“…deeper than anyone knows.”

P1100565We know autumn is coming. The sun comes over Mount Hallowell an hour and a half later than it did when we drank our coffee on the upper deck and thought about all the things we would accomplish in summer. So much of it is still undone, at least from my perspective. Garden unweeded, relationships untended, some of them. But the pantry shelves are lined with preserves, the tomato plants are still producing their beautiful red fruits, I’ve filled a basket with squash,
and the flowers bloom as though frost was simply a rumour — as it is at this point in the year.
The beautiful changes as a forest is changed
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;
As a mantis, arranged
On a green leaf, grows
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.
                                               (from “The Beautiful Changes” by Richard Wilbur)
On Long Beach the other day, I thought of the way I wanted to write the novella I’ve recently begun, a reflective (and reflexive) book about a brother and a sister and a river. It will pay homage to writers who’ve explored the same territory — Sheila Watson and Ethel Wilson. I’m thinking of Lytton and the place where the Thompson River meets the Fraser, how it looks this time of year, the sumac turning red and the rabbitbrush vivid yellow on the roadside between Lytton and Spences Bridge. The beautiful changes. It’s always exciting to be at the start of something — a season, a story. And to feel the cadences of both begin to pull me in.

2 thoughts on ““…deeper than anyone knows.””

  1. Oh, I love that ‘leaf leafier’ of Wilbur’s. And as for the things undone, think of those things the summer has brought instead: having a granddaughter surely warrants a little undone weeding! Have you come across Kirsty Gunn’s ‘Rain’? Another novella with a brother & sister at its heart and, in this case, a lake…incredibly atmospheric & beautiful.

    1. Sarah, I loved Kirsty Gunn’s The Keepsake and have The Big Music on my radar. But Rain! I didn’t know about it. And a novella — I’m keeping a sort of “life list” of them lately, as a way of honouring the form. (Title contributions welcome!) So now I’ll order Rain and work away on my own version of a brother, a sister, and water.
      And yes, a granddaughter — and visit to same, across the mountains — justifies a bit of untidiness in the garden. She is so lovely. Just gearing up for another quick visit.

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