Thursday, February 12, 2015

I prefer second-hand nature

Many of my friends renew themselves by leaving the house and slurping up nature.  Fresh air and a view. Nature is noble, I guess, and it makes me feel guilty to confess that I agree with Hercule Poirot :

"Views are very nice, but they should be painted for us, so that we may study them in the warmth and comfort of our own home.  That is why we pay the artist, for exposing himself to these conditions on our behalf."

I like my nature second-hand.

I like to read about nature in a Mary Oliver poem.  In fact, I like nature writing (Annie Dillard, Terry Tempest Williams etc. etc. etc). I like a good photograph of nature if it's not over enhanced (nature as a whore).  I like paintings of nature, if they're not too realistic.

I prefer nature manipulated--like gardens, parks and brooks with Japanese bridges.  Roof gardens!  I love an indoor garden (The Frick, the Isabella Gardener Museum).  I love a greenhouse.

I like indoors and indoor plants, especially Angel Ivy, which I buy from Ximena Tan at the The English Garden at the SL Library.  Angel Ivy is nearly impossible to maintain, although Ximena tells me I have to run water from the tap through the plant about every three days.  If it ever dries up, it's done.  No dinky watering from a pitcher.

Once, I maintained an Angel Ivy plant for years!   Plants that don't die are not worth having in the house.  You can't kill a Philodendron even if you plant it in an oil can.  What's the satisfaction in that?
I want house plants that flourish under my devoted attention.

Or if that doesn't work, I can throw it out and buy a gorgeous new one at The English Garden and pretend like my devotion had something to do with its growth.

I like to see the moon through a mullioned window.


  1. What a lovely piece of writing this is, Louise.

  2. I love the Hercule Poirot quote. And I never thought about it, but I think I whole-heartedly agree.