Summertime and the traffic


“Summer,” said a friend who co-runs a restaurant,” seems like it started four hours ago.”  That felt right for today is Thursday, and already the air is thicker.  The dahlias finally got planted, and staked,then removed, and replanted.  A funny story if you ask me in a few years. My favorite cartoon from the New Yorker is a man happily planting in a rooftop garden only to have his carrots stolen by a bunny with wings.  This isn’t a non sequitor if you knew the story about the dahlias.

Later while eating ice cream with another friend, we heard the first “F-ck you” from the traffic whizzing by, screamed by a man in a car to another diver.  What is summer then in a prettyhow tourist town than ice cream, neighbors, and traffic curse-outs?

But then there was the beach, the pretty beach with a shark warning, the ocean that seemed endless, the water that was cold, and the sand sticky on bare feet across the asphalt.

Will the Warmth Enter and Stay?


Indira Ganesan, Wild Partot, 2016
Indira Ganesan, Wild Partot, 2016


Only when it is time to plant the tomatoes.  This is the refrain I hear when I think about planting dahlia tubers; sow sunflower seeds; plant the zinnias.  The soil temperature has to remain in the fifties, if not ideally in the sixties.  As I write, an arctic air cuts through my open window ( because it is spring) and chills my short-sleeved (ditto) arms.

I am working on the third book of the Meterling series.  Sometimes I ignore it, thinking to get other responsibilities out of the way.  Yet that never works, for there is always a query, a quibble, a tugging in the mind that feels dissatisfied for not working.  So I distract myself with a garden that feels unbalanced.  Warmth seeps in the day, creeps away at night. There is a new foal at the farm, I hear.  Still spring then, the season of all things new, but not yet time to plant the flowers I love.

The Rain that is Raining Now


It sounds like icy rain.  A kind of sharp patter which hits the terrace in different places, making me think of hail.  The windows are blurred with it, one section of the sliding glass door thick with droplets, and the other one, on the right, is clearer.  That is because the one on the left has the screen behind it.  I do not want to move to see if it is in fact ice that is hitting the glass.  It is May, and I need to write a novel, and I need to plant dahlias.

The wind is picking up.  It is a wind that starts and stops, and if Galway Kinnell were still alive, he could write a poem about it.  Galway Kinnell is dead, isn’t he?  Too many people have passed away–Jenny Diski the latest, who I only knew because she wrote about what it was like living with Doris Lessing as a child.  Has Doris Lessing passed?  Yes, she has.  Is it because Google is at my fingertips that my memory is so thin?  That I need not use my memory as much because I can always look it up?

It is that kind of day.  The kind I wonder why I am not really as good a writer as I want to, and no amount of soothing will do.  It is the cold, sharp, rock we carry in our hearts, the notion of not measuring up, when measuring up is fruitless and meaningless, and all-consuming.  Yes, yes, there are the gratitude lists, and look at where I am: safe from the rain and cold, with dinner in the fridge.  I have a fridge.  So where does this elusiveness come from?  Is it because classes are finished, grades are in, and I don’t have anything as good as Ferrante or Tolstoy to read?  A chunky novel I can’t wait to go to bed and start reading?

Meanwhile Air Fare Watchdog Alert tells me that there are $39 round trip tickets available if I only look, from here to there and back again.  I look, and I don’t see it.  Restlessness, this is what my mother calls.  When I get restless, with nothing much to occupy me for the moment.  It will change tomorrow, maybe even after dinner.  I’ll heat something up, watch Midsomer Murders which, by the way, is endless with episodes.  Nowhere near as good as Wallander, but Patti Smith has watched it.  Now, really, is that important?  It is just the rain, the cold, and early May.


But later:

Turned out that the Midsomer rerun I was watching, but new to me, took half-place in Denmark.  And the stars from The Killing and Borgen were on it with Nordic Sang-froid while teaming up with the Midsomer cast.  And from a long-lensed  view, The Killing star looked a lot like Patti Smith.

I enjoyed the episode, and midway through, laughed out loud.  Midsomer is hugely popular in Denmark, because, as the Danish broadcaster DK’s acquisitions director once put it to The Guardian, it’s a cozy English village mystery series, “And if you fall asleep it’s fine, because that’s what it’s for and you’ll never remember who did it anyway.”

Outside, the rain has paused, and the frogs are peeping again.