Next week I begin my MFA program at UNC Wilmington, and I’ve been in the midst of a serious, life-changing event. The house closed at the beginning of July, and I haven’t written a damn thing. I’ve been binge-watching Fixer Upper and Homestead Rescue episodes, learning the difference between shiplap and cedar shingles. The fence was finally installed around the perimeter, and now the space feels more intimate, even though it is home to 10 well-aged grapevines with trunks so thick I believe they’re at least 20 years old. Along the back of the property on the opposite end is a 20 foot swimming pool, and various trees, shrubs that dot the acre of the property. It’s not vast, but there are NYC community gardens back home that are the size of postage stamps compared to this. I’ve got a lot of gardening to do.

I break out a copy of Monet’s Gardens, the book Vic bought me when we visited the NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx one hot June afternoon. Most of my books are still in their small boxes, waiting to be unpacked. I flip open to an overleaf in the middle, and there it is, Monet’s beloved pond, in summer, the delicate water lilies in bloom. On a bare table in the empty but bright sunroom, I lay the book perpendicular to the window that faces out onto the yard, and I see it, the water garden.

Working on adding a UV light filter to keep the water healthy for the fish…



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