Monday, May 03, 2010

the bird and I

Every once in a while someone will ask me – what ever happened to the writer’s shed? (Ed and I worked hard on creating a space for a shed on his property two summers ago, and then, with the help of a shed builder, we put up a structure where I could spend all idle hours writing.)

The shed remains unfinished. For a while, Ed wondered if he would have to relocate, given the threat of a development nearby. Then, too, we got stuck on how to finish the interior. With water? With heat? Without either?

Slowly, the project is being resurrected. I’ve come to accept simplicity. Worry not about heat or plumbing – is my motto of 2010.


Wonderful. But the other question you should have been asking is – but what about the farmhouse?

Some of you may remember that Ed claims as his residence the sheepshed on his farmette. On the same parcel of land, we now have an unfinished writer’s shed. And there is a crumbling barn.

But in addition, Ed’s property also includes a farmhouse. Well you might ask – why not simply take my work and plunk it down there?

...Because the farmhouse, in my opinion, has some very fatal flaws. Fixing them would cost more than building a separate writer’s shed. Nor is it clear that the farmhouse should be “fixed,” given the ever present danger of a huge development project moving forth on the adjacent land. (If and when that happens, Ed is out of there.)

Still, as I spend a good portion of the season in Madison, I am drawn daily to Ed’s farmette. It’s as close as I’ll ever get to memories of my grandparents’ place in the Polish village...

...Except that my grandmother was obsessively clean. Ed is perhaps the opposite.

Eh, one strives for compromise. Today, Ed and I cleaned up a corner of the farmhouse, so that on the days I am at the farmette, I can spread out, without cats jumping onto my laptop and without, well, the mess of the sheepshed.

Knowing that I’m beyond fussy, Ed spent the morning wiping down windows. I vacuumed up about a quarter million dead bugs. He put up some of my photos for decoration, adding his mother’s bronze statue (his mother was quite the artist) just for visual distraction.


But really, my distraction was not on the inside. My eyes were on the bird. She was outside, in the rafters of the porch...



She’d been there for a while. Clearly I was sharing space with a more permanent resident. And every time I moved, she moved. And so we continued watching each other all day long. It was a far, far better way to spend a day of work occasionally glancing up at her, than casting a constant eye at the Internet.