Summer Home Making

I just got back from raiding the empty lot down by the lake. There’s a beautiful spirea bush there that blooms in fountains of spilling white on to the road pavement. I was going to take my bike, but the tire is flat. In the car, driving slowly, looking in on the neighbor’s gardens and building projects mid-morning on Wednesday is ridiculously interesting. These days of being able to work in the garden or putter about the neighborhood looking for forgotten bushes full of flowers to pick for my vases are rare.

Today I shall paint the living room wall where we took down the library shelves. There’s a story behind the shelving. Elv’s mom enjoyed using a huge six feet wide bookcase made by a nephew for her book collection. When she moved from the farm house to her smaller space she gave it to me. I am not sure what I was dreaming about, there are no wall spaces wide enough in our house to accommodate it, but I wanted it anyway. Hey, its a bookshelf and we have lots of books.So I tried several different places, but it always stuck out past the wall and didn’t fit right anywhere, yet we needed the shelving for our big library. One day I took it outside and split it exactly in half. It was well built, I found out, requiring considerable tools and hard work to do it. The end result, two bookcases, turned out pretty rough with the odd-looking board on the one side. We used them for our school room for a while. Over the years, they got moved around, sometimes to two different floors. Apart but twins. I often worried that Mom felt I had ruined her creation.

The day came during one of my home keeping/decorating adventures that I hung them, one on each side the window, on the living room wall. And painted them right into the wall. I thought it looked strikingly like the magazine pictures of a modern cottage library with the table under the window and all that. Actually, it did look really cozy. Elv is quite patient with my home making endeavors, always, but even he liked it. And he knows that he can afford to wait for change when he doesn’t like something.

Last week, I noticed that the one by the dining room was threatening to fall off the wall, hanging a couple of inches away on the one side. Great would have been the crash had I waited too much longer. So I decided to take them down, still unsure of what to do with them. I still need them, I have all these books, you know. I had just made another major change the week before by taking out my desk area made of six feet of countertop, putting the coffee bar from the dining room there instead. Simplifying. So this fell right into line with that. I had too much stuff on the walls, our rooms feeling congested. So down they came. The wall looked empty and forlorn to me. The books stood in stacks on the floor for a few days while we adjusted to the wall space: empty, dirty, and ugly.

Then Elv thought of where to put the bookcases and their contents. “Let’s set them up at the cabin.”

“Oh yes!” I chimed in, ” I know exactly where I want them.” So we boxed up the books and Brad took both bookcases entirely apart and packed them up to ride with the books in the bed of his pickup for going north next day.

At the cabin, Brad spent a couple of hours putting the two bookshelves back together again into one big shelf system. It turns out that this is the only wall in our two houses that perfectly backs this bookcase. I think Mom would be delighted with how it has turned out. Many of her books are on these shelves as well. Even though the room is unfinished there is a sense of completion and accomplishment in having the bookcase back to its original form and this space arranged like I had dreamed it to be.

And now that empty dirty wall. Next on my list of things to do is to paint it and to hang the curtain back up on the window. On the window that now opens into the room because I installed a screen in it. For the first time in all the thirty years we’ve been here the window swings open on hinges allowing us to invite the summer in to our room. We don’t even miss the bookshelves, it’s so lovely. I’ll show you how lovely after my new phone gets here.

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