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

13 July 2011

Letters from the Outside, #47

Bergamot blooming, chinese red pyrotechnic still-lives, and the day lilies, resplendent french-canteloupe colored waves of summer in the light and shade of the roadside. A stretch of bright, hot days, you find yourself walking through some wild meadow, brushing through trefoil and butterfly weed, toward a group of people you know cooking food over a fire and jumping off a little dock into a pond. The woods are cool and its shade excellent to breathe in. the blackberries are visibly red from across the lawn, and then I catch the boys eating their way across the swath. T. returns with a tithe of the small berries which havent yet reached their bursting prime.

I start another blanket, with no specific recipient in mind, just something for my hands to do. Theres one particularly beloved by one of Cowboys granddaughters, which may wear through, and im thinking this one on the needles, its twin, could be an eventual replacement. I broke down and bought two more rather sizable Bergamot plants to fill in the other side of the front steps, and dug some of the rooty bits from the edge of the established swath and relocated them also.

The outer stems of the new plants were recumbent, so I dug them under a wee bit of earth and Goddess willing theyll take root, too, and increase the coverage potential. Found a Bull Thistle growing behind the front Peonies and left it, for sentimental reasons. Scattered some Lupine seeds, the dry pods popping like Jewelweed if you hold them too tight. It may be the year off for my Hollyhock (its the year off for a lot out in the garden), so i dug it up and set it back against the outhouse, so that when they scatter their seed, the seed will settle and root into receptive loam, not lie on the thatch of the lawn and rot. The Mugwort I resuscitated several times in a small plastic pot its inhabited for two years now was planted out and thrives.

Bought a half-pound of clear rock candy for the cordial, and should go out and gather my quart while its still there. All the brassicas I planted live, but could certainly use more water than theyre getting. Everything could. Driving around you see some corn not three inches off the ground, and some you could wade into up to your floating rib. In the garden, a bird has snipped off some of the heads of growing Sunflowers and Brussels Sprouts.  The aluminum pans will have to come back, to keep what Tomatoes im blessed with intact.

Parched earth culvert mosaic floors wind buffeting around in the trees, you close your eyes and youre almost at the ocean shore. The walnuts big as ping-pong balls, the wild turnip and the lilies and the vetch, joined now here and there by the soothing blue chicory, and the meadows in this long run of rainless days has gone brown, but a boon for haymaking. Weve been teased with the mere possibility of rain only twice in the last long while, and in the end for naught.

The garden is/was so truly delayed this year. No Tithonia, my deep orange Faerie crowns, the Sunflowers half-height (due to their move, no doubt) the Tomato plants also not the fragrant, serpentine thickets they usually are. So much fails to even sprout. And only half the garden itself is under cultivation. No carrots, no beets, no corn, but im having a hard time getting over the Tithonia. I was hoping some would self-sow, like ive seen the Delphinium, Lupine and other Sunflowers do, but no. but this is what it is. We need to inundate the fallow half with fine local manure and maybe next year do the same and let the second half rest. A large part of the problem this year was the saturation of the soil. Amending would assist immensely. Again, this ground has only been garden for, at the most, three years. There was the first central plot, then the right flank, and then the left. It takes, they say, seven years for a garden to really get its groove on. So I surrender, as always, to The Imperfect Process, and have those dense offerings of Echinacea and Bergamot to soften the blow.

In a flurry of industry I concoct the blackberry cordial and map out agitation requirements (for said spirits, not for me...as those are frequent and entirely unscheduled) on the calendar. I also throw together a batch of vanilla extract, but I question the quality of the pods, which have been sitting in a plastic bag in the cabinet since I met Stephen Marley. So I live like a Hobbit, whimsical and oblivious, going on about the dogs or the garden, while the juggernaut forces of what weve started to call around here “the Complex” direct their ego battalions to wade into the catastrophic subjucation of the world, hip deep in blood and money. Nick erected a few panels of privacy fence, which has made a huge difference. I put a little shrine out there for Red Stone Woman, and last night, we sat briefly under the moon, a beach glass bone caught in our planets spiral tide, with the flame from the wee vilakku bright and strong even in the blessed night wind. The evenings have been dreamless and mercifully cool, but the days are dense heat and biomic dehydration. But were a crafty and adaptable kind of creature, are we not? And we abide. And we fiercely 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)