Saturday, August 31, 2019

Natural Beauty

John Rowell
Baltimore, Maryland
July-August 2019

Natural Beauty

I felt very fortunate to spend two lovely weeks in late July and early August at The Rensing Center. At the Guest House, I felt enveloped by the natural beauty of the woods and the trees outside my beautiful back porch, where I spent much of my time writing, reading and reflecting. I worked almost exclusively on a new play, the subject of which involves a great deal of research into the world of the New York theater in the mid-1950s, and on my porch (far from the streets of Times Square about which I was reading!) I read, studied, took copious notes, drank a lot of coffee and iced tea, and the occasional gin and tonic, and gazed out at my little corner of Rensing for many long and pleasurable hours.

Ellen generously opened up her home for wonderful, memorable meals on Sunday evenings, and this was one of the most enjoyable aspects of my time there. Ellen's friends in Pickens and nearby towns are wonderful, interesting, creative people doing good work in that corner of the world. Everyone there, including the amazing Evelyn, is a wonderful storyteller and full of tales and lore about Pickens and the area. I loved listening to everyone talk!  

I also spent a great evening at the home and gardens of Jon Fritz, a gifted locale landscape gardener who is also associated with the center. It was amazing to see what Jon had growing and blooming, and to take his expertly guided tour of his property.

Later in the week, two new residents arrived, Eric and  Maggie, and Ellen's marvelous friend Ron Few took the three of us out for an evening in the hidden gem town of Greenville. We walked through the park, alongside the falls and downtown areas, exploring the main street and its terrific bookstore, Judson's, and having a lovely dinner in one of the many cool restaurants that proliferate on the street. 

The next day, the last of my residency, meant having to say goodbye to Rensing, but I hope that proves to be only a temporary goodbye. What a wonderful time I had there, I shall never forget the beauty of the landscape, and the genuine goodness and creativity of the people who inhabit it. 

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