My business partner (whom I'd walk over hot coals for and is almost always right) suggested that I write about my top five favorite places - like one of those round-ups in the magazines. I sort of panicked, because when you put me on the spot like that, I draw a blank. I had to think about it for a week. I had to find a way to do it that felt right. I really don't feel like writing yet another list of "My Favorite Cake Shops," "The Best Mani/Pedi," "My Favorite Winter Hat"...for what? To sell you something? I guess, but I figure that if you want to buy something, you'll do it without my prodding.

With that in mind, during the next 4 weeks (the month of October), I will write a quick post once a week about my favorite places. I'd love to get notes from you telling me your favorite places, too, because I love hearing from you. I truly do.

So, Orchards. Orchards are simply beautiful and typically not something people own. If you do own an Orchard, consider yourself among the fortunate!

But for the rest of us, Orchards are things we walk by on a hike, or drive to visit in the fall for apple-picking. They are picturesque. They are perfectly imperfect. An Orchard has dignity, grace, and each one has a style of its own.

When I was a kid, my father had a girlfriend, Brenda. I quite liked her. She was crazy and loud, tall and bright. In my memory, she was always laughing and offering me her hand. Brenda had a hunting lodge in western Massachusetts, and on the property was an Orchard with 500 or so crooked apple trees, planted like soldiers in what seemed like endless rows. They were beautiful, those trees. They were all covered in rough bark that felt strangely great against my skin. They produced apples that dotted the ground like clouds in the sky, forming patterns as they waited to dissolve back into the earth.

The branches on those trees were low enough that they were easy to climb, and climb I did. I'm sure I climbed every one of those trees. The Orchard transformed into my kingdom. The trees played the roles of friends and enemies, castles, boats, God, monster, home - whatever I wanted, wherever my imagination shifted. My childhood mind built things with my eyes that only I could see. It was a world where there was no time, no consequences, no fear, only imaginary friends, and games that had no rules. Of course, there were also as many apples as I could eat. So many pictures and plans. My designs, flowing behind my eyes as I grabbed twigs and leaves to complete a "room" in my castle, just as another door would open up in my mind, and off I went. I dreamed up a vast universe in those endless fall hours.

To describe the structures and objects that I "built" would bore you to tears, and that's not the point anyway, but just trust me when I say - I had a boat and it sailed.

My imagination still is my favorite place to be.



French Fruit Picking Ladders

Apple Baskets

Maple Bank Farm

Julia Child - Apple Dessert 

Poetic Imagination - Freud / Heidegger

Imagination & Creativity - Jean Paul Sartre