11 January 2014

Where Chairs Go When They Retire

Each spring I bring chairs out into the garden and along the patio, making conversation areas here and there.... under the gazebo, by the bittersweet trellis, in front of the potted herbs.  

Many of these chairs have been family hand-me-downs, or culled from neighbors who were discarding them.  There is always a bit of life left in chair.. even if it only lasts one season. This makes for an odd assortment, the only connecting tissue being my affection for them.

But with all the wear and tear of summer—rainy days and windy nights— there are invariable catastrophes and losses. A neighbor sat in a cast-off bentwood chair, nearly plummeting through to the ground! An adirondack chair lost part of a leg and had a permanent tilt, making it unseaworthy for sitting. And a rocking chair, too long in the rain, literally went off its rockers!

Given my penchant for garden follies, I am loathe to throw them away when they breakdown and prefer to "retire" them to the garden, tucking them into corners where they become perches for the birds and squirrels or a place for a summer vine to climb, or—in the case of the bentwood chair—placing it at the center of a garden bed so a Hydrangea can flourish through the missing cane seat.

But their role in the winter garden is no less important.
Like frosted snow sculptures, they maintain a certain elegance
beneath their gentle coat of white,
their broken spokes and torn seats softened by nature's hand.

I peer at them through the kitchen window, and wonder:
Do they harbor wistful memories of their glory days in the garden?
Or are they sleepily content to still be part of the landscape?

 No longer useful in the conventional way,
their curves, slants and turned spools serve as
a lovely counterpoint to a snowy wonderland.


  1. What a brilliant idea! Summer lazing and winter sculpture. :-)

  2. Thank you, Perpetua! I do love filling the garden with unexpected things. I'll have to post some photographs of how they look in the summer. Take care!

  3. Sounds like an elephant's grave yard...do you ever wake to find a new unexpected additions to the garden? hahaha

    1. In fact I have! A tiny child's rocker was left by my side door one day and the only two neighbors who might have left it for me have both denied doing so. It was lovingly incorporated into my patio this summer, but it's a true chair m-y-s-t-e-r-y...