If you ever want to unload some of your belongings, the nextdoor app is the way to go.

Yesterday I posted this:


I have a bunch of stuff I am gifting to the world.

Large overstuffed green velvet armchair: 38” wide, 36” deep, 32” high.

Four beautiful oak dining room chairs, two of them captain chairs with arms, with green leather padded seats

Two Ikea bookcases: one is 47” long, 8” wide, and 26” tall, the other is 74” tall, 15” deep and 14” wide.

Large white Crate and Barrel platter with leaves and grape clusters

Some terra cotta garden pots and ornament type stuff.

Outdoor bamboo blinds.

Vintage glass curtain rod.

Large Cyclone fan.

Metal garden table and green metal chair.

And a bag of misc.

Everything but the glass curtain rod, which I’ve decided to keep, was gone within hours. My downstairs neighbor Erik took the chair and various other people showed up and hoovered that stuff up in no time. I find people are very motivated in such situations. They pull up, wheel in, load, and careen off before you can change your mind.

Almost all of the aforementioned items I have had for at least 15 years and many for longer.

Strange to be leaving behind a garden that I cleared, planted, lovingly tended and that is now established. My way was to save the water from my shower every morning and laboriously haul it out in a pail–partly a gesture, obviously, but an important one, I felt, and for the rest to hand-water, sparingly, from a hose, making no noise and little waste. While I was gone for the month, someone installed two tall, plastic, unsightly overhead sprinkler heads that, to my mind anyway, will water unnecessarily: most California native plants, once established, need little water, and if they do need water, need it once a week or so, and deeply. This will rain water on everything, probably daily and shallowly, and definitely remotely.

I know, I know: not my garden–and never has been–not my business. So be it. Plus, I’m hardly a horticulturalist. Plus I’ve probably actually been doing a hundred things “wrong.”

But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that a garden is a labor of love. The more labor you put into it, the better it responds. The more labor, the more serendipitously charming it will look, the more intelligence it will radiate somehow. Mine was a garden with river rocks dug out from the ground by hand and thoughtfully placed, seeds sown with hope, plants pondered, prayed over and praised…I picked out every one of those plants, drove them home, knew their names…A relationship was formed.

How incredibly grateful I am that I was given the space and the opportunity.

And may the people who come over form their own relationship with the garden.

Last night I heard a prayer someone recommended for use with people who we feel have hurt or wounded us: I’m sorry, forgive me, thank you, I love you.

I’m sorry. Yes.

As I pack up more and more stuff, it’s also interesting to see what’s left; what’s essential as I more or less camp out for a few days. Six 12-ounce packages of Starbucks French roast (I buy them expired on ebay). A giant container of pure cane sugar. A glass of roses from the garden. My portable prayer box (breviary, Magnificat, candle, incense, matches). A small old wooden crucifix. Three rosaries.


15 Replies to “NEXT DOOR”

  1. “Six 12-ounce packages of Starbucks French roast (I buy them expired on ebay)?” I think we could be friends- but only if you drink it black.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Unh-oh, I like half and half and stevia, but I’m sorry to say we are friends already, Emily, and you’re not getting rid of me!!

      1. That is reassuring 🙂

  2. Betty Tropp says: Reply

    Where are you off to! Love your articles abt your garden! Hope you have green space where you are going!!! Betty

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Tucson, Betty—-and yes, I will have plenty of room to garden!

    2. If you love Heather’s articles about her garden, and haven’t read it already, read her book, Harrowed. One of my favorites.😉

  3. Sidney Blanchet says: Reply

    Heather, you might read Second Hand by Adam Mintner. It’s very, very interesting on the subject of “stuff .”

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks, Sidney, it’s now on my list!

  4. Thank you for your posts. I finally am taking and seem to have more time to garden, which I love, except for picking weeds…I like the prayer on friendship. A long long term friendship has withered, for a few reasons. I want to be Christlike, but what if you see that you have been more of a convenience friend than a totally sincere friend…or a least personality wise that is how it seems to operate..???????? Painful.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Detachment with love…Christ was SO not a codependent. We’re not called to remain in one-sided or manipulative or dishonest relationships…in fact, we’re called to pick up our mats and walk, like the paralytic who’d been lying by the healing pool for years till Christ came along and said, “Do you WANT to be healed?”…Bless you, Ingrid. Nobody does human relationships perfectly…not even close…

      1. Any read on recognizing codependent relationships? I feel like a fool…

        1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

          Oh God, who doesn’t when it comes to this stuff? I like the Al-Anon literature myself—they have this very short pamphlet or passage called Detachment, you can google it and download the pdf, that applies not just to alcoholics but to anyone with whom we have a difficult relationship…Pia Mellody is kind of the queen of pop psychology codependence–easy to read and if you’re anything like me, you’ll identify. She has several books I think and I’m sure they’re all very easy to find.

  5. Re the “I’m sorry” prayer … reminds me of a favorite essay by Richard Armour about constantly apologizing to everyone about everything, in which he’s chasing a burglar out of his house, yelling, “I’m sorry! You forgot to take all of this other good stuff, too!” or something to that effect.

  6. Dana Laviano says: Reply

    Dear Heather,
    I wanted to tell you about an artist living in Tucson, I believe, who is an avid gardener. I’ve read her blog for years and own some of her artwork. While her style may not be yours, she might have some great tips for gardening in the desert. Just a thought. Her name is Vanessa Valencia and her blog is A Fanciful Twist ( Best of luck on your move. Those are always stressful and I hope it goes smoothly! I remember you mentioning you were applying for Irish citizenship. Is that something you are still pursuing? Just curious. I hope you don’t mind my asking.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Wonderful, Dana, I’ve bookmarked her site to go back and look at when I have more time! I will have lots of room to garden here so have a large learning curve ahead…Yes, the app for Irish citizenship is in–I had never planned on that being a permanent move, but who knows, I might end up dividing my time. At the moment, I am fried six ways to Sunday and will not be doing anything but unpacking, arranging and I hope taking a long rest for a few months.

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