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

26 June 2011

Letters from the Outside, #46

Turkeys and deer at the side of the road, mostly toms and does. The turkeys strut to cover, but the does go tharn, their heads turned away from browse until The Thing passes. Dogs wrestling in my Delphiniums, which of course grieved me but it passed like lightning and theres still some left to spire and bloom indigo-violet among the Coneflower and Calendula. Allergy shots leave the inflamed evidence of a three-pound mosquito. There are times when Steve Earle singing, “Don't You Take It Too Bad” is the perfect thing.

Catalpa trees blooming, and the vetch, and the bullfrogs in Avalon commence the recitation of their sutras. The Wheel of Ezekiel. Friday afternoon John Coltrane eating garden strawberries over the sink, brownies baking. The hoya flowers weep their one clear resinous pendant tear and I find several caches of Cleome reseedlings, which is awesome. Co-chaired a nine ten-year-old-boy birthday party camp-out, sleeping under the sky, late waning moonrise light of dusk at an upper elevation. Parliament of bullfrogs, lightning bugs in the thin winsome wood which stood around us. I oared lemniscates onto the surface of the little pond spangled with water lilies, indian rubber hose stems feeding their mythic, transcendent, flowers that open with morning. My small steady ripple sliding and stippling the mirror image of trees into soothing hypnotic quantum-impressionist scenes; that, and the perfect vermillion square of sunset that shone through the wood and I walked to that silent light-sanctified portal and I was grateful, and I prayed.

In goes the last of the seedlings, the parsley and lettuce, the crucifers. The neighbors cut down the old Weeping Willow, that lovely undulating shade against the streetlight I was always so grateful for. Sister Mothers man sixty feet up in a cherry picker with a polesaw trying not to get whomped. And then theres the live tri-wire and so much of the tree left above him. Bergamot in its gestating won-ton phase, Stargazer space capsule buds lengthen and deepen their seams. The intricately architectured Rudbeckia and Coneflower crowns now beginning to raise their butterfly feeding stations. The first full day of Summer is rainy and grey, a good day for the garden to settle in, a cool and gentle rest. I read a Brian Greene book in the hammock, working all the time at making peace with myself, breathing mindfully, maintaining my vigil flame of optimism. The book is dense, and utilizes a great deal of my left brain, which isnt the more vigorous sibling. So i bake a banana bread, go out in my gumboots to take pictures of flowers. 
These theories and calculations are based on the tiniest parts of Our Conceivable Everything, and apply universally to everything within the Everything. The beautiful pull of these ideas is their ability to inspire acceptance of  myself logically as part of this Everything...“A child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars..,” all that. It approaches my illusory issue of alienation from an entirely different perspective, a neutral, left-brain argument for Belonging.

Series of cool, cloudy days, intermittent rain, giving the Growing in the garden a golden opportunity to wriggle its roots into the ground without the taxing toll of a typical late june sun. But all things thrive in Balance, and a stretch of hot bright weather would do All the Living some good.

I understand now how it truly takes years to establish a perennial bed. I see only now how the components come together over time, spreading in dense strokes, disseminating, perennials evolving with sagacious patience into themselves, returning after the long rests ever more alive. There are patches, to be expected from a laissez-faire amateur, but I see how in those empty places the humble beginning of another grand display. Last year I hardly bought any new plants at all, and this year, none. I am tempted to look for another Monkshood as the way its grown along with the Globeflower inspires aesthetic intervention. Perenial stewarding is commonly compared to painting, and I see that now. The (potentially)6' Astilbe I bought three years ago has only reached about half that, but this is the first year theres even a breath of its frothy drooping pink paisley blooms. I realize also that I cannot let the Lemon Balm or the Wild Violet have its way with the north bed, as then there would be nothing more; even the hostas are suffering under their imperialism.

And then theres the northside nursery nemeton; how marvelous it is to watch the king whip, crown to crown with me, sprout a succession of new leaf clusters over the summer, lower boughs sporting their young-adult leaves, and were I to live to be one hundred, I would admire the first clusters of acorns, now ready to insure a futher eternity of Oak in, despite man, a miraculous and beautiful world. 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)