As the plants wither and die, it opens up spaces that have been long covered by the green foliage. The Madeline Man is standing alone beside the antique headboard, no leaves or flowers tickling its nose, knees or other parts.
The Madeline Man found his home in our garden last June. Freddy and I took a much needed break and visited Madeline Island for a long weekend. It was heaven! The lake, the sunsets, the cottage, the wine. We reconnected and savored every moment of being by ourselves away from home.
A lot of people don’t understand how my husband and I work together. They think because we run our business side-by-side, every moment must be filled with meaningful talks, romantic moments, knowing glances. Not so! We have the same inter-office squabbles, fights for resources and equipment and disagreements over strategies and tactics as any other work environment. The difference is, we go “home” at night and sleep with our co-workers. Getting away for a bit allows us to forget the business, and concentrate on us.
So, while up in this northwoods, island paradise early this summer, Fred found a piece of driftwood that he thought was pretty cool, and I thought should be left on the beach. Imagine my surprise when the piece of driftwood was in the trunk of the car when we got back home. “What exactly are you going to do with this?” I asked. “It’s going in the garden,” he replied.
As I argued that our lovely garden was no place for a piece of driftwood, Fred wandered among the hosta to find just the right place to stick Madeline Man’s “legs” into the soil. Freddy stood back and asked, “What do you think?” And I had to admit, it looked pretty good.
Then Fred asked, “What do you see when you look at this?” I moved in and side to side to get a look for all angles and said, “I see a crane with its head up. Or maybe a face with a long nose and a big open mouth. I can’t decide.”
Fred said he saw a body of a man, named it the Madeline Man, and the rest is garden history. Madeline Man is here to stay.
Now, whenever we have a party in the garden, particularly if conversation has stalled a bit (which is rare), we ask people to look at the piece of driftwood and tell us what they see. My mother sees something that reminds her of a Native American carving she saw once in the Black Hills. Others see human figures or birds or animals. It really doesn’t matter what one sees – it’s just a great conversation starter and a lot of fun to get people’s unique perspectives.
What do you see?