fire camp

I want to write about the treasures of late summer, the orange and yellow and deep red tomatoes, the ones with dark shoulders, and the pink Caspians. Most days I pick a big colander of them, eating handsful as I move along the vines. There are eggplants too and one plant laden with sweet yellow peppers that turn to the colour of persimmons only hours after I cut them from their stems.

Long red potatoes turned from their dark nests, beans, lettuce-leaf basil, tough-skinned cucumbers with pale cool flesh. And roses, “Lady of Shalot” and “Heritage” and a few “Munstead Woods” to place in a silver bowl found in the thrift store, its clever grill holding their stems, and the stems of scented geraniums: “Fair Ellen”, “Skeleton Rose”, a ginger one, “Prince of Orange”. Nasturtiums winding their way through the roses and grapevines, fennel pollen coating the fine hairs on my arms as I pick kale, blue dragonflies stitching the morning to an elegant patchwork of sunlight, grey cloud, sudden rain, and a blue sky out of a book of hours.

A dinner of prawns, chili-dusted chicken, and corn, blackberry galette and plum kuchen, followed by fire camp (Francophone Manon’s term for the ring of boulders we use for roasting marshmallows) with friends, the bottle of Glenfiddich making the rounds and the old songs half-remembered in the darkness while far away the coyotes make their own harmonies to our tune. Or theirs. It doesn’t matter.

I want it to go on forever. The pitchy smoke in my hair waking me in the small hours to remember the glow of coals, the faces around, the moments of perfection too rare to let go.


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