Monday, February 22, 2010

Belmar, New Jersey, February 2010

I am writing this note on the train going to Belmar on a sunny February morning. T and P recently bought a house in Belmar and have put the old one up for sale. Over the years, V and I spent many weekends at that house and I happily put in many hours working in the garden: making new flower beds, planting herbs (thyme, sage, lavender), replanting the day lilies and sunflowers I would dig out from empty lots, weeding, trimming, cutting down invasive vines, building a compost bin, raking leaves and planting bulbs in the Fall. Even though this time I know I will find the garden covered under snow, I brought along my camera to record what is perhaps my goodbye to the beautiful garden at the old house.

When I wrote to my friend M in December about being a bit distressed and depressed about the prospect of losing the garden in Belmar, which as I pointed out to her had in any case never been “mine” although I had certainly developed a possessive attachment to it (which, fortunately, T an P did not seem to mind), M wrote back about the “funny nature of our relationship with places.” M also wrote that I should try and remember and cherish all the good times I had working in that garden and that this was what mattered. True.

What would I miss most about New York if V and I were one day to move elsewhere? These places quickly come to mind: the Walter Reade Theater (for films), Housing Works stores (mostly for books), Demel (for tea breaks and those amazing cakes in the Viennese tradition), La Bergamote, the High Line (for walks), the Hudson River (again for walks along it), La Mama Theater (where we recently saw a great play “The garage” by the Zagreb Youth Theater), and a lot more places I cannot now think about. I imagine that we might discover new favorite places that would in time displace some of these, but others might not be so easily replaced.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to finding out what the new house looks like along with the new garden that comes with it, which I am told, and for now at least, is still mostly a large snow-covered patch of lawn.