Miranda lifted her face to the sun. She loved the way the garden smelled in the early morning, the earthy dampness from the light Seattle rain, the whiff of pine, the sun just beginning to release a hint of jasmine from the trellis. And if she leaned in close enough to the roses – she cupped her hands around the dewy pinkness, buried her face in the flower, and closed her eyes at such sweetness. She often wished they could move their bed out here, sleep under the stars, put up a little canopy against the rain –
There was Paula, waving to her.
“Good morning!” called Miranda, and crossed over to where Paula was planting flowers along her wooden fence.
Paula stood and held up a potted flower. “Just look at this clematis – it’s as big as a saucer.”
Miranda reached out to touch the pale purple flower. “It’s beautiful.”
“Just got it at the nursery yesterday. They still have some left.”
“I’ll go this morning. I need to get flowers for the window boxes,” she said, gesturing to the garden house. “I think we’ve found a renter for the summer.”
Paula inclined her head. “I thought you were going to use it as a studio.”
“We changed our minds. I want to organize the house first. Then think about what I want to do with the garden house.”
“I hope that doesn’t mean you’re going to postpone your plans again. I remember a time when you were always working on some painting or sculpture or something.”
“Yeah, well – that was ages ago.”
“What is it you’re afraid of? What’s stopping you?”
Miranda laughed at the ridiculous notion. “I’m not afraid of anything, Paula. It’s just – I haven’t done anything for so long, and…”
Paula put a hand on her hip. “Does this have anything to do with turning fifty?”
“No, of course not. No. Not at all. It’s just – I’m not sure if I can tap into that part of myself again. I think it might be gone.”
“I don’t believe that for a moment. It’s in there. You just need to dig.” And with that, she knelt back down and shoved the trowel into the ground. “So who’s the tenant? A young painter with a five-year old child?”
Miranda laughed at the details of her earlier vision. “No, an older man. A teacher.”
“Well, you can still move ahead with your plans. No reason you can’t paint outside or in the garage.”
“First I want to organize the house. Now that the kids are gone, I can clear out old stuff, get rid of things. And then think about painting or whatever.”
Paula gave a skeptical raise of her eyebrows.
Miranda pushed her foot at a clump of grass along the fence. “I think it will help me to focus, to start with a clean slate. I have so much stuff – old pieces I’ve held onto, half-finished projects. I want to lighten my load, and start fresh, you know? Then maybe by the fall or so I can be ready to really work.”
“Hmm. Well, don’t throw away anything without letting me check it out first. The new shop opens in a month. I need to fill it up, and your things would add just the right touch.”
“I doubt if there’s anything you can use, but I’ll start going through things.”
“You really should start on something new, as well. You’ll have the time now.”
“Yeah.” Miranda nodded and looked around. “Well, I better get started with everything. See you later.” She began to walk back to the house.
“Don’t wait too long, Miranda!”
Miranda turned and waited for a final word of reprimand.
But Paula was holding up the pale purple clematis. “They’re sure to go fast.”
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