asking for what we want, getting what we need

Sometimes the thing you want brings you what you really need.

I wrote a while back about finally acquiring a pair of long-desired Adirondack chairs. I’ve always liked the look of them—the lines, the solid weight of them, the way they seem to settle perfectly into whatever location they happen to be placed. And perhaps there was some vague association with “the good life” mixed in there, too. However, I realize now that they’ve brought me a lot more than a couple of great-looking chairs to sit in.

The house I’m renting has a smallish back yard that backs onto a wooded area. There’s a little patio, perfect for the wrought iron bistro set I brought from my Richmond house. However, the previous tenant had let the patio area get overgrown and junky, so it was a job just getting the patio area to a minimal state of neatness. Next to the patio were the super cans for trash and recycling, plus a compost bin and some other junk the previous tenant had left behind—not a lovely sight. Also, other than an azalea bush and a pitiful-looking Rose of Sharon that had volunteered next to the super cans, it was pretty much all weeds and dirt. Not very appealing.

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The patio area, just before I moved in. There really is a patio underneath those weeds!

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View from the weedy-junky patio, before I moved in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got rid of the weeds and brought in a birdbath and several potted plants not long after I moved in, but the work required to truly transform the place was more than I could face at the time, so I decided instead to concentrate my gardening efforts in the front yard, which I would see every day coming and going and could enjoy from my wicker chair on the cozy front porch.

But as much as I’ve enjoyed my little front porch, I’ve continued to long for a private retreat, a place where I can take my coffee and go enjoy the outdoors while still wearing my pajamas, where I can write in my journal or read a book, uninterrupted by neighbors stopping to chat, where I can hang out with my dog and not worry about whether she might (as dogs will do) take off across the busy street in pursuit of squirrels.

Enter the famed Adirondack chairs.

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The chairs that brought it all together.

Now that I had the much-longed-for chairs, I of course wanted to actually sit in them. However, as I mentioned above, the patio area wasn’t very attractive or pleasant, so the desire to enjoy my new chairs finally inspired me to start making the changes I’d thought about making for months. First, I moved the compost bin and the supercans out of sight. I brought in some mulch, laid out a curving border along the fence line, and re-located some of my potted hydrangeas to the border. I re-positioned the birdbath and started preparing a small garden bed to surround it. Between the Adirondack chairs, I placed a little plastic table left behind by the previous tenant—just right for snacks and drinks. I even found an on-sale umbrella for the bistro table. It’s not done by any means, but my private retreat is slowly but surely taking shape—all because of a couple of chairs.

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Trading trashcans for plants makes a pretty big difference…

Then there are the chairs themselves. Now that I’ve had the chance to actually sit in them, I realize that their design virtually compels you to relax. The slanted pitch of the chair back doesn’t really allow you to sit up straight, at least not comfortably, so you pretty much have to sit back and relax. Once you do, your face is naturally tilted up, your eyes directed to the tops of the trees and the sky beyond.

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The view from my chair.

So now, thanks to my perfectly designed Adirondack chairs, I actually sit back and relax. I listen to the birds and watch the squirrels skitter from tree to tree. I marvel at the blue of the sky and track the clouds as they pass by overhead. I enjoy the warmth of the morning sun on my face as it reaches fingers of light through my neighbor’s huge oak tree. I breathe deeply and feel the muscles in my neck stretch—muscles that used to be stretched every day when I was dancing, but nowadays spend hours crunched over a laptop.

My much-longed-for chairs have brought me, at last, my much-needed private outdoor retreat. They’ve brought me a place to relax, to look up from my day-to-day routine and shift my perspective. They’ve connected me with the wonderful green vista just outside my back door, a delightful natural environment that I hadn’t really taken advantage of before because the space from which to view it was, well…not so delightful. So here’s to the chairs I always wanted…for bringing me what I really needed.

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