Saturday, March 29, 2014

Playing solitaire under a lucky star.

I have an early memory of playing beneath some looming shasta daisies in our Eastern Cape garden - I must have been four or five, and my mother saying to her friend: such a funny little girl - she's always happy to amuse herself.

Some crying was allowed on the night that he left, but after that, I slipped easily into solitary habits: things that are self-indulgent, selfish even, when someone else is with you. Working in the garden in my pyjamas, feeling the loamy soil between my toes. Having a long bubble bath in the afternoon - soaking muddy knees, then back into pyjamas. A bowl of rice and avocado pear for supper, spoon in one hand/pencil in the other - drawing while I eat. Reading until three in the morning. Waking sprawled over the entire bed.

In eight days time, I will be surrounded by people for six days of every week. I will miss this time of quietude.

There are endless things to do in an autumn garden.
My small friend, the lizard under the tomato plants, has moved now to better cover in the parsley jungle.
He has lost a piece of his tail (Hadeda! says the long-legged man from a hotel room in Beverly Hills), but I think he'll be okay.

As the weather turns, the tomatoes ripen hesitantly and are blighted by rain. These are the tomatoes of my childhood - misshapen, fragrant, thick-skinned and covered in a fine, peach-like fuzz. Time to make chutney for winter meals by the fireside. I am alone but not lonely. Letters arrive, and messages from foreign places. I have true-hearted friends. I have my grandmother's knife, Aida's kitchen scale, old family recipes. And I am safe in this cocoon - this thoughtfully spun place that belongs to a tall man.
He is far, far away, but only in miles.


Rosie said...

Beautiful Lily.
Your top picture - what is that? We had something similar looking growing a few years back but it was so terribly bitter we could not eat it, despite it looking so appealing!

the sourcerer said...

Thanks Rosie!
I bought a six-pack of those seedlings at the larney nursery in Constantia. It's an Italian loose-leaf endive.
We've been eating loads of it in salad, where it's nice - nutty and robust. But when I cooked it - oy!! so bitter.
The snails ignore it, so I'm impressed...

Marie said...

Beautiful, as Rosie said.

I like the garden pictures - your parsley looks very happy.

My mother said the same thing about me when I was little. My shasta daisies were broccoli plants, though. And solitude and quiet are like air. I do like them selfishly too much. Why I'd be a bad parent.

Fried green tomatoes?

the sourcerer said...

Marie - thank you and ditto the parent thing...
I loved fried green tomatoes...the chutney is delicious! making a green tomato pasta sauce for supper and maybe some green ketchup later.x