Rushing headlong into spring, I exclaimed to myself — quite wrongly — because I saw pale yellow tiny flowers bursting out on a blue-green bush I can’t name, perhaps indigenous or from a Mediterranean hillside. The scarlet bracts have fallen from the old poinsettia, locquat fruits are ripening from green to a beige-yellow, the turtle doves seem louder and more amorously insistent. All the same,, it is still icy cold and I began the morning with hot coffee and learning a poem by memory as I tore up chunks of sourdough bread for panzanella, an Italian bread and tomato salad with red-wine vinegar and olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, ripe tomatoes. We get ripe-enough tomatoes all year round here — at their best though in February-March-April towards the end of our long long summers.
The great black dog is lying sprawled in a panel of sunlight falling through the open front door Each time I walk past he wags his tail, happiness thumping on the wooden floor. The lines of a remembered poem by Wallace Stevens, Sunday Morning, run through the back of my mind like a narrow but deep river, fast-flowing, rich with silt, sun-warmed with shining surfaces:.
What is divinity if it can come Only in silent shadows and in dreams? Shall she not find in comforts of the sun, In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else In any balm or beauty of the earth, Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
So it is still winter, the dry powdery snow on granite peaks I can see from the front door, no wildflowers yet, the branches of the apple trees still dark varnished brown, no blossom yet. All the same I am looking up recipes for artichokes and thinking of friends coming around for asparagus and bringing armfuls of spring flowers, red tulips like expansive hearts, the scent of white or golden freesias, that sweet thin fragrance of another grateful spring. The sun fills up the rooms and everything is floated on happiness, gratitude, possibility. And this too, bitter-sweet reading, a voice familiar but from a long time past, the misery and heartbreak of addiction — unending repetitive sadness — from Franz Wright
and the others all
around you, and the loneliness you love,