Back in Seattle. Back in the saddle. Where the air is cold and damp, the sky has been lowered, nearly all colors erased, and I am extraordinarily happy to be home.
I have brought back from Brazil: an antique Santo for my collection, a couple little gems for a couple little girls for Christmas, a tan, but that’s fading, and an extraordinarily colorful etching I purchased in Rio. The print cost me twenty dollars, I believe, and the cost of framing it will exceed two hundred. For this reason, I only buy art I love, love, love. Oh, and I brought back what I consider Rio’s finest, music on CD’s. I have every intention to play a fusion of samba, bossa nova, and Brazilian jazz right through Christmas, and depending on how things are going, maybe well into next year.
O.K., maybe “extraordinarily happy” was a bit of a stretch. You have to remember, I grew up on Joni Mitchell and dwell fairly well in melancholy. Perhaps that’s why Seattle suits me, even in the gray half of the year. Gardeners know it as “right plant, right place.” The important thing is to plant yourself where you will thrive.
Years ago I gave the tropics a try. But when I think of what is most important to me now, namely reading, writing, and gardening, I wonder how I ever survived two years in St. Thomas. I mean, at the time there were no bookstores on island. And no Amazon. Whatever did we have to read other than books our houseguests left behind? And as for writing, well you either have to be alone or you have to be with someone who allows you your solitude. I did not have that. I went down there with a man who had something like Club Med in mind, everyday. And as for gardening, things grew of course but I do not remember anyone ever “gardening” per se. I’m not even sure it’s soil you can work with by digging, and then too, there’s no water. Things just seemed to come up where they may, I’d say.
So imagine my surprise a year or two ago when my sister in Boston called me in Seattle to inform me she was going sailing in the Caribbean on Sea Cloud II, a lovely old windjammer originally built for Marjorie Merriweather Post and her husband, Edward Hutton. The boat boasts four masts flying twenty two full sails, gourmet cuisine, and impeccable service with a crew to guest ratio of nearly one to one. Just as I was closing my eyes and feeling the breeze, dissolving into a union of perfect sea and sky, my sister added, “…it’s an educational tour.”
“Of what?” I asked.
“Why, Gardens of the Caribbean,” she replied.
She might just as well have told me they were going looking for sunken treasure….