23 June 2019

Singing the dolphin through

Greetings from la-la-lily land, the secret boudoir of the queen of Sheba, aka the garden just after midsummer.

This morning as I hung up the freshly washed sheets to dry in the garden I could feel the wind changing direction and within minutes, the air got hotter and drier. We've been told and warned from all sides about this heat wave, hot winds from the Sahara, possible new temperature records and so on.

The weekend edition of our local newspaper was completely dedicated to climate change, all sections, politics, sport, business, local news, culture, travel, gardening, even the tv critics and the ads were on it. We read it silently, shoving the pages to and fro across the breakfast table on the patio.

A bird flew into the sitting room as we were reading, a young robin. She blended into the carpet so well it took us a while to find her. Come on, sweetheart, we whispered, here, here, this is the way out. I like to think she left reluctantly, that she wasn't quite finished exploring. For some time, she sat in the pear tree just beside us chirping her message we could not understand.

This summer I have seen exactly two butterflies in the garden but the birds are abundant. A woodpecker comes every evening to hammer away at the string of peanuts hanging on the bicycle shed. He is completely unimpressed by our presence and last night, R managed to walk up right next to him. He continued to hack and bang and then he shrugged, at least I like to think that, he shrugged us off and flew away in a long low swooping curve across the garden.

Soon it got too hot for my taste and I sat at my desk editing some manuscripts for a while, whispering encouraging words to my stuck-up intestine (I am on my second round of antibiotics for the year thanks to immune suppression and sneaky E. coli).

Later I cut my fringe - almost expertly - and snuggled up on the bed reading The One Inside by Sam Shepard, laughing and crying a bit and I realised how sad we are, how lonely and sad.

And now it's almost evening. The temperature has soared another few degrees, the wind is hot. The climate activists who had been blocking the coal mines not too far from here have all been arrested and/or removed. R is cooking downstairs listening to Manfred Mann's Earth Band.


  1. Supposed to be 97 here today. 36 in Celsius. I'm trying to get a little bit of weeding and trimming done so that my camellia and fern bed can breath. It's shady there and so I can tolerate an hour at a time. We have woodpeckers too and they, like yours, swoop, scooping the air in their wings as they go. I haven't seen very many butterflies. Maybe it's still early. It's all changing. Your flowers are gorgeous. I can visualize your sheets on the line. I've hung laundry on my line too. At least we can use this heat for something.

  2. Lovely lilies. I heard an important message from a supporter of climate change activism. She said simply, "We have to stop using coal, oil and gas to run things." Not that it's simple. But that is the most important basic thing to do. Sorry you've got a heat wave, not much fun. I've had some robins and chipmunks just staring at me lately...for as long as I sit still and look at them, they stare back.

  3. beautiful lilies. mine are almost done. day lilies and crinums, the easter lilies gone by a while back. no asian lilies though. the heat here is brutal, August temperatures. all that complaining I did about all the rain and overcast days last winter and spring and now I would welcome some overcast days. we all know what needs to be done but we are out of time and those who profit from coal, oil, and gas turn a blind eye and deaf ear. you'd think that instead of denying all the research they would have jumped on renewable energy long ago and be phasing out the old stuff. only a few butterflies here, a couple of swallowtails, one little hairstreak but no monarchs, no sulfurs, no fritillaries.

  4. Except for a period in late 2011 when I invited my nearest and dearest to submit names of important bands and typical performances (which I then analysed in my blog) my association with the pop world has been no more than glancing. But isn't it strange how music can percolate? I became an S&G enthusiast after seeing The Graduate (loved the songs, was baffled by the movie). On my first ski-ing holiday in 1978 a couple danced expertly in an Italian bar to Rock Around The Clock and I realised for the first time how well the music fitted what they were doing. Inexplicably VR (more typically a Wagner fan, with me) bought a Roberta Flack CD; I was exposed to The First Time Ever I Saw Your face; I bought the score; I sing it at home and once even persuaded my singing teacher to try it (which she did, beautifully). In brief, pop music and its many sub-divisions makes itself known at different levels.

    Manfred Mann's name caught my eye (not my ear; I have no idea what he sounds like) but only because I imagined he belonged to the past. I just Wiki-ed him and discovered just how "past" he is. Years active: 1962 - 1969! So what does this say about his music and (possibly) R's taste? Again "a percolation". Not that I'm inclined to listen to Mann, what interests me is his longevity. In a field where this tends to be the exception.

    Just a factoid which I have now probably digested. Parallel with this I have just broken a long period of fictional non-creativity and added almost another 10,000 words to my current novel in less than a month. My central character could not be a Mann fan but - strange to say - she has a mother. Who knows? I have at least another 60,000 words to go.

    You will have noted that this over-lengthy comment is not really about Mann but about "percolation". I doubt whether it's of the slightest interest to you or your commenters. But it had to go somewhere and your blog was logical as I've explained. Conceivably I've irritated you. If so think of me as a modern-day Rosalind, attaching my passing thoughts to others' blogs rather than the tree-trunks of Arden. A purely literary construct, easily ignored..

  5. You are so present in your world. you remind me to be mindfully present in mine. In ours.

  6. Anonymous24 June, 2019

    I love your observations, your world, your description of the robin, the woodpecker, the hot wind. Your flowers are beautiful on our one and only beautiful earth.

  7. I heard about that heat wave while I was in Germany. I couldn't believe how hot it's supposed to get. At least the worst of it (I believe) is supposed to just be one day. Please take care of yourself! Beautiful lilies!

  8. Last week, in the woods, I saw frogs, snakes, deer, a woodpecker and bunnies. It was so beautiful to be reminded of the life that prevails...

    Bees, lots of bees, in my yard.