Things have come up nicely. This is our 4th year of growing edibles (2nd year of raised beds and not just pots), and work and patience are starting to pay off! So far we have radishes, arugula, 2 kales, some scattered peas for snacking on, and lots of herbs. It’s enough for now. Besides that, toddlers are notorious garden pests.
— 24 —
Let the world’s sharpness, like a clasping knife,
Shut in upon itself and do no harm
In this close hand of Love, now soft and warm,
And let us hear no sound of human strife
After the click of the shutting. Life to life–
I lean upon thee, Dear, without alarm,
And feel as safe as guarded by a charm
Against the stab of worldlings, who if rife
Are weak to injure. Very whitely still
The lilies of our lives may reassure
Their blossoms from their roots, accessible
Alone to heavenly dews that drop not fewer,
Growing straight, out of man’s reach, on the hill.
God only, who made us rich, can make us poor.
–from Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
We found the tree last year while the fruit was still green, and watched them ripen slowly into late autumn. You know they’re ripe when they fall off the tree, at which point they are fair game for anyone (or animal) interested, so it’s difficult to gather enough for more than a taste. But aren’t they beautiful?
I’m up with my baby at 3 am. Nothing traumatic, just Up. He’s awake, and someone had to be with him.
I’m darn well going to have a snack when I’m up in the middle of the night, so we’re in the kitchen, one dim light on, the one above the oven. Emmett’s on the floor facing away from it, entranced by the weird double shadow cast by the two bulbs. They’ve turned his little self into a two-headed monster–the lights each casting their own dull overlapping shadows–and where they cross there is a darker, sort of pinheaded representation of his head and shoulders. He is pawing at it as it wobbles back and forth.
His attention doesn’t keep forever, and he’s on to scooting around the floor and darting glances around the dark kitchen, which he knows well in daylight but is now a realm of mystery.
I love watching this fascination with things we adults regard very little, if we notice them. Two shadows crossing in a dimly-lit room. Sunlight coming through leaves and reflecting on walls. The wonder of a spray of fountain in the park. The really cool sound a dishwasher makes.
I imagine babies are all pretty keen observers. They need to be–how else are they going to learn the things no adult will think to show or tell them? We are their protectors, but they are filling their own little eyes and ears with a world of beauty, patterns of light, shapes of leaves, colors of sky and neighborhood, sounds of voice and heartbeat and song. All we can do is try to put them in the right places.
He seems tired of the kitchen, so I pick him up. “Bo,” he says.
These glorious days, we walk.
The trees are all alight, from every angle: behind, before, beneath. I go eyes down mostly, like Mammon in Paradise Lost, but for jeweled leaves not riches; for a time I remember to gaze up at torching trees, then down again at strewn path, and so on.
I talk to my baby, telling him how beautiful this world is. I will tell him how terrible it can be, but not yet. For now it is gem-like and wonderful only, light glancing from all parts.
I gather the paper silhouettes that have danced suspended by one tiny point of stem, have flown shivering out, away, perhaps up, then down, and finally lie lightly on grass and path.
It is a fruitless gesture. They will never be as lovely as they are now, but–though I know it–my marveling eyes make me stoop, and think “This one! this is the most beautiful” over and over, not knowing what I will do with them but wanting to pull that beauty to me.
Light on leaf and branch is food for ordinary times bereft of color, when heart and eye wish for more and cannot find it.