A morning of telescopic clarity, mountains grainy and layered on the skyline, the skies a tender blue. I got up early and planted out moroq (wild spinach), seedlings of basil and rocket, put in some yams and butternut on roughly tilled earth at the back. As I plant in my carefully propagated seedlings with their fragile stems and new leaves, I can see in my mind’s eye the bushes of basil and handfuls of peppery wild rocket I shall harvest in late December for holiday luncheons. I want sweet cherry tomatoes next to the basil, that synergy is extraordinay. Dogs running around and scratching at loose earth, curious sparrows chirping at me as the sun came up. Then I bathed and dashed off with wet hair and scrubbed fingernails to plan out a workshop.
Long phone conversation with the kind AA member who will be giving several of us a lift through to a distant meeting this evening — we won’t be back before midnight, travelling on bad roads. His 1992 Ford Cortina has no suspension and the seats are threadbare buckets covered in horse blankets. He is a kind man though (details here altered to conceal identity) and sober 16 years, but spoke to me this morning of the hounded and driven forces that have made his life hell in drunkenness or sobriety. No easy answers: he has had therapy, has worked the Steps, has gradually come to accept that this is his hardwiring in terms of personality. As he wrily remarked, it is harder for his family and all his children left home, shot out of the front door, as they left school. His wife spends long vacations with her mother and sister. His loneliness is extreme but he admits that when he befriends others, he drives them crazy. ‘I cannot let others be,’ he says.
There are three tiny new chameleons lurking in a fountain of brown and gold restios and I hang around hoping to glimpse them without disturbing them, mother love from a distance. They are mottled pink and green and a soft silver brown, such beauty. At night when I let the dogs out under a full moon, I sometimes see their arched bodies clinging to a swaying reed of restio, pale as old nutmeg.