…or maybe it isn’t, but this morning the air was cool, the forest fire smoke haze could have been autumn fog on the lake below my house, and maybe the leaves have died because it is time and not because there’s been no rain since July. This morning I swam, feeling strength in my arms and legs, and when I came home, the Steller’s jays were waiting.
We have to go on, even though the salmon are doomed, the Douglas fir needles are falling in orange drifts, and particulates fill the atmosphere. But in the fridge, there was juice waiting, made from Chardonnay grapes growing against the south side of the house, and fragrant rosemary, so I made jelly, topping up the juice with port for colour and flavour. Listen! The lids are snapping as I write.
John is outside, cutting wood for kindling, and tomorrow it’s our wedding anniversary, 43 years since we gathered our families together in a room in Sidney and told each other poems. We were young and ready to make a life together, a life that has been good, and continues to be. This was us not even a year after our wedding, golden with that life.
So the shelves will hold garnet jelly, peach preserves, salsa made with tomatillos grown on the deck where we drank our coffee every morning over the summer, and watched bees in the mint, dragonflies pausing on bamboo stakes. You can see the yellow tomatillo flowers on the left, the ones the yellow-faced bumblebees loved, the bees my grandsons and I thought resembled the mask of Agamemnon discovered at Mycenae. Every place, every memory.