Taking a break from my reading on Modernism, absorbing and reflecting. So much that is still there today, not just subsumed into what we glibly call ‘post-modernism’. That initial shock of the new that was also an enduring shock of disenchantment. Things that could no longer be said in the same way, not ever.
The summer leiwater routine began this morning at 6am so I got into an old tracksuit, gumboots and took out buckets to water roses and pots — this is the river or dam water from high in the mountains and it comes rushing down through the village — for a small fee we get it once a week for half an hour or more, and it keeps the garden alive through summer once the drought begins. The back garden is flooded almost knee deep in places and the house muddy as a cesspool for the day. Deep bricked and piped irrigation canals were put into this property from the 1920s on and the water pours in very fast — I can draw buckets as it runs in furrows and do my olives and fruit trees, pots etc. Because of my fragile likely-to-detach retina I have to go very carefully and at some point I will have to stop, but our neighbour T helps me each year.
When I was away overseas five years ago, he planted a small English hawthorn and a gingko tree in the garden along with rose apples, a bay leaf and a white rugosa. I wouldn’t have allowed him to plant any of this if I had been at home, because I prefer to put in African indigenous plants to save on water — if we get a bad drought, the leiwater will be rationed as will the municipal water and we even stop bathing or washing dishes when the water is cut so much that we can only get drinking water (the fun of cleaning plates and cutlery with river sand and grubby hands). Exotic they may be, but the little trees and roses are beautiful and T regards this as his garden in many ways. He steals some of my leiwater and has dug a piped canal under the wall at the back into his garden but I pretend not to notice. He stores his water in deep ornamental pools that are a nuisance because of the resulting plague of mosquitos. All the same, neighborliness is neighborliness, warts and all.
But mornings like this exemplify for me the bliss of living in the country despite all its inconveniences and loneliness, with the fierce golden light of the sun coming up over the granite peaks and the swift cold water running and spreading in great pools across the garden. Everything sluiced out and shining.