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.