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

21 April 2012

Letters from the Outside, #57

 The enormous housecat darted off into the night, upending several flats of my already reluctant adolescent lettuce I left on the ground in the more benign late-afternoon light. They had weathered my negligence at having been forgotten outside under penalty of frost, but moped in their beds; the wet, withered limbs of tender leaves dragging in the dirt, a shame of transparencies. The Apples are leafing out, and the Strawberry blooming.

 I dig more dandelions from the perennial bed, pull tall grass and Maple tree nymphs from the edge of the garden, discovering hearty, self-seeded Sunflowers and a forked filament of Dill. The Lupine is grand, Ive stopped believing the wild garlic is a hollyhock, and the Dicentra begin the evocation of their arching, suspended hearts, each with its pale, pendulous, seed-bearing tear.

  I wash the bone armor of my soul in the thought of water, bathe it in some Akashic memory of golden, beveled sunlight, and wait, watching from the corner of my eye for a rustling of life. Very much like watching an egg, its perfect calcium galaxy broken open from the divine force inside.

 I did get around to getting seeds in the ground, carrots and radish and beets and peas; set the crucifers free, however prematurely. The afternoons are beatific, and the Sun and the Air are healthy and lift the weight. I am excited to see how this years garden evolves, and how much farther I can sustain it, and myself, before the waning light that heralds the anniversary of my arrival oppresses more than I can oppose. The other seedlings, moved up to small, biodegradable pots, have transitioned splendidly despite my clumsy, artless maneuvering, and the Tomatoes are still in their original flats, but alive and green and growing.

  I think I may have started the pumpkins too soon, as their ebullient life-force fills the repurposed plastic spinach crate like a kiddie-pool full of puppies. They may have to go into ground soon, and ill shelter them with an old sheet if theres breath of a frost. I think ill have to start the hardening-off of my tender seedlings, as ive done now with the hardy ones. I am surprised that last frost didnt completely decimate my lettuce. Render what is frost's, to the frost, what is the cat's to the cat. And the rest is still hopeful, and lovely.

  Glad to have had my Parsley started, they used to explain its protracted germination rate by saying that the seed went three times down to the devil (the Parsley germination rate is around twenty-one days). The Tomatoes could certainly use some air. Glad also to have started my Cosmos early, as most non-vegetal, direct-sown seeds invariably get kicked and dug and dumped on in my lumbering. Saw flowers today on my walk so charming they made me forget I was picking up litter, but gifted with a Turtle Stone along the way, the sense of a Scarab to it, its perimeter elliptical and its bisecting lines. Im thinking the last frost date will be two weeks ahead of schedule, the way things have gone, but that might be wishful thinking, as theyre now forecasting the possibility of snow. I dont mind letting my tomato plants grow through another re-potting, though. Those wont go in until the very last moment of May and I have every intention to give them all a generous berth (I tend to underestimate how indeterminately magnificent they can become).

  I sit there under the Maple and think about the rows of corn, the keen scent of Tomato, of picking beans in the noon sun and sealing them into mason jars for winter suppers. Last year I bought the wrong kind and I didnt know how to wrangle them; im a bush bean woman. Keep it simple, try and learn how to maintain the space, keep it mulched with straw and harvest what grows. A golden row of Calendula, the cheerful green of sweet peas eaten like a bear in the late morning. My grand saffron Tithonia, and of course the Sunflowers. I want it to be simple and successful. I want to feel as if im learning something, evolving.

  Another night flies over Cloud Valley, I bring the tender seedlings into the house, the hardier ones onto the enclosed porch, let the dogs out one last time before we all take our places in the quiet house and rest our bodies for another morning of navigating obligations and trying our best to be human, and alive. Splendid friday, seventy and a breeze coursing through the new green leaves. Everything rises, rejoicing. Your Apple trees have blossomed out, and the Plum. Impromptu Willow windfall fire, quick to burn but full of sparks, little blazing evanescent ships of sugarwater lovely against the black moonless sky, answering with stars. T. tells a story, the goddess-woman shut herself in the hall, mad with power and grief, and when they came for her she had gone, a sudden self-exile from the mountain cathedral, and all that sought after her were made to navigate some vast, shifting maze of the mortal world.

 Forget about the windows. Entirely insignificant. 
We love you.

16 April 2012

Letters from the Outside, #56

 Love comes into Being and passes away through countless forms, chapters or pages or words in book written in Light. What you hear when you put that shell up to your ear – what youre really hearing is the rush of your own blood, the salt water tide of your very life merging with the sound of waves on the sea.

  Spring, and grape hyacinth along the roadside, the pastures green and glowing in the gilded light. Light on the bywater where the Crows call out omens and the Geese enact their generative rites. Some wonderful smell of loam and rain and smoke from a fruitwood fire riding down the hill and up the valley comes the unmistakable scent of snow.

  I try my hand at hairsticks, branches of Apple and Lilac and Willow. ill sand down and seal them, now on the lookout for other wee branches, Chestnut, Sycamore, Oak, Evergreen. The seedlings could use a little heat and true sunlight, but its been precariously cold. I cant get my Peacevine seeds to sprout it seems, which is disheartening. Repotted some Jade and the Monstera, propped that up with a long dry Willow branch. Did I tell you how we lost the Oak bridge between us but gained another, a Willow from your side that took out the playset and a stack of what were to be greenhouse windows. Theres campwood now, and im grateful it spared the little line of Spruce I planted years ago. The playset can at least be extricated, but the windows are pinned, bent and smashed, like an ill-fated axe man.

 With the impervious optimism of perennial growth, I spied the new Artemisia leaves in the twigs and the mould, and what may be a far-flung Hollyhock in the front bed. These prove big developments in this little life of mine. An unusually social saturday evening, and a sunday spent in front of the woodstove, rain ticking against the chimney and the window panes, devouring the last pages of A Game of Thrones, the first in a series I am late to the reading of, but entirely engrossed in, proving to be the Good Read I always am waiting for. The second book waits on the table as it begins, again, to snow – thick, heavy, wet clusters of snow, enough to settle on the green green grass after the Earth had had her fill, but disappeared just as suddenly, and over Cloud Valley an dense, icy mist that settles into a crust over everything insentient until morning.

  Started Tithonia and Cosmos, pumpkin and squash. Would love to get some cold weather crops in the ground in the next few weeks, beets, spinach, radishes, transplant my lettuce seedlings starting to gangle in their tiny cribs. Ruby-kissed House Finches grace the feeder, along with the Chickadee, Titmouse, Goldfinch and Nuthatch hosts. Peacevine seedlings at last, coaxed to grow in prime window real estate under plastic and I confess I wondered as to whether or not it would be Summer without them. Like the Hummingbirds, who ill need to start cooking for soon, and the first Bluebird of spring I spied heading south down the valley, who is also a source of interconnectedness and joy.

  Bonfire calling up a full Libra moon from under the East Hill treeline, and a dream of deep, silent snow leads into bright spring morning and a loose Hereford charging around by the creek that runs under the bridge, and then over the bridge and I call Sister Mama to tell her theres cattle coming her way and I get invited to go see the Blue Heron nests down the road.

 Tilled the garden again, steeling myself for the task of pulling thatch and weed away from the Lavender and Rose bushes. Next week I may brave a few seeds in the ground. Went down to see the Blue Heron nursery along the old right-of-way. The light was fantastic, shining off the fresh water of the fen, illuminating filaments and veins, the broad green gowns of Skunk Cabbage with their dusky reliquaries holding the curious spadix, another clue that we are approaching the gentle and welcoming heart of Spring. I boiled eggs in onion skins until they were mahogany red.

  And there was a sweatlodge and deaths and birthday parties. I wake up one morning knowing its time to plant out the lettuce and sow the beets. Were past the Ides of April, rolling down the fresh green hill into May. Moving the Marigold, Zinnias, Parsley and the Hopi Tobacco into bigger pots, the air not as balmy as id like it, but im sure these little lives enjoy the pure nourishment of the Sun, and the air moving between their leaves will strengthen them. I make the questionable decision to bring all the seedlings (except for the tomatoes and peppers) out into the sunlight to get them started hardening-off. The cool, overcast days prove a perfect segue into life rooted in the Earth. I need to wash floors and pull dandelions, re-pot more houseplants, rake the winters leaves from the Ivy. The big felted Hoya clusters appear, the first wave of Geranium flowers stretch their faces toward the glass. Its a matter of months now, counted on one hand. We love you.

13 April 2012

the friday song.

02 April 2012

april, come she will.
"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)