing photographs. The table to which, someday, the words will come back.

Happy week.


  1. My 3 cats are doing the same watching birds, squirrels, and chipmunks run past them on the patio. I am running around doing “10,000 things” thinking that I should take a break!


  2. My musical miss has had a writer’s block since 2011. She can write commercially, but that’s about it. Nothing to really express herself. Musician Ricki Lee Jones had a block for seven years. Even Dylan had two major blocks of about seven years each. It’s sort of like a hitting slump in baseball. The harder you try, the more you can’t hit. Everybody agrees. Don’t try so hard. Strip it back to the very basics. Or, don’t write anything that matters until…


  3. Wonderful piece. I am filled with “should” talk, too. Constantly thinking of what I have to do next. Sometimes I’m successful at telling myself, “it’s okay to sit here and read.” I like the line about parents’ death eventually becoming more liberation than loss.


  4. Please, oh please, come over and we can go for a walk. We can talk about what to do with the squash (also my farmshare eggplant, I’ve already composted a huge container of eggplant caponata that was not a hit with the masses.) You can tell me that once I get used to the kids being away all day, the words and images will come, and I can tell you more or less the same.
    Lovely little blog post. I’m so glad you wrote it (and that I read it.)


  5. Once again, what she ^^ said!

    Let’s plan a “write out,” with you and Jen and I, and we can meet somewhere and inspire each other. Struggling with words, with what to do with myself, with what to do with the 3 young men living at home right now… struggling. I hear you, and send a hug. I’m guessing there’s some grief in there; a neighbor’s dog can do that. (( hug ))


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