In my grandmother’s backyard, above the vegetable garden stands a pussy willow tree, and it has been there as long as anyone can recall. Each spring it resolutely comes to bud after months of abundant snow, then blooms with its bright white fuzziness, soft as a kitten’s paw. At Easter we cut its long branches and bring them into the home, and place them at the table where we celebrate renewal and birth and hope. It seems that every child who has sat at that gathering has taken a fallen bloom into hand, and pet it, as if it were a talisman for all things good.
Through the years there have been many willow baskets in my grandmother’s house, deftly made from the tree’s branches. When I was very small I’d hide in one that was a hamper, pretending that I was a snake and my sister would charm me out, lid on my head, as she played her imaginary flute. So Willow is home, love, craft, play, growth, and imagination.
Thatch, that breathtaking tradition of covering a roof, especially in the countryside in Europe and the UK, with straw, rushes or heather, is an art that has been handed down through the generations and for me, symbolizes a sweet idyllic lifestyle.
Though I live in the states, I dream of having a little cottage with a thatched roof, filled with French linens and English ceramics and a garden with climbing roses. So Thatch is beautiful shelter, farm and country, lineage, memory, all things UK that allow me to dream (did someone say Period Films?) and family.
Together, Willow and Thatch comprise the parts of life I find to be so very lovely.