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My Favorite Chair

Walking blind in the dark

I just came in from the garden. When I went out it was 9:30, and pretty dark. But I didn't turn the outside lights on, and instead kind of felt my way around with my feet, to dump the kitchen compost into the compost frame in back of the garage. I know that route pretty well.

Then I shuffled over to a new part of the garden, to find my new Adirondack chair. The path is uneven, but I made it ok, and plopped down with a sigh of relief. I'd been on the go all day, exposed to a lot of chemicals. I was achy, jittery and exhausted.


I haven't had a regular sitting meditation practice for several years, for several reasons. One is just pure cantankerousness, I think: I don't feel like doing anything just because it's supposed to be good for me. I have to experience that it's good for me. Another is that there aren't very many chairs in our house that are really comfortable for me to sit in for an extended period of time.


I had a pretty little loveseat in this corner of the garden several years ago; when my back went south, it became the most uncomfortable seating! Since then I have been trying to get something better. Last year I sat in an Adirondack chair and found it wonderfully comfortable, but that one was made of recycled plastic, and I didn't want to risk what gases the sun would draw out of it.

I noticed one in a catalog. When Ward drove me (two hours plus) to a town near their outlet, to interview a new doctor, we stayed overnight with our daughter Wendy, and took a fast trip into the outlet — me with my carbon mask on — for me to sit in one of those chairs to see if it fit me. It did!

Situating the chair

And so we got one. Took me a month to get it situated the way I wanted: rocks placed under it so it's level, the path fixed so it leads to it from two directions & it's on the back of a loop, some tall phlox removed from in front of it that I didn't like anyway because they always got such terrible mildew, and some little plants filled in around instead (thyme, healall, a mini hosta, a couple of pinks). Originally I thought I would use the seating when I was tired from working in the garden, but after I got everything just the way I wanted, I also started going out to the garden just to sit there & gaze around.

The result

Eventually, I liked the feeling of being there so much, I started paying attention to everything I was feeling, not just the visual beauty. Paying attention to breath is a meditation I've found useful in the past, so I'm not so rebellious about it. I don't have anything like a regular practice now — but I feel good about it, and feel attracted to it. For the first time in years.

Being in the night

It was mild tonight, with a breeze that whispered in the pines and lifted my hair. Overcast — the weather will probably be colder again tomorrow. When I sat down, I could see that the sky was light, from moon behind the clouds, or the town lights, or both — but everything else was still inky. After closing my eyes to meditate, I opened them and looked around.

There was so much I could see now! No need to shuffle my feet in order to feel my way: I could see every turn in the path, every plant. I'm used to thinking of myself as having poor night vision. But I realize, that's from having difficulty seeing the road when oncoming car lights are shining at me. In my dark garden, I sure don't have poor night vision.

I got up and did some stretching exercises for my neck and shoulders, waving my arms around in the wind ...and finally came back in, entirely refreshed. I don't know what I'm going to do when it's cold and wet in the garden. Keep a tarp over the chair?

© copyright Catherine Holmes Clark 1998; last updated 28 November 1998