My usual writing spot at the kitchen table was all cleared off and waiting for me. A song bird chirped in the patio, a few wispy clouds decorated the soft blue sky, and John Williams–randomly chosen by my “mellow” iTunes playlist–plucked his guitar. I pulled out a chair and paused. Nope. Pushing the chair back in, I rolled up the pages I was planning to work on, slid them into my rather commodious handbag, and grabbed my car keys.
Once or twice a week I like to get out of the house and write in one of my favorite tea or coffee shops. Cafe Louvre, where I was headed that day, is within walking distance, but I was eager to get started, so I drove.
In the summer, Edmonds has a lively feel. People emerge from their wintry nests to fill the sidewalks, shops, and cafes. Not surprisingly, when I drove past the cafe, all the nearby parking spots were taken. I drove farther down the street and up the hill. After a few loops, I ended up several blocks away from Cafe Louvre.
Unlike private gardens, street corner gardens are open to all, and they’re free. The Butchart Gardens near Victoria BC, for example, charge $31.45/adult this time of year. Even Seattle’s beautiful Japanese Garden, which is a public park, charges $6.
In the 21st century we no longer dress up and entertain ourselves by promenading through formal gardens. Street-side gardening with hanging baskets and street corner plantings fit better with our lifestyle. We don’t even have to get out of our cars or leave the sidewalk table in front of Starbucks where we’re sipping our iced lattes.
I lived once in a place where I was surrounded by too much gray and not enough green, too many hard, brittle surfaces and too little that was supple and alive. I’ve experienced the way everyday ugliness saddens the soul and how, in contrast, beauty imparts joy.