“That marvellous sorrows might endure forever”

I’m listening (again!) to Iris DeMent sing her beautiful settings of Akhmatova’s poems. And this one, this morning, sings its way directly to my heart.

The ancient gods changed men
To things, but left them
A consciousness that smoldered endlessly
That marvellous sorrows might endure forever,
You have been changed into a memory.

I keep telling people that I’m glad we don’t live forever. I’m finding the world a difficult place these days. It’s hard to keep my own focus and intention when it seems nuclear war hovers again in the minds and actions of madmen (it’s almost never women), when the things that we thought might be solved by now are still the ugly presences they’ve always been, and our planet and its urgent climate issues, well, what to say about that.

I just picked the last of the basil before frost—because it’s in the air when we get up, even if the temperatures are not quite low enough—and made a double batch of pesto to freeze for winter. The last tomatoes.


There are three Meyer lemons remaining from the tree’s generous bounty.

meyer lemons

And of course there’s so much to be thankful for. This time last year I wasn’t sure I’d have more time to pick tomatoes and lemons, a big colander of lettuce-leaf basil. And yesterday as I prepared a duck for the oven and we opened a bottle of golden wine that went down so easily that the bottle is empty this morning,


and as John set the table with our moon plates and the faux Murano goblets, I was grateful for every molecule of my life. For a day, maybe all the sad mutterings of the world will go away, and we can go pick chanterelles and read by the fire. I found wooden knitting needles at the thrift store on Saturday and am wondering if it’s too late to learn to knit. Oh, I can, a bit. Straight lines, like scarves. But a few years ago I found yarn made with nettle fibre and I’d like to make something worthy of it. Something to wrap up in during the dark times to come.


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