“The moon is just as bright as in my homeland”

The eerie dark pink sun rising over Mt. Hallowell as we swim early mornings. The moon, almost the same colour in the dark trees, glowing as it passes the house. Smoke haze everywhere, the taste of it bitter at the back of the throat. My brother and his wife evacuated from their home in the Nazko valley. Always a mild anxiety as we look around, wonder about new fires, though the smoke comes from the Interior. No rain for weeks, none is forecast. I left laundry out for two days and when it came in, it smelled of fire, a dusting of fine grey particulate on the linen sheets.

But there are things to celebrate. John lifted the garlic and sorted it, letting it dry for a few days in a safe place (bears!), and then tying it to the rafters in the woodshed to cure for the winter. Next year I’ll plant more (I always say this) but I’m grateful for the beautiful heads of Red Russian, White Italian, and the gorgeous purple striped Metechi, from Kazakhstan.


I look forward to rain. We all do. And good news from the Nazko valley. In the meantime, I think of Du Fu and his brothers, though I know mine are safe:

Tonight we start the season of White Dew,
The moon is just as bright as in my homeland.
My brothers are spread all throughout the land,
No home to ask if they are living or dead.
The letters we send always go astray…

6 thoughts on ““The moon is just as bright as in my homeland””

  1. Hope those fires are out soon. Weird how Quebec and BC seem to have swapped summer weather this year…QC is getting all the rain. No need for a hose this year at all.
    The garlic looks lovely. I planted dozens last fall, but for some reason (all the rain?) only five or so came up.
    That’s a wonderful poem. Must go look it up. 🙂

    1. I planted about 6 dozen and have that many drying. But could use twice that in a year. I bought the Metechi at a farmers market in Lytton — hot dry area — and wondered if our coast would be too wet for it to develop well. We did have a cold wet winter but man, the last few months have been perfect for this garlic. Not so great for other things — many of our firs are scarily brown.

  2. I hope your brother and sister-in-law weather this event with good fortune. The reports from the Nazko fires are sobering. On the plus side, we have tremendously competent fire crews, and vast though the wildfires are, the area unaffected is much greater than that burnt. As you know, this is big, big country.

    Our place is down along the Fraser just north of Soda Creek; we have a goodly number of fires all around us as well, and up on the Chilcotin plateau, as I imagine you are well aware of.

    What a summer! Wishing for a good coastal-type soaking rain. We’d need a week or two of that to damp things down. One can wish, though in reality the probability is not at all high.

    Lovely to see your garlic! Isn’t this the best time of year, when it’s so sticky-crisp, so freshly potent?!

    And hey, sorry about that smoke. It’s being shared about quite generously, through the province and beyond…

    1. I am sorry for anyone and any place under threat of fire. I think it must be such a terrible thing to try to sleep at night with the fear that you might have to leave. We can cope with the smoke (staying inside, swimming early, keeping windows closed and fans going) but other people have the trauma of losing their homes, their livestock, the very landscape that makes a place a, well, a place. One nephew ranches near Farwell Canyon and stayed while others were evacuated because of his cattle and horses…

      The garlic is wonderful. I have some Italian white too that is sweet and luscious.

      Take care.

    1. Garlic is one of those palpable miracles, isn’t it? Plant one clove, harvest a head. And so on. Every time I walk by the woodshed — that smell! Lovely. And thank you for your good wishes for my brother and his wife. It’s the second time the fires have come close to them in the last few years.

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