Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How to leave


Around 6 o' clock last evening I went up to water the farm, and to pick some eggplants (I still want to call them aubergines) for our supper.

I wondered about planting cool weather greens. There is an open pot, now, calling for salad leaves. But we will be leaving at the end of October

While the Frenchman and I were prepared to absorb the radical, $600/month rent increase our landlord had imposed, we were not prepared for some of the conditions in his new lease. Like no cats. After ten years. While there is plenty of room for legal maneuvering, this is a battle in which we have chosen not to engage. It is clear that it is time to retreat, and to cut our ties with this lovely little space.

And it will cease to be lovely the minute we leave the building. Loveliness is the ember we carry with us.

It goes where we go.

At least, that is what I am telling myself.


I cannot pretend to be happy about it. But I feel strangely at peace. At least we know, now.

There will be moments of raw sadness, especially at this time of year, when the light is heartbreaking. The colours and shapes and textures I know so well change with the rising and falling light. The intense comfort of familiarity. The terrace's botanical clock.

There is a lot to look forward to. A new New York adventure. Murmurs of an apartment around the corner. Thoughts about Jackson Heights, Queens, and its glittering hot rooftops and Babelesque inhabitants. New food, new sounds, new subway line. The first step on a longer journey that will take us even farther away.

Perhaps it is easier to leave by degrees.

38 comments:

  1. I do NOT like your landlord. It sounds like he specifically targeted you to move - doubling the rent, no animals, really?! So unfair to discriminate against Estorbo.

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  2. Dear Marie,
    I have never before left a comment, but last week I received and read your beautiful book that memorializes your garden and terrace and the life you made there. Perhaps this is the perfect time for you to begin a new adventure in another place with its own challenges and joys. You will make it beautiful. Ariane

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  3. Dear Marie,
    There are so many of us who live there with you. We will share your mixed feelings about packing up and un-doing what you have cultivated. But,also know that we go with you into something new and send you all of our energy and anticipation and confidence that you and Vince and Estobo will be OK!
    Deborah

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  4. Sometimes the best part of a new adventure is just setting a course to do it. At least there is the feeling of peace that now you know what has to be done and you can just get on with it. The book is out, so no one can ever take the terrace and roof away from you ... or us. And, you know, there might be something even better out there. (You might end up with 80 square feet!)

    A new chronicle. Peace.

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  5. You sound sad but think about it. Haven't changes in your life lead to better things?

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  6. Wherever you move to, it will be a beautiful place when you decorate it. Hope you get a bigger garden with easier access too.

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  7. Some truly lovely sentiments. This line was especially perfect, "Loveliness is that little ember we carry with us."

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  8. I am so sorry. It's never easy to feel like you have been forced from your home, especially after nine years. As the others have mentioned, we will have your book to remember the lovely terrace by. Yes, you will take the ember of loveliness with you and create another beautiful space. And we will all be with you along the way, enveloping you, Vince, and Estorbo in our loving support.

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  9. Your landlord sounds like a jerk - but I've always felt when one door closes, another opens Marie. I have a friend who recently went through a divorce. Since she works in NYC, she decided to rent an apartment nearby - so she found a great place in Jersey City near Grove Street. Your new place will be just as great for you, and your garden.

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  10. Agreed that you will take your loveliness wherever you go. Bad landlords-- bah. Though they have their purposes from time to time. Before Husband and I met, we both rented from a notoriously bad one near Boston. A tenants' union was formed. Husband and I met at a tenant's union party designed to bring us all together. It brought us together -- nearly 32 years ago -- and we've been together ever since.

    Can't wait to learn where you and Vince land next. Certainly, you have lots of good vibes coming your way.

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  11. Marie, I have a friend who makes every home she has ever lived in a special place; and when she leaves, that house is never lovely, in the same way, again, because she, too, takes that loveliness with her; it is who she is. Wherever you land, you will make it a haven, and we will all be better for taking the journey with you. I adore your book as much as I love your blog!

    Angela Muller

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  12. Marie, This is my first post but I have been following your blog for over a year. I have really enjoyed your writing, the pictures and the way you have with food and interesting forged greens. I wish you an easy as possible move of life and home and look forward to your view of the adventure to your new home. All the best for the future to you, Vince, your plants and the intrepid Estorbo!

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  13. I really do wish you the best of luck in your search for a new apartment - i shall miss the roof terrace posts, but fingers crossed you will find something even better and at least you will have this blogs' archives to preserve the happy memories.

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  14. OMGosh, I've been stalker lurking your blog for *three years*! Best of luck with everything to come & what will you rename your blog??? ^o^

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  15. Absolutely correct, loveliness "goes where we go." And you deserve better.

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  16. You will both take the magic with you and sprinkle its dust on your new home - one door closes and another door opens - may this next phase of your lives be even more special and full of the loveliness you have shared with us xx

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  17. Some people make homes, some have the touch to make havens, that special place where your soul is at peace and where it is so much more than the sum of its parts. I started reading your blog through a lovely South African friend in Glasgow and was hooked! You will bathe your new home in sunshine and possibilities and all that is unique, special and magical goes with you both - may the door that is opening make you both excited with possibilities and creativity (and if you rent next may your landlord be a sweetheart!). I bought your book today and am childishly excited to sit down and read it over here in Scotland.

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  18. What they said, Marie -- everyone. And yes, may you find a better -- and larger -- place! Will you look in Inwood or Washington Heights, I hope? The nasty landlord ( Ugh! I looked him up; he is notorious!) will get his due in the next life or destination, one prays. North & Eastern Queens as you head towards Nassau C., are also nice and more spacious. Good luck with it all and Blessings upon your beautiful heads.
    Best,
    Diane in Denver
    but a child in 10033 & 11530

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  19. My heart goes out to you. Maybe your sense of peace comes from the realization that you can no longer live in a space owned by someone you do not respect or trust. It's incredibly sad it had to end this way, but out there somewhere is a kindred soul who will appreciate and welcome your bright light and giving soul. Thank you for allowing me, a complete stranger into your inner world. Blessings to you all ... I can't wait to read about your new home.

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  20. I can't do anything, but agree with what everyone else has already said so eloquently. May you find peace, job and a huge garden area in your next location! Don't you dare stop blogging!

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  21. I have enjoyed reading all the beautifully written, loving comments. You have created such a large community of caring people.

    And we'll all hypothetically help you pack, move and hold the light steady as you open your first bottle of Proscecco in your new shack.

    The adventure just starts a little earlier...

    Shame on him though.

    xo jane

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  22. Move up to Woodstock and have a proper garden.

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  23. You'll take the magic with you, for sure. I just received my multiple copies of your book (many Christmas presents ticked off!) and I have to say, it's a joy to read. I - like many other commenters - haven't been able to put my own copy down. Thank you for sharing your terrace and your New York with us; not many get to take a beautiful, published book with them to their new home, in memory of their old. You are so talented! Congratulations!

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  24. Really pained by the inequity and meanness of this situation..

    But you have friends, good friends--those loyal, adoring mates you both deserve, and who reside not only in the ether, but rather alongside you.

    Whatever you decide, wherever you go, we travel with you.

    And friends are known to help friends..

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  25. Dear Marie,
    Thank you so much for graciously sharing your 66 square foot terrace with us all - it has been a wonderful, rich journey. I can only imagine the mixed emotions that you must be feeling right now - sadness at leaving, the peace in knowing it must be done, and a sense of newness at the prospect of starting over somewhere else. We all will be wishing you, Vince, and Mr. Estorbo the very best. I have become so familiar with your small, but very grand and beautiful garden that you have created and know that wherever you end up, you will create something just as beautiful and magical as your dear rooftop terrace (and I do hope that you keep us all posted!). -Beth

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  26. If you have to leave then doing so after the publication of a brilliant book with a title taken from the place you are leaving, seems a good way to do so. Thank fully place does not equal space, and I look forward to hearing how your new place will add to your (the Frenchman's and Estorbo's) space.
    Korien

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  27. Wishing you all the best. Can't wait to see what you do with your next space but I will truly miss this one. Must order book...
    Alexa

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  28. Clark, your words are the ones I would have chosen. The only constant is change x

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  29. I feel the sadness you are going through deciding to leave the little piece of paradise that you've made. So many of us have loved the garden as we've followed along with you, the Frenchman, and Estorbo. But there are more places that can benefit from the beauty that you bring to this world and I'm sure you will find just the right one. Wishing you all the best.

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  30. Marie,
    You walk in beauty, and thus it will follow you and Vince and Estorbo.

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  31. I agree with everyone and especially with Cecil - you always find and point out the beauty in things. It's a quality I admire and aspire to. It will work out and we'll all be with you.

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  32. Paul (Too Slow To Have Though Of This Before Posting The First Time) WSeptember 11, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Oh! (duh) While it's too early to think about a new garden, if and when you desire anything we grow, please send a list. It would be a pleasure to send it to you as a garden warming gift (and part of our perpetual thank you).

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  33. In the words of L.M. Montgomery "...my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend..."

    I hope you find a beautiful nook to live in and garden in and find some peace and excitement in the bend in your road.

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  34. Don't forget to include thinking about crossing the River, to Jersey City. I know it's a big mental move for some, but our roof tops have pretty fabulous views.

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  35. Now's your chance. Move to Buffalo where urban gardening is the norm. We'll welcome you with open arms.

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    Replies
    1. Very tempting, Jim! Vince's job keeps him near Manhattan, though :-)

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  36. You opened a part of NYC to me that I had completely forgotten. I was born and brought up there, couldn't wait to leave. You helped me see the city as a wonderful place to be and explore. You don't need a special place though because everywhere you, Vince and Estorbo (he will adjust with much complaining but will like it eventually I'm sure!)will go it certainly will have the magic eyes that you bring to it. Keep us posted - we send our love!

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