Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances.”

27 February 2011

Letters from the Outside, #35

The quality of light changes. Small home improvements require a shift in the Aloes, these previously mentioned krakens that contort and rise, spined succulent arms reaching everywhere get a sponge bath and two get a repot and my poor wan rubber fig I wash the winters dust from its broad grooved leaves and then the Monstera frond that just may have taken rooting. I see the Purple Queen requires airspace and legroom in far greater quantities than shes been afforded.  I realize ive always lived in houses that had this one odd space, some little room or enclave that indicated either poor planning or the need to satisfy some esoteric purpose ever ungrokked by me. This is where we keep the Wall of Books, the majority of Aloes, and the Norton. This space also includes the fabric stash and craft supplies, a Gibson and the AT-AT Walker. But Blessed Be its getting a floor.

Last tuesday in february with the light changing good and strong in the clear and definite cold, single digits and later afternoons. The Mugwort seedling started last spring is still with us, grown a bit leggy, I do that mindless cut-off-and-stick-in propagation thing with it, having faith it knows what it wants to do. Hopefully itll only spend a few days in limp convalescence and then start to take. A lot of repotting to do. Ive had some of these plants so long, the dirt they stand in is deplete, and the new sproutlings need either definitive division and/or more room. The seeds came, and I bought one of those lots-of-baby-spinach containers with the hinged lid to start my seedlings in. there are a lot of seeds im using from last year, and those orange flesh honeydew seeds I saved. Something like that would benefit from being started now, maybe. Maybe mid march.

The Italian Flatleaf I could probably start now, they take something like three weeks to sprout. I could also get my marigolds going. The breeds I buy from Seeds of Change grow into these enormous shrubs, my Cempoalxochitl, and the Red Matamorphs, heady-scented three-foot plants round the perimeter, im thinking. More Peacevines, ill always grow Peacevines, their lovely transition coloring, all sweet and red at the end, traveling through orange and yellow and green back toward the stalk were training this year like grapevine. Plum Purple radish and Pronto beets, I ate a plate of summer canned beets with salt and yogurt a day or so ago and it was lovely. My Tarahumara and those doublepetaled Supermane sunflowers, and im curious to see how last years sunflowers reseed. Shell peas which would be cool to can but I havent learned to grow them that well yet. Bountiful bush beans, Calendula, Kurota carrots.

A new breed of tomato to try this year, Martian , Giant. The deeply ruffled ones are transcendent eaters but an enormous amount of work to can. Spinach and Sweetcorn and those lovely little Farao Cabbages eaten early steamed with salt and butter. I wonder about blight this year, about What I Can Do. I think about actually harvesting the Tulsi and drying it for tea. The Comfrey will still be coming up at the end of this years growing season, but ill keep at it, itll be in with the beans this year, the tomatoes moving toward the corn and the corn over to where the beans had been. Lettuce and greens. My Cleomes, and the spread of perennials. Hollyhocks. My little Apple Trees, maybe this year even blossoming.

The sunlights so much stronger, it offsets even the cost of this coldwater wind that blows south down the valley. Theres really no sense in starting seeds until at the very cusp of April. So ill dig around the houseplants, repot and dust-off and get my seedling operation organized. I fiddled around and turned one of those hanging wire kitchen basket things into a planter, Ivy and two Spiders and a Strawberry Begonia that im hoping will take and eventually send out those daughter filaments now that its suspended in a greater space; all three descending in tiers that leap and twine, pendant propagations and living visual interest...i realize im not as comfortable as I could be in a room without houseplants. Its that deep, peaceful Presence I find out of doors, inside. Not quite as resonant, not the same key, but an intelligence that exists at a different frequency, the waves occasionally intersecting, the atmospheric symbiosis, the flowers. Theyre calling for eight inches of snow and the four-dollar gallon. The news of the world is revolution. I made coffee cake and a roast chicken, drank a little red wine and listened to old Allman Brothers. Friday its a good-fashioned snowing, heavy and fast that wins paper over rock over the road laid down between the high open ground of coming tall summer grasses and corn and youve got dogs and black coffee and books and yarn and Love and home. We miss you.

"And if the question were asked: What is more real, the mundane or the sublime? most would hesitate before they gave an answer. On the one side, details: say, the aftermath of a breakfast, dirty chipped plates in the sink, their rims encrusted with egg yolk. Against this, the unnameable: small aching heart with boasts, what can you know? Outside the cage of everything we ever heard or saw, beyond, outside, above, there lies the real, hiding as long as we shall live, there stretch and trail the millions of names of God burning across the eons. When all through this our end will come before we even know the names of us.

For many the egg yolk prevails." -L.M.

"Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well."

"The perfection of the Absolute where all Becoming stops and pure Being, immutable, timeless, unchanging, hangs forever like a ripe peach upon the bough." -E.A.

"...and the whole incident was incredibly frazzling and angst-rod and filled almost a whole mead notebook and is here recounted in only its barest psycho-skeletal outline." -D.F.W.

"At the top of the mountain, we are all snow leopards." -H.S.T.

"Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live." -D.T.
"Cometh a voice: My children, hear; From the crowded street and the close-packed mart I call you back with my message clear, back to my lap and my loving heart. Long have ye left me, journeying on by range and river and grassy plain, to the teeming towns where the rest have gone - come back, come back to my arms again. So shall ye lose the foolish needs that gnaw your souls; and my touch shall serve to heal the fretted nerve. Treading the turf that ye once loved well, instead of the stones of the city's street, ye shall hear nor din nor drunken yell, but the wind that croons in the ripening wheat. I that am old have seen long since ruin of palaces made with hands for the soldier-king and the priest and prince whose cities crumble in desert sands. But still the furrow in many a clime yields softly under the ploughman's feet; still there is seeding and harvest time, and the wind still croons in the ripening wheat. The works of man are but little worth; for a time they stand, for a space endure; but turn once more to your mother - Earth, my gifts are gracious, my works are sure. Instead of the strife and pain I give you peace, with its blessing sweet. Come back, come back to my arms again, for the wind still croons in the ripening wheat."
-John Sandes, The Earth-Mother (excerpt, 1918)