“Over the computer on my desk, an owl ingeniously sculptured out of a piece of driftwood by my brother-in-law (artist Jamie Russell) sways over my head to keep me wise.”
Although when I am travelling, I will work anywhere – in a coffee house or on a hotel bed with a notebook on my lap – I like to work at home where I can make myself coffee to begin and cut up some seasonal fruit to share with my husband who does whatever on the computer in the dining room. Since I like a lot of light, I work in the family room that has sliding glass doors to the garden, at present covered in snow. On the picnic table on the deck I set out a handful of wild birdseed and peanuts for the three squirrels and many visiting birds. The peanuts are for the squirrels but the blue jays and chickadees eat them too, and the squirrel has been known to stuff cheekfuls of seed into his cheek. (I swear the blue jay will sometimes crack a call over the roof mid-morning to remind me to put their stuff out if I have forgotten.)
Over the computer on my desk, an owl ingeniously sculptured out of a piece of driftwood by my brother-in-law (artist Jamie Russell) sways over my head to keep me wise. When I am tired of sitting at the desk, I can relax on the couch and put my feet up with my head at one end against a pillow beside the wall and write on the clipboard on my lap. The light from the window on my right and a lamp over my left shoulder together power my poem since, as I mentioned, I need a lot of light.
Several plants surround my writing, including a yellow double-begonia brought in from the garden and a cheerful orange daisy-like flower that a friend gave me when I broke my humerus last spring: both these plants have flowers that lean their heads towards the morning sun very optimistically. The orange daisy is particularly forgiving, having resurrected several times after I did not water her enough. Our dear elderly dog Harold often sat at my feet, but alas he died last April. A stuffed animal that belonged to Harold (inherited from my son who owned it as a small child) has fallen in the shoreline between plants and window. I confess that I have kept his silver water and food dishes by the door to keep his spirit near. I used to put my hands (always cold) on his warm head and look into his brown eyes that were so wise without too much knowledge.
gillian harding-russell’s most recent publication is In Another Air (Radiant Press, 2018), which was shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Book Award.