20.4.18 The planter in the corner
The sun has been a perfect surprise. I am writing in the garden with bare arms, letting my skin heat through. It has forgotten how to be warm so I am reminding it. Like this, you see? Like this. The garden smells of pink hyacinths and paperwhites, sweet and heavy with that undercurrent of secret decay. I am restless and can't stay in my seat for long. I rise to press my fingers softly to the compost I have smoothed into trays and pots and I find them warm too. I know the seeds they hide will be waking up soon, and I smile and leave them sleeping, like touching the rise of a back thrown clear of a duvet.
When I was a child, I would wander around our square garden on days like this trying to work out where it finished and I began. Because it was my home, and home was surely the same as me - I could hardly imagine us as separate things - but the garden had its own, murky edges and they weren't quite as safe as I felt they should be. They needed watching. Certain places made me shiver and I would stand tall to build up the little inner push that they needed, to be bolder, to go right to the edges of myself. The narrow side passage in deep shade, thick with shrubs that offered dirty hollows to crawl into, if you didn't mind the dim, dry compression of it. The space under the apple tree that smelled of rot and the stagnant water in the rain barrel. The gap between the garage and the fence, too small to squeeze down but visible enough to offer a long, forbidden corridor all the same, one to peer down, suspiciously because you couldn't quite see the end of it. Other places offered easier sanctuary and I was reassured by them. The greenhouse smelled always of tomatoes. The path wove always in the same display of curves and steps.
I have to tell you these things because we won't be here forever, you and I, either side of our screens. I have to tell you these things while I've got you. The miracle that we overlap like this, in time and space. Me here, you there. How deeply I appreciate it.
So, listen. Here and now, a blue tit is singing. A driver is leaning on his horn. A spider like a breadcrumb has fallen from my hat onto its back, and in three good kicks has turned and is scuttling down the highway of my lined page. I think its twin might be working its way down between my shoulder blades. I think I am brave enough to take some risks and start all over again. To leap off a hat and to test the edges of myself with nothing but belief in my own resilience and a deep breath - all of that. But that is another conversation.
I'd like to keep talking to you like this, if you'll stick around. I have so much to tell you.