So far the thing I love most about England is how easy it is to clear my head when I need a break. Sure I get caught up in my emailing, or distracted by my kids, or overwhelmed by the prospect of starting from scratch on a new book just like I would in my life in New York. But here it is so easy to clear the decks and start again by walking the dog, going out on a ride, or collecting the chicken eggs. My favorite way, however, is to arrange flowers from our garden. I always get a twinge of anxiety when I start because its never obvious which flowers I am going to pick or how I am going to arrange them. Often one variety is in bloom, but there is not enough to make a whole bouquet with. So I have to figure something else that will look pretty with it. This is a challenge for me. For many years I have been a flower minimalist - I like a handful of all the same flower tightly and tidily arranged in a neat little uptight city-girl bouquet. But the country has made me relax. A little. My arrangements are looser and I have learned to mix and match when necessary. I have also come to like the uneasiness I feel as I figure out what I am going to do. I realize that subtle tension is a natural by-product of creativity. It makes the process more engaging and ultimately more satisfying.
At the end of the post you'll see evidence of a late night flower arranging session. This was the evening before Todd Selby came to photograph our house and I was running around like a crazy person all day getting the house in order. I instinctively knew to save the flowers til last - it would restore my sanity in time for Todd's arrival the next morning. And it did.