Life continues, as it does when one is not looking; the garden makes its roses, the orange trees flower and fruit and the fruit falls and lies in the dead leaves waiting to be cleaned up. Across the street the blackberries come, although less than the year before; it is drought here, a severe one, dry and dust and surprisingly humid in these August days. I am amazed the blackberries come at all when I think of it, that the plant has grown so and made so much fruit despite months without rain. Stubborn, that one, and the thorns long and sharp and the fruit very sweet. I think tomorrow I might go to pick some, if I can make the time. The warm humid days tire me, not in the body but in the heart, too close and still outside, although today it was pleasant in the morning, a cool gray sky to start and more wind before the heat came. I know there are people who love the summer, and in June even I am a little won over, but as always I am well sick of it now and waiting impatiently (but without true hope) for autumn wind and rain.
Last fall I crossed the continent to see my dear friend; this year only half of it, as we have decided to meet in the middle. Five days, a feast beyond what I could have imagined, although many things to do in the time, not just the two of us together for the whole. Still, I will see him some each day, and we may go to the ballet, and there will be some meals, one or two perhaps cooked together. It hurts to think of it, so often I do not, but tonight I am finding that to avoid those thoughts which hurt is just another way not to live (had I not learned that already? I am deeply annoyed with myself, well, good, then let it change) and I am sick of that as well. Half-sick of Shadows, I might write, except I do not imagine myself the Lady of Shalott, languishing in her tower waiting to look at what must not seen and die of it. No, I will turn, and look, and then live after all. An image of the female artist as seen by a Victorian man, my excellent professor said, the contradictions made manifest, imprisoned, creating, but killed by her own vision. A good thing we have reached the 21st century.
But I meant when I began this to write of the garden; my household has collaborated with another to make planter boxes and fill them with vegetables and thus we have been rich in tomatoes, zucchini and peppers for the last month or so. It has slowed now, some the drought, some just the pause before another harvest, but still, it amazes and satisfies both, the richness of it, having food outside which one may simply go pick and eat. After a hungry childhood, satisfying and surprising both, down into the bones. I think from now on, wherever I live, I will try to have a garden which gives me food as well as flowers.