Saturday, July 18, 2015

I am sitting on the porch, at a card table covered with a yellow Provencal tablecloth, my laptop and a Fowles novel propped next to a stone jar of tall fading purple foxgloves. Last night I stood on a hay wagon in the mosquito dusk jamming to songs by Leadbelly and the Band, and I'm still kind of tired, but in a good way. The violin is an athletic instrument.

The wet has settled in, a real rain now. The drops click down the gutter. Yesterday evening, as I waited for a sound-check, I sat at a picnic table and read a Jane Kenyon poem about chores and stared down into a valley of vegetables, row after row of indistinguishable green, rolling down to a horizon of trees, and beyond, the hidden river. "How much better it is," she writes, "to carry wood to the fire / than to moan about your life." I thought about the irony of being a poet: that only someone who can't stop moaning about her life becomes able to write those lines.

There's a faint breeze this morning, and the porch is cool and damp, almost too cool to stay here for long. In the kitchen Tom is grinding coffee. Outside my screened window the peavines tremble as fat raindrops settle in the curl of their shallow leaves.

The peas are nearly done; the strawberries are over; the arugula has bolted into a bed of leggy white star-flowers. Yesterday I picked the first handful of raspberries. Potatoes are in bloom, and tiny green beans are setting among the lavender bean blossoms. The dahlias are covered in tight green buds. I am watching a white-breasted nuthatch slowly zig and zag up the trunk of an apple tree. "A bird begins to sing," writes Jane Kenyon, "hesitates, like a carpenter / pausing to straighten a nail, then / begins again."

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