From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens —
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind’s eye.
—Katherine S. White
Off to explore a quartier which has greatly changed since we lived in Paris. The formerly industrial neighborhood is now home to a cultural-educational-flower-filled park edged with spiffy apartment towers, and the 19th century stone wine warehouses now accommodate shops and restaurants. It’s an easy walk across the Seine to the four controversial towering volumes of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, today packed with students cramming for the Bac.
Despite looming deadlines, my husband and I finally celebrated our [August!] wedding anniversary with two days in Lewes, Delaware, strolling through the pretty town, hiking along the beach, relaxing and being dreadfully spoiled by the delightful owners of the beautiful Virden House B&B, whose garden I sketched.
In celebration of this shortest day, this longest night of the year, a poem by May Sarton, and a chair in the National Cathedral Bishop’s Garden, painted during a snowier winter than this one looks to be.
Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.
Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
Where the wild creatures ranged
While the moon rose and shone.
Why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?
How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we’ll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.
We spent the afternoon exploring the Jardins Suspendus de Marqueyssac, perched high above the meandering Dordogne with stunning views of the surrounding valleys, villages, farms, and cliffside fortified castles.
We are happily settled in the Maison des Peyrat, a delightful B&B in a renovated farmhouse on a sunny green hill above Sarlat. I think our room was once a stable, but we sleep on beds, not straw. Sitting peacefully beside the salt-water swimming pool, we can watch the cows in the adjoining field, yet after breakfast it’s an easy walk downhill to the busy center of Sarlat village, crowded with vacationers in this high season.