Monday, June 6, 2011

Dear love, up in the aerie after going about a half-hour of chores before settling down with a glass of wine to write to you. I just topped off one of the bird feeders, scattering a bit extra on the ground for the chipmunk and for mourning doves. Lots of wonderful activity at the feeders, easily visible from the kitchen window, which with cafe curtains half drawn, serves as a sort of birdblind. Yesterday, and today too, I saw my first ever rose-breasted grosbeaks. I didn't know what the handsome brilliantly colored birds were when D, eating lunch at the table, called my attention - "come quickly, but don't startle them." They were two adult males I learned upon consulting my Sibley's, jet black with a scarlet bib and white breast, gold beak (here's a wiki image of one).
They've arrived in Columbia County after wintering in Mexico, or Central America, or the Caribbean - much as certain of the most affluent county residents do. Also at the feeders have been various finches, sparrows, chickadees, of course - and also brilliant yellow goldfinches, Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, bluejays, and some sort of glossy blue-black bird, a grackle maybe.

(I also tried looking up the game bird that I had stopped the car to chase off the road last weekend - my best guess is that it's a ruffed grouse, but even with the photo I took I can't be sure.)

Darling, take my hand - as well too first this fresh cool drink - let's stroll together and I'll show you the garden. The parts that aren't an overgrown neglected mess are actually quite lovely. I've got a row of rosebushes, in bloom now that it's June. They're full of blossoms, despite all lack of pruning. A few days ago I planted out zinnias and cosmos that I had started from seed, and they are taking off, much happier to have larger quarters, their roots having become cramped in the small pots I started them in. The north "woodland" border where the bird feeders are, is the most successful garden of all. I just love it, and I'm very happy see that for the first time since we planted it (I think it's three years ago now) the oak-leaf hydrangeas are developing blooms which the deer haven't for once (though perhaps I shouldn't speak too soon) eaten. Astilbes are coming up, and an enormous goatsbeard at the back; a magenta rhododendron is about done blooming, as is the Solomon's Seal, but oh its variegated foliage is beautiful. Anyway. So there are beautiful spots here - and the perennial borders at the side of the house are coming into their own too. Trees we planted in the first couple of years when we moved here six years ago are finally looking more substantial, taller than us. It's hardly a mature landscape - but one day it will be. And I still hold out hope for one day the driveway being ripped up in favor of lawn, a path, and plantings. It will happen. One day M will come by in his free time to check it out, and then some time later, weeks or months, he'll show up with his bulldozer. I know how it works around here. And M's a great guy, amazing gardener & landscape designer of his own property, and keeper and collector of all manner of discarded objects that he puts to beautiful use. Here's a snapshot I took last year, stopping my car to admire what he has created at the roadside - a lovely public gesture it seems to me (his house is set back well in the woods).

D has been tinkering with my laundered camera, hoping to bring it to life, Dr. Frankenstein fashion. He took it apart and put it back together again, cheerfully reporting that he had one teeny screw (each of them miniscule of course) left over. "Sometimes things work better that way," he shrugged. He determined that the battery's dead. (Newsflash to me - I didn't realize that the battery is in the memory card - do I have that right? I'm confused. Because I was able to download images from the memory card. If, as the Secret Life of E.D. FB page posits, Emily is more at home, better understood, in our century - then surely I might have been, at least with regard to my utter lack of savviness as to technology, more at home in hers.) The battery's dead, and D lost me on the details, but apparently he was able to get a momentary glow of flickering light - sign of life from the camera before it went dead again. He's thinking new battery - but will try to sweet-talk a clerk into letting him swap out a battery from the store model, just for a moment to test it out, before investing in a new one.

Other than that today I baked two spinach pies, with farmstand spinach, feta, and phyllo dough, which came out beautifully and I let cool and then wrapped up and socked away in the freezer, in the event there's a sudden and unexpected visit by relatives one day this summer - I won't panic...

My dear, where are you I wonder? I thought your gig was finishing up around now, if so I wonder what's next. Putting my chin in my hand Dora Maar style, thinking about you, considering. Remembering being in my kitchen with you there too, me giving you a taste of that sheep's milk camembert - you stood by the fridge. It was like dancing with you, for just a moment. I felt it, but didn't know it, not then. I remember your presence so vividly, your looking at everything, examining everything with unaffected curiosity and interest. I wasn't even with you every moment, far from it, you went off with "the men" while we ladies (children all about) conversed in the indoor-garden room. I would enjoy a repeat of such an afternoon, though should it happen it will feel different. If I have any notice at all I will try to secure a wheel of the camembert, have it be at perfect room temperature, and offer it with crisp petit toast points, or perhaps with ripe strawberries, or slices of peach, and I'll say to you, here [darling] you must taste this, what do you think, and I'll come to you and graze against you ever so slightly as I place in your hand a smudge of cheese on a cracker & piece of fruit stand-in for a kiss, and our fingers will touch lightly for a moment, and for a split-second it will be as though no one else is there except you & me, except that that won't be true, somebody will be admonishing some kid, another will be embarked on declaiming some saga...

Dearest, I really must wind this up. Things have fallen silent up here in the aerie, a moment of stasis, though even from around the bend of the house I hear birds twittering. But the light's soft - not harsh anymore. I can't stand overly strong direct sunlight, neither could Emily, and I don't think sunglasses had been invented yet in her day. So if she & I, time-travelers, are to switch centuries for a spell, she needn't pack a thing, all will be arranged for her - but I will be sure to pack mine.

Many kisses, my love. Hope all is well with you. Embracing your dear solidly corporeal self, as in my most vividly cherished vivid recollections.

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