|"Short days ago/ We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow/ Loved and were loved..." from In Flanders Fields|
Like a bee drawn to a flower, I can't resist a gorgeous garden. While I admire the grand expansiveness of Versailles' chateau grounds on the outskirts of Paris or the futuristic wonder that is Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, it's the simple vegetable garden that most captures my imagination. I can close my eyes and pretend that it's mine. That it's attainable.
Driving through the countryside of Dry Creek Valley in Northern California, what I mostly see when I look around is this...
|Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery|
Vineyards stretching hither and yon, as far as the eye can see. I am in the birthplace of California wine making.
After living in Malaysia on an island covered in lush, tropical jungle and accustomed to seeing one palm tree plantation after another whenever we took a roadtrip on the mainland, these acres of wine producing grapes seem almost exotic. They are what draw hordes of tourists and wine connoisseurs to the region. But I am more interested in what's huddled up close to the vineyard tasting rooms.
|The neat and tidy veggie gardesn of Quivira Vineyards|
|Tall stalks of lupine at Quivira Vineyards|
It's the home garden that I fantasize about creating. Instead of going in to try glasses of wine, I'm having more fun wandering around the yard and pretending that it's mine. I'm getting drunk on daydreams.
In my mind's eye, I'm carrying a big basket on one arm and a little pair of clippers in the other. I gather fresh vegetables for the day's meals and cut flowers to arrange in vases around my home.
|"Dandelion Wine. The words were summer on the tongue.The wine was summer caught and stoppered." - Ray Bradbury|
I have time to lazily lie on my back, gazing at the sky and looking for cloud formations. Time to watch my children pluck dandelions and blow on it puff by puff.
|"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - William Shakespeare|
For goodness sake, time to stop and smell the roses.
But I don't ever seem to have the time.
The life of an expat and traveler seem at odds with this yearning I have for a bountiful garden. In getting ready to leave our home in Texas to move overseas, I carefully winnowed down my flower beds, leaving only the sturdy perennials that could hold on for a few years until I returned. Now that I'm back, I can't seem to get into the groove of gardening. I find myself not wanting the bother of figuring out who will water my plants when I'm on a trip.
|The tasting room at Preston Vineyards|
So, I pretend. I pretend that the tasting room is my house.
|View from the Preston Vineyards tasting room|
And that my friend Julia who is driving me around lives next door in an equally quaint cottage.
|The chicken yard|
As long as I'm dreaming, I may as well have chickens...
... and my kids don't mind going out to collect eggs every day. If I'm going to dream, I may as well dream BIG.
|Garden path under the pergola|
Alas, it's all just a dream. A giant dose of fantasy layered over everything that I see. So, I fold up my thoughts and store them carefully in the back of my brain, hoping that they'll someday see fruition in real life. In the meantime, I can walk the gardens by the vineyards and enjoy them for what they truly are.
Does your desire to travel affect the choices you make in everyday life at home?
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