Finally, the heat has broken. What a relief. I mean, I love summer and all, but 90 degrees and dense humidity transform me into jelly. Thursday night's gig was an ordeal--we played a 2-hour outdoor show in that weather--so no wonder I came home feeling like a sea slug.
Today, though, I hope to begin to catch up on all the gardening I haven't been able to face. I've got fall greens to sow, exhausted plants to pull, compost to spread, compost piles to turn. Even a tiny, tiny vegetable farm has its perpetual chores.
Right now we are awash in chard and lettuce. I am drying sage and dill for winter use, and 30 heads of garlic are curing in the shed. Peavines are pulled, the last picking of peas is in the freezer, and tiny string beans are beginning to appear. Tomatoes and peppers are swelling, cucumbers and eggplant are in flower, everbearing strawberries are setting fruit, and my sunflower hedge is blossoming.
Last year, when I came back from the Frost Place, all I knew about this cottage was that it had just come up for sale. Tom and I went to the open house, breathed in the heady perfume of too many cats and dogs, examined the overstuffed rooms and barren yard and falling-apart kitchen, shrugged, and made a low offer. On July 4, we signed a contract.
In other words, a year ago we were just beginning to wonder if we'd made a mistake. As it turns out: no.
Now I am sitting in our small tidy living room and thinking about the poetry collection I tore apart yesterday. It had to be done, and I'd been stalling for months. But with a sudden influx of new poems, I began to recognize what was wrong with it. I took out some poems, added others, and completely changed the order and thus its dramatic thread. I gave it a new title: Dooryard.
This morning I'm feeling energetic about the changes. I like the simplicity of the current title. I like that it's both a common Maine idiom and a reach back into the poetic aether. I like that it can be a metaphor or not. I like that it's a single word. I like that, no matter if you live in the country or the city, you can have a dooryard . . . a dirt driveway, a stoop. Go out and sit there and breathe in the cool morning and pet your cat and watch a kid crouch down to examine a bug. Listen to the train go by. Shell your peans and snap your beans.