I should be writing every day – but I’m not. Instead, I’m counting the time in flowers. Waiting for Saturday to come like a pardon, and lift the veil between myself and something I want. Something I don’t have to kiss goodbye or keep to myself. No riddle to live with, beyond the mercurial and mysterious light and lens, and the infinite up and down of the contrast curve
And though this is a purely solitary activity, I feel I’m just finishing the work that other gardeners started for me – and carried on much better than I ever could. A handful of lisianthus and celosia and snaps – the last she had to cut, the farmer told me, for a few more weeks. “The weather has been so weird this summer,” she said, diagnosing the lull in her cutting garden. As tan as a walnut, her girth supported on rigidly braced ankles, she was selling out of her $7 posies just a few minutes past 7 am. Next time, it will be sunflowers and dahlias – but that’s a few weeks away.
And the rudbeckia, and bee-balm and larkspur hiding just out of the frame, that grew effortlessly along the back-40 border at Ann’s house. It’s almost as if the bees and the plants know what they are doing, and can be left to carry on without too much human interference. Of course, Ann just makes it look that way – for which I am so very grateful.
To hold the true and not true together in the same heart, though – especially when it is your own – this does take a net written in longhand, so that the line can trace back to yourself with every loop and garland. Otherwise, you are bound to get lost and think you have found your way without even trying to read the map.