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

18 May 2011

Letters from the Outside #43

Sunday bright but everything is still so saturated from a steady month of rain. Creekwater deep and ice cold. Every day is something different and every day is new. The lilacs have arrived, and the old branches cant hold their heavy blooms off the ground, especially now with this new round of rainfall, filling all the thousand mouths with water.

The seedlings spent a few days taking the air, overnighting out in the open, even, but with all the rain I brought them back in under the bulbs. I ate the languishing beet, broccoli and lettuce seedlings and replanted some lettuce since the garden is still too wet to sow. The air in the morning is perfume.

The north beds are filling in, my Candelabra Primrose (also struggling at grace under the weight of rain), Astilbe, False Solomon Seal, its all there; the transplanted Echinacea settling in nicely among the Lupine babies thanks to the cool wet weather, the Dicentra remarkable in its hugeness and profusion, the long arcs of pendant hearts, each one split and dripping its one white tear. The Chocolate Mint resurrects in its dim corner cranny, and the diamond tipped frill of spreading Ladys Mantle is a ceaseless morning wonder, one perfect tiny orb of dew dancing on the pinked edge of the low-growing leaves.

The Hostas, the Peonies, the Columbine – just standing there witnessing their health and thriving affords me a deep and quiet peace I am endlessly grateful for. The wet weather bodes well for a fine Blackberry harvest, and my virgin foray into bramble-infused brandy for Yule. But the windows close, and i rekindle the bright dancing heart of the woodstove to chase the chill away. The hummingbirds seem grateful for the thick sweet food I prepare for them in this cold. Like the emerging flowers, these birds afford me a long moment (if im lucky) of unadulterated joy and grace. I offer them nourishment and they return the gift with the miraculous simplicity of their Light which feeds my own.

Hummingbirds, Mockingbirds, Grosbeaks and Orioles. Daunted by the gardens enormity, its dandelions, and its squish. Biblical rain from the low tyrannical clouds. And this whole matter of the world ending, which has whipped a startling swath around here into jibbering apocalyptic froth. I restart flats of spinach and lettuce, more cabbage and marigolds, try at peppers, hot and sweet. I air out the tomatoes in this sudden generosity of sunlight which will pass with the day into days more of rain. The black cat follows on the bank as I wash the garden mud from my shoes with a walk down and up the little creek that runs between us. It is lovely there, and over the years a deep pool has formed, id be up to the split in it.

. The dense energy of the crest from waxing to full has dissipated some; now theres not the wet down duvet oppression I felt under that hot thick Scorpio tide. Now we oar our little coracles into june, hanging in for heat and light and Litha. I keep the nectar coming, and the feeders full.

I havent walked in what seems like two weeks, save that last drizzling saturday I spent the next town over, in the woods on the hill, and talked about the visible difference between spring Tansy and Yarrow, bird call retention as affected by age, and animal sovereignty. A lovely sprawling place unfurling with ferns and spangled with trillium. The sound of water moving through the broad bed that runs along the shallow gully seam, and moments of that, for me, deeply comforting evergreen cedar smell. Coming upon a stone cellar in the slow and gentle process of returning to the good green world, a pioneer graveyard where the dark stones fall forward into settling pits.

With all this cool and damp, I tell myself, itll be a fine year for the bramble, and berry bloodstained hands will craft a sweet and heady cordial for the coming cold solstice. The bulb flowers have passed for the most part, the lilacs crest, and with the Grace of good weather, my Delphinium will rise, and the perennials will offer an excellent show of yolk-yellow, dusk violet and white petals gathered round the black and golden prickly hived heads attracting and adorned with pollen-heavy bees and the blue-eyed Painted Ladies, some of which were coddled and cocooned at the school down the road from here, making their way in the world.

In the garden, I see where the Jays broadcast juicy Tarahumara seeds last Fall, and I am loathe to till them under. The strawberries are hale, broad petaled blossoms heralding (hopefully) berries heavy and red, all the way through.

You and I did not know one another very well, and these letters may not change that. That was never their intent. But as I said before, you were to me, and will be, a Good and Peaceful presence, going about the days of your life with your friends and your family and your dog, always generous with your Spirit and your energy and your resources, and looking not for recompense, only an acknowledgement of mutual belonging to the family of Man. We love 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)