Thursday, August 25, 2011

on a different life

There are days when I imagine that I could have a life very different from the life I have*.  When I imagine that instead of getting on a subway and coming in to this office, I am walking out the back door of my house to work in the flowers.  I have built this up in my mind so that I look past the long hours and back breaking work and only think of my hands in soil.  Of working for myself, of building something that is mine, and it feels kind of wonderful.  
I've mentioned before that sometimes the ideas and plans for my life come from a fleeting or foolish feeling rather than practicality.  When I think about the farm, the flowers, this kind of work, I see what it feels like.  What it would be like to be exhausted at the end of the day from real work, to move among something that's living and produce something of beauty.  To feel just a little quieter, a little slower.  When I sent an idyllic photo of a woman and her baby walking through her flower farm to my Dad a while back he replied, "But just think, she either got up at 4am to start her long day or has enough money that a staff of people are out there doing the work with her.  It's not easy."   But I fell in love with that photo.  With the sunrise over the zinnias and the baby on her back.  I wanted that.  It's kind of like when I was a kid and decided I wanted to live in the South because I loved the way Spanish Moss looked hanging from old trees on long, winding driveways in movies.  Yes, I could probably use some of Dad's practicality.

On the way to work yesterday morning I picked up a bouquet of flowers from River Garden, a farm owned and operated by a husband and wife team in Catskill, NY.  The pair comes down to the Union Square farmers market four times a week and has the most beautiful variety of cut flowers.  I can't imagine what it must be like to leave Catskill before dawn to get to Union Square by the time the commuters are strolling through and what work it must take to keep this going.  But I am thankful they are there, for the flowers and for the daydream they provide for the last five minutes of my commute to the office.

Union Square flowers from Hither and Thither

*I know some of my book-loving friends are divided on Irving so I won't dare give a review here, but there is a passage in A Prayer for Owen Meany that I seem to steal from all the time, as I did a bit here in this first sentence.  Here is the original:

"But pine pitch on your fingers is the same everywhere; and the kids with their hair damp all day, and their wet bathing suits, and someone always with a skinned knee, or a splinter, and the sound of bare feet on a dock…and the quarreling, all the quarreling. I love it; for a short time, it is very soothing. I can almost imagine that I have had a life very different from the life I have had."

1 comment:

  1. I love thinking of all the different lives I could have had. I sort of like imagining that there are mes in parallel universes doing all those things.

    I was trying to explain to D that Irving is divisive! Secretly, I like his books. Quite a bit.