Commonplace, from the Latin locus communis and the Greek tópos koinós

I spend a lot of time thinking about what is common to a particular place and how to gather these elements, how to commemorate them (somehow: in language, mostly, but increasingly in textiles, in hoards that resemble the nests of inquisitve birds or pack-rats). I used to keep an actual commonplace book but the habit fell away and I’m not sure I could devote myself to the practice again; my days are often completed filled with, well, the dailiness of my life. Yet I love to discover my old books in the drawer of my desk and read through them, amused or appalled what I chose to note down. Nothing quite as lovely as this passage from Virginia Woolf’s “Hours in A Library”: “[L]et us take down one of those old notebooks which we have all, at one time or another, had a passion for beginning. Most of the pages are blank, it is true; but at the beginning we shall find a certain number very beautifully covered with a strikingly legible hand-writing…”

Just now I took a little walk around the garden and realized how there were small things I wanted to record. The poppies I saw burst into bloom yesterday —

P1100189P1100196— one snake of the two I saw mating earlier by the garlic bed:

P1100191and a tree frog in an empty pot:

P1100187I spent a few minutes smelling the roses in what I call the “rose garden” but which is really a collection of potted roses on the upper deck (out of range of deer):

P1100181Then I paused to admire the progress John is making with the trellis/gate he’s building at the entrance of the vegetable garden (I requested this because the deer fence is so severe; I wanted something a bit more whimsical!):

P1100186And into the vegetable garden itself to think about picking lettuce for dinner:

P1100199and maybe some of the great peppery perennial arugula to spice it up: