An Ocean

July 12, 2010

As I was spreading a great sheet of black plastic on my lawn to dry, I suddenly recalled a scene from the first summer we lived in our house…

My husband was still on the island, finishing jobs and packing up his business. I was here, in my new town in an old house with three of our four children. We had landed on the mainland in the middle of a heat wave, with little money, no in-town friends, and one TV station.

During the day we’d spend our time reading and going for drives to small lakes and new sights. At night, we four would gather in the largest room in the house, watch the crappiest¬†public television station in the country, and fall asleep on mattresses with the sound of box fans circulating the warm air.

Gradually, we started to make house home. First one, then another child started sleeping alone upstairs, and I started to unpack and put things away.

One day, feeling the loss of my island home, I drove to the fabric store and bought yards and yards of unbleached muslin and boxes of green and blue dye. I dampened the muslin, spread it out on the lawn of the big back yard, sprinkled dye from one end of the fabric to the other, then splattered the whole with drops of bleach. The result? Ocean spray, green seaweed, blue water. When dry, I draped the island  across the windows of my new living room.

A nice thing… framing a new view with memory’s ocean.

7 Responses to “An Ocean”

  1. Why don’t those dumb reno shows do cool things like this?

    Oh wait. I know. Because they’re not artists.

    Awesome visual.

  2. Sarah…this work just gets better and better. This post is so personal, and the sentiment is so universal. Lovely and inspiring.

  3. Annie said

    seeing can be believing

  4. Catalyst~40+ said

    Wow, what an inspiration for new curtains for my new place… could you email me more details? and …
    What a great memory. I love the beach and have had my entire abode decorated with a beachy theme. Now that I am starting a new life as a couple with my boyfriend, I am sure a whole house full of my whimsy will not be possible. One room will though… Great post showing your talent, ingenuity and terrific writing. Thanks…

  5. Gary Spykman said


  6. Laura said

    Lovely snapshot of a few weeks in your lives. The drapes as ocean metaphor really captures how we all use objects and decorations to hold our memories and our hopes. Great piece.

  7. OwlSaysWho said

    You are so good! This just oozes with life…the good, the wistful, the reality, and the ways in which we hang onto memory . . .

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