Some of you might have already heard the Diana Vreeland quote that "Elegance is refusal." And in my mind, I am capable of stripping things down to their essence but in reality? Well, not really. I came to realize this while reading the "Moody Interiors" post on the blog From the Right Bank. I loved every single one of those complicated rooms. All of that tactile velvet, worn parquet and massive chandeliers. Proportions out of whack and a little messy. I wrote in response that I am so earnestly trying to force myself towards a cleaner aesthetic but that is not who I am. I am a complex person living with an equally complex man. We have picked up things from all over and love the stories they tell. So I tend to add not subtract most of the time.
However yesterday, we were forced into doing a little simplifying. As I have mentioned, it is stipulated in our rental contract that we can not put any holes into the structure of the apartment, something that we have gotten around with our artwork by gallery hanging from the ceiling. This too, is technically a no-no and as the estate agent was arriving to do her first visit, we carefully removed everything. She has an eagle-eye. All went well but we were given the gift of rediscovering the beauty of the space. More open, more peaceful. Remi has promised me that we will try to not put anything up on the walls for a bit in our new place. Something I find it hard to believe as it is usually the very first thing that we do.
Spaces are not always what we think they are, nor people, nor objects. Oh, the candelabras that I brought home looked so scruffy the next day. Black with soot and forgotteness. I don't know what their history is to have arrived in such a state but I am slowly erasing the traces of the past. An act that is as beneficial to their appearance as it is to my peace of mind.
Remi felt the same last week when he launched into taking care of our little garden after an especially stressful day. It too had been abandoned and we moved in was completely overrun by les petites bêtes--insects, slugs, potato bugs that had grown fat from free reign (the previous renter only used the garden as a storage space). We had to bomb everything so strongly that nothing bloomed. Not being horticulturists, we couldn't even figure out what some of the plants were. But in clawing away the parasites, everything could come back in fine form this year. The chest-high green thing that Remi nearly pulled is actually one of the biggest hortensia, or hydrangeas that I have seen. We still don't know what the tree is next to it and naturally are open for answers.
This morning, as I was beginning my yoga practice, I had a surprise visitor. With a calamitous rumble and a showering of ashes, a pigeon fell down the chimney, scraping wings as he went and landed with a plop next to me, just behind the fire grate. I kept my breath as calm and spoke low to him while shooshing Ben into the bedroom then reaching for a towel in the bath. By the time I returned, the pigeon had gathered up enough strength to pop onto the log pile. He then strolled into the kitchen as if looking for a mug of coffee and with a whiff was out through the open door.
Taking off, taking away to find something different, something new.