Listen to it
This isn’t the newsletter I was planning to mail out yesterday and this isn’t the day I planned to mail it on, but part of it, part of IT, is to break the tiny rules that get in the way of intuition. Even, or especially, rules set by me. I just wasn’t feeling what I wrote yesterday. Maybe I’ll send it a later week. And I’m not sure a Sunday newsletter is the right day anymore. I realized it’s literally the worst day of the week for me to get focused writing done (why I have to wait until the last minute to write my newsletter is another story). Will officially change to Monday until/unless life changes and a different day emerges. I had this whole vintage idea of a “Sunday newspaper” but I’m letting it go. Plus I remember when I was in high school, I started liking the idea of getting myself to enjoy the universal things everyone else seemed to hate like Mondays and the DMV. So these are gonna be my Monday at the DMV reprieve letters now.
So yeah I was going to finish the newsletter I wrote yesterday, but today I got so caught up and distracted in wonder at the overnight way the earth changed. Half the lawn seems to have gone from soft bright green to prickly faded deciduous colored. A nighttime heatwave? The honeysuckle have started to bloom. They’re early, and I’m enamored with the fact that I know that fact. I save a few blossoms each year and press them into books. I counted five rose bulbs that have begun revealing the colors of their tightly-curled petals. A gardening philosophy book I’m reading, Second Nature by Michael Pollan, has an entire section devoted to the sexual thoughts that roses seemed to bring up, but I’m not going to go there. (But goddamn, open up for me, baby.) There’s a tree that suddenly burst with yellow blossoms that smell like the flavor of artificial banana, like a banana popsicle or Laffy Taffy. The butterfly bushes are getting ready to pop purple.
Today it seemed as if I actually saw what was in front of me. How blessedly ripe my parents’ backyard is. It feels abundant as fuck. So many yards in this town are literally nothing but gravel, front and back. Our yard has a stone wall completely covered with leafy vines that are green year-round. An archway that is wound with the honeysuckle. It’s impossible not to drink in their tantalizing scent if one wants to enter the backyard. They bloom for a very short time in the spring, and the rest of the year they’re just a pretty bushy viney thing. And my god, the roses. There are so many rose bushes, thick, they grow insanely tall without trimming. And they bloom 4-5 times a year here it seems. My dad built a tiny stone path through the middle of them that I like to crouch on so I feel completely surrounded. They remind me of Oregon.
So much grass is randomly growing in my dirt patch, way more than other years. I take it as a good sign. My dirt patch is officially “my” dirt patch to practice gardening in. I got a book from the library called Growing Vegetables in Drought, Desert, and Dry Times by Maureen Gilmer. My favorite thing so far is that she went from brief descriptions of the climates and gardening deviations in different parts of the West Coast (high desert, low desert, mountains, coastal, etc) to immediately changing the subject an inch down the page and starting the next paragraph with “You might not believe this, but understanding evapotranspiration (ET) has surprising parallels with spirituality.” It reminds me of when I was reading a series of essays by the writer/farmer Wendell Berry and he wrote a paragraph that compared the nature of soil to the nature of Jesus Christ. Honestly, gardening is making me feel more religious in a weird way. Like enough of this silly simpering New Age spirituality or occultic modern day Christianity. What of ancient religious roots? People connected to both God and the land? That’s what I’m interested in.
Anyway, back to gardening. Flower gardening is cool and all, like I love the flowers already in the backyard, but what I’m primarily interested in growing with my own two hands is food. Growing delicious produce out of the dirt is some real magic. I grew up on ten acres in high-desert Idaho, age 4-19, and I suppose it’s not a surprise considering my roots that I’m finding my way to the same ideas my dad had/has about homesteading and land and making things grow. I was fully in love with the raspberry bushes we had growing up. These golden berries tasted divine and they just grew! In our garden! For free!
And man, divinity, I love that today I was awestruck over the absolute greenery of this low-desert backyard, and then the miracle continued with a pouring of rain. The smell of petrichor puts me in a MOOD. I put on Bon Iver and Agnes Obel and this song I love called “Motion III” by Rone, and danced in the lowering light, refusing to turn on any overhead lights because I love the way overcast feels. I feel safe and stretched out in a good way. Like I have all the time in the world to enjoy in the simple pleasures of life. This is partly why I love the desert. It makes me feel absolutely giddy about the rain. I just spent these past few hours before midnight listening to the rain with all the windows open, drinking black coffee, and eating tomato bisque soup. And reminding myself that intuition is like rain. I’m not really sure what I mean by that, maybe other than that it’s powerful and you should stop what you’re doing to listen to it.