Our place in Stonington has rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. More rocks, in fact, than the mortal mind can imagine in its wildest, rock-filled dreams.
So what do you do with so many rocks? I’ve decided to get in touch with my inner wa and am trying to develop an ersatz Japanese rock garden along the edge of the creek, in the weedy waste area between the big boulders and the water’s edge. There’s lots of different shapes and colors of rocks and stones, large and small, some smooth and some rugged, in the down yard. I dig up and pick up the stones and then place them cheek by jowl, trying to fit them snugly together like a granite jigsaw puzzle.
No doubt expert rock garden developers would chuckle at this weak effort, but it’s been a fun way of addressing the rock issue that allows for some creativity, too.
I’m not a fan of most figurines. My mother and grandmother had a lot of those delicate china items, usually depicting women in gowns with umbrellas and kept on tables where little boys could easily knock them to the ground and ruin them forever. I simply have no appreciation for them, perhaps because I grew up afraid that I’d break them.
My grandmother also had some interesting carved figures of men and women from the Far East, dressed in traditional Japanese and Chinese garb. I’ve inherited them and keep them on my home desk, and they’ve helped to convert me into something of a fan of figurines. They are exquisitely detailed and — perhaps not coincidentally — sturdy and heavy. I’m not sure what they are made of (bone? ivory?) but they have the feel of age and quality and craftsmanship about them. I can’t tell anything else about them, because they only include Japanese or Chinese characters on the bottom of the base, with no English to be seen.
Russell, ever the artist, said something interesting recently. We asked him what he wanted from a particular place, and he said he didn’t care, so long as it was “something beautiful.” That concept stuck with me. It’s nice to have a beautiful thing or two around, to make you appreciate care and detail and inspire you to work a bit hard to bring quality to what you are doing, too.