This morning I sat at my Lady's Writing Desk in our bedroom to write a note on a sympathy card. This past month I have started my Saturday mornings sitting at this desk and writing letters. I use a fountain pen I bought many years ago in New Orleans, and I choose a note card and complementary writing paper to fit the occasion and the personality of the person who will receive the letter. Because of my extensive email exchanges, I don't spend as much time here at this desk as I have in the past. I used to pay bills at this desk, but I tend now to do that at the desk in the kitchen. I used to write in my journal at this desk, but most of the time now I sit in a comfortable chair with books piled around me. This is also the desk where I wrote the first drafts of essays for a potential book, and where I have planned content for groups I have led and classes I have taught, but now the majority of my writing time is spent at the harvest table in my lower level office. That's where the laptop and printer, files, and, of course, my library are located. But somehow handwritten correspondence, especially a note of sympathy, requires sitting at my Lady's Writing Desk.
I suspect part of the reason I don't sit more frequently at the writing desk with its slots for files and papers and its cubbies for inkwells and pens and pencils and other treasures is its current location. In our farmhouse in Ohio, I sat at my desk and looked out at our front gardens with roses and lavender and peonies in the summer. I kept track of the season's transitions, thanks to the impressive willow tree across the road. The last tree to let go of its leaves in the fall and the first to hint of spring with whispers of yellow on its wispy branches. I noted footprints across the otherwise unbroken snow--rabbits and deer. Occasionally, I glimpsed the albino red-tail hawk whose territory we lived in. I stopped whatever I was doing when I caught sight of a white wing dipping and then soaring, for hawk is a messenger symbol, and I would pause to listen for inner guidance. While sitting at my Lady's Writing Desk, I could hear Bruce open the back door home from his day of work, and I could see a spiritual direction client arrive for a monthly session and have a moment to inhale and exhale a prayer for openness.
Now when I sit at my Lady's Writing Desk my back is to a window and my view is limited to the master bedroom. Recently, all the rooms on the second floor were painted, and I wondered without success if my desk could find another location. This truly is the best place for the desk in this house, and that is fine, for when I am at this desk now I am accompanied by memories of all the previous hours sitting there. I think about all the letters written there--all the relationships in my life. Those that remain and those that have ended for one reason or another. Once an intuitive told me that when I sit down to write at that desk that a Victorian English woman stands at my right shoulder. She had wanted to be a writer, but now wants to encourage me in my work. I ask for her blessing every time I write--no matter where I write. I think she likes the Lady's Writing Desk the best, however. I like being there, too, and decide to spend more time in that quiet and comforting space.