Autumn Equinox.

October 3, 2010 at 1:57 pm (a gentleman farmer, books, fishmongering, the gods)

I barely had time for the equinox. I took a few stolen glances at that gorgeous, pregnant harvest moon. I savoured a few guilty thoughts about how much better I’d like to care for my garden next year. I was in a bit of a frenzy at the time. The cold months are when I sell the most fish, and as the world turns darker and my customers more ravenous, my boys and I seem to have been caught a little unprepared. I’ve worked summers where every afternoon is a long lull, a desperate search to find something to clean in order to have something to do. I only experienced that once this year, and on that day I scrubbed so many things that the fishmonger with whom I shared the shift laughed at me. So our slowly getting back to business has us really quite busy. I enjoy it, but my body, I’m afraid, isn’t quite used to the pacing. And when I could have been biking into the coming fall, finding the patches of collected dried leaves to stomp in, to roll and play and worship in, I was attempting to do honour to my household gods, putting things in order, making things ready for the approach of my ladyfriend and her youngest daughter. And that felt right, somehow. Spring cleaning is nice, I suppose, for chasing the winter out. But I prefer making preparations. I want to gather in, to set my house in order for my long stay there. I’ve picked up my knitting needles again, and I am, for the first time, looking suspiciously at patterns. Up until now I’ve basically been practising various stitches in swatches and calling the results a scarf, or tearing them out and using the yarn to attempt something else. And I suddenly find myself in possession of a somewhat sizeable stack of books on gardening so that I can be better prepared for the first workable soil next year. And I scrubbed, and set things in order, and made some (mostly inadequate) attempt at hiding the things that a particularly destructive three-year-old might get into, or break, or on which she might impale herself. I planned recipes. I hauled food home in what felt like massive quantities, given that I’m only used to feeding myself. So it is possible, I suppose, that what I experienced was actually one of the more honest and encompassing second harvests in my memory.

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A snake in the garden.

July 20, 2010 at 11:05 am (a gentleman farmer, the gods)

There is a snake in the garden.

Last year, just before my birthday, three keys were left on the ledge next to my door. I left them there, not wanting to take them from whomever may have lost them. But when three of my neighbours tried to return them to me, including an old man with a python coiled about his shoulders, I felt certain of the shape of the ritual and accepted the gift. I have those keys, still. This year, on the day before my birthday, my neighbours knocked three times again. The first time they informed us that quite a large snake, possibly two large snakes, had been seen crawling into my garden. The second time they told us that they’d called the police. And the third time we learned that the police wouldn’t be helping us, and that we should really be careful.

I live in the ghetto, and my garden is only a few raised beds in an abandoned lot. To protect from the rare less well-intentioned of my neighbours, I’ve allowed the front half of the lot to be claimed by underbrush and weeds, low-growing paulownia trees, a tangled net of grasping green. Anything lurking there would be quite invisible.

What happens, I wonder, next year, on my third birthday with this snake spirit that clearly coils in threes? For now I’ll wear my fishmongering boots when I’m outdoors checking on my tomatoes and kale, and hope that the snake, if angered or frightened, is feeling lethargic and not up to lunging above the level of my knees in this heat.

Horrible death--a man eaten by rattlesnakes, near West Chazy...

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