Sometimes I stop in the middle of a chore, in this case bringing up a planter of soil to transplant arugula thinnings into for the salad area around the corner from this photograph, and I see a moment that I need to soak up. A moment of calm, of beauty, two red chairs and a green one without its cushion, as though waiting for me to notice them, to sit for a while at the table and forget the troubled world. The troubled planet. A pot of scented geranium on the table, Prince of Orange, to replace the big one that didn’t overwinter well in the new greenhouse. Many roses just in bud.
The corner I am calling Greece, for its tin of rosemary, its anemones, its Desert King fig (because the huge Brown Turkey growing up the side of the house produces figs that don’t reliably ripen here on the B.C. coast), its rose scented geraniums,
and cistus dropping its bright petals. Mostly instead of sitting there I am planting squash, hunting slugs, preparing teepees for the beans (5 planted, one tray of seedlings just hardening off), filling big pots with soil for the peppers and eggplants in the greenhouse still. I am writing a novel. I am worrying about Ukraine. This morning photographs arrived of the family garden in my grandfather’s village where my newly-discovered relatives say, “We planted a garden in the spring, and now we hope to harvest in the fall. That’s how we live.” Their tomatoes are huge. Cherry trees and black currant bushes laden with fruit. Roses. And my cousin also said, “We have already finished the school year. The children completed it online because there is no bomb shelter in our school. There will be vacations soon.” My heart broke a little when I read that.
Sometimes I stop and sit in a red chair and just listen. Bees in the tomato flowers, the Madame Alfred Carriere roses, the tiny grape flowers. A robin ardently singing in the woods. Hummingbirds in the wisteria. The Fraser River is rising, rising. Russia is pulverizing whole cities. Along the highway below me, the Ministry of Transportation is still applying glyphosates to the orange hawkweed that the butterflies hover in. American families are posting photographs of their gun collections, vast arsenals set out on sundecks like mine, on kitchen floors, children proudly holding assault rifles and pistols. Today is the day I will tie up columbines, hoe the garlic and give the rows a drink of comfrey tea. There is sunlight this morning, the sound of loons, a brown and yellow garter snake sunning itself on the garden path.