Friday, August 15, 2008

A Bit of a Bygone Era

This is a photo of a painting called The Dream Garden...done by Nathan Dolinsky of the grounds near his home in the Catskills.

I went there today. It doesn't look much like this anymore.

Imagine an enchanted cottage and gardens, tangled vines, crumbling walls and complete solitude. That would be what I found.

The house is for sale and has been for quite some time. HSO and I have dreamed about it since we first started looking for a house almost two years ago. It was way beyond our means and clearly needed a lot of work. But we kept looking for it. We just wanted to see it.

As part of my 'make this job fun' resolution, I decided to track down the house and the man who clearly loved it. It's going to make a far better story than I could ever have imagined. I found a gallery (Bantam Fine Arts, to whom I owe a thanks for this photo of The Dream Garden) and that led me to fascinating people and ideas that I think would make terrific books. Now that's fun.

I also arranged to get a tour of the house with the realtor who's listed it. HSO is ecstatic. And my daughter, who loves abandoned old houses as much as her mother does, was willing to go look for it with me today. Kind of an advance scouting trip.

HSO and I have tried in the past and failed. But I had better directions today and voila! Down a long, overgrown driveway, into a clearing we walked and I stopped in my tracks. There is magic there. The old iron gate hangs open, an invitation to explore the overgrown grounds and peek in grimy windows where carefree people in summer finery once gathered to hear concerts and sip tea. The stones in the painting lean precariously toward the ground but the ghosts of what once was still linger, whispering of happy children, adults who remembered how to play. Music and art, they say softly, were as thick there as the bees buzzing in the flowers.

I know very little about Nathan Dolinsky. But I know I would have liked him. And there's something about this house that remembers those easier times. I can't wait to get inside. More to come....

No comments: