Today is my first day of housesitting at Bewitched Garden, in the north suburbs of Seattle. My friends, who gave their house that name because of its intricate back-yard garden, have departed for the marketplaces and fresh SIM-cards of the former Byzantium.
I'm in a house packed with good fiction, a shy, basement-dwelling gray cat, two small dogs (one with tall, fringed ears that leap in his friendliness, the other pint-sized and barking to ward me off, the new intruder), and an unfamiliar microwave.
High-grade pork, it wanted. Okay, I said. Forward arrow, again.
The screen had a further inquiry: “1-2 slices?”
I thought about how European houses and Turkish apartments are smaller, the beds narrower, the luxuries decreased. At the same time, I realized: Yes, but our culture (and most contemporary ones) is about the small things that make us feel settled in a place.
In addition, there are Japanese maples with their starry fall foliage, a shed in the corner, an iron bed-stead around which plants poke and grow, a few plaques and signs, a thin iron canopy over a bench -- its supports hung with a sparkly-sided lamp with a lavender bulb, herb gardens in squares, trellised wisteria, a side garden, and three gnarled apple trees set like benign witches around the yard.
Photo of single wintergreen berry by Nicholas_T, Flickr Creative Commons license.