Nick Haus is the brainchild of Nick Heywood: inveterate collector of collections; designer of interiors, textiles, lighting, furniture and luggage; purveyor of vintage goods at NickHaus on Etsy; alumnus of the Rhode Island School of Design; adjunct professor at the University of Rhode Island; hoarder of books; defender of old things and new ideas. Nick spends as much time as possible at his childhood summer house, a red mess in the country. His guru is Ferdinand the Bull — like Ferdinand, he would rather lay in the grass and smell flowers than do what he’s supposed to. For the last couple of years, Nick’s favorite patch of flowers to roll around in has been his blog, where he records the thoughts that run through his restless mind. Go lay in the fields with him for a time.
As winter ends and spring takes hold, I start to lead a double life: I work in the city during the week, and retire to the old red house in the country on weekends. In the city it’s easy to miss the seasons, but in the forests you feel the earth as it warms and cools, the passage of migratory birds across the sky, the bloom and the browning of leaves. This is the story of three stolen seasons, lived on the weekends — in my case, one swallow does indeed a summer make.
I. Spring Came on Forever
The trees are bare but budding, the grass is brown but greening. This is the time to canoe through the wetlands and observe the birds returning from their winter vacations, plant seeds for the season, and learn the constellations before the canopy of the sky is covered with leaves. You prepare for rain and plan to be out most of the day, watching things grow. At night, read about Paris in the spring and snuggle up under a nice itchy blanket.
II. Smiles of a Summer Night
Blossoms have come at last, and a gradual sun-induced stupor takes over. The new laissez-faire attitude you’re affecting is helped along nicely with all the g & t’s you insist on drinking (to keep malaria at bay, of course). In the cool early morning you collect ferns to press and nap most of the afternoon under a light blanket, pretending to read Proust while you dream about the secret lives of flowers. Appearances must be kept up, and you sometimes find the energy to stumble around the lawn and play croquet or badminton. You would starve to death were it not for picnics, and when you make it to town for supplies, you wear the silliest go-to-hell shorts.
III. Decline and Fall
There comes a day when you leave a book out in the rain and decide it’s too cold to run out and save it. This is the beginning of autumn. The colors that fade from the flowers, the sky and your cheeks shows up again in the leaves of the trees. You pile on ever more sweaters and stay warm by splitting wood for the fire. In the morning you pick apples, in the afternoon you plant bulbs, and in the evening you wonder over the transience of things and read of fallen empires, all the while building up miniature cities with blocks, only to watch them topple. As the birds head south, you turn your attention to bats, and hang houses for them to hibernate in. A cold snap comes — you skate on dangerously thin ice — and your idyll is over. Oh, what a paradise it seems!