What is the late November doing With the disturbance of the spring And creatures of the summer heat, And snowdrops writhing under feet And hollyhocks that aim too high Red into grey and tumble down Late roses filled with early snow?
(Eliot, "East Coker")
Snakes, ticks and mosquitoes, among their many compadres, make it a necessity to keep to the well-groomed high ground. Never matter, the garden will pretty up very soon and I'll miss little but the shade and little creaks of leaves and old wood, and getting up to those tiny flowers at the head of weeds, usually just a brush against my shin as I pass it by. But they are pretty as they reach toward the filtered sun, like the fans of fungus and sticky pod, young bramble and mossy log, worth my notice.
The creek is high for all the rain, and the toads are blooming, as evidenced by my one muddy companion and the heavy echo of his kin through the night. It's been a cool and wet spring here, but the usual suspects still make their rounds, as do I this last time for the while.
Though I have complained about this current swell of rainstorms, what it does to the landscape of the Escape never fails to amaze me, particularly in the spring when the flora is bright and the old, soaked wood is caked with fungus. Even the ground has its charms for its stones having been so freshly washed.
I love watching any few of our dogs walking the drive with me and sniffing out all the little things that emerged with the storms, the paws sploshing and craunching over the drowned gravel. I love to duck down and scoot close to see the reflections in the waterdrops and depth of the wood grain, discern the million shades of green and russet, violet and yellow, and the puffy nodes, bold folds and standards, the capepillar-chewed blade edge, the hinting bud and drooping remnant.
I have to remember to stop and look--and look closely, listen intently, while I can and while they're there, because they won't always be.
In my beginning is my end. In succession Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended, Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass. Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires, Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth Which is already flesh, fur, and faeces, Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf. Houses live and die: there is a time for building And a time for living and for generation And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane And to shake the wainscot where the field mouse trots And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto. In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls Across the open field, leaving the deep lane Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon, Where you lean against a bank while a van passes, And the deep lane insists on the direction Into the village, in the electric heat Hypnotized. In a warm haze the sultry light Is absorbed, not reflected, by grey stone. The dahlias sleep in the empty silence. Wait for the early owl.
T.S. Eliot, East Coker
They forgot the foggy bits. Spot on otherwise.
Sweet little flowers and burgeoning hostas, the stuff of mid-spring and soon a subject for my pencils.