How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives -Annie Dillard (American author)
Some days this thought is too horrible to contemplate, other days I think there is hope. How I spend my days often begins like this…
I arise before the sun, as I did this morning. In winter I really enjoy an hour or so to ready myself for my morning walk…read emails, have a glass of water then a coffee. In summer I don’t get that luxury as the sun is up too early and if I don’t walk very early it gets too hot quickly. And the flies… well, we won’t even go there… At the moment it is still pretty cool, given we are at the end of winter. It was 10C (50F) this morning, which gave me just enough inspiration to hustle along and warm up. I have recently tried to step up the pace and even do a little jog/walk ever since I noticed the effects of the endorphins washing over my brain was quite exhilarating, and even seems to help my writing. I can see how runners get addicted, though my body was not made to run so there is no danger for me with that addiction. I only wish my body was not made for chocolate…
As the sun rises, the shards of light cut across the land and vegetation in such an exciting way. I love to watch other people’s gardens over the seasons. Also, I often see interesting things, as was the case this morning. I was moving too quickly, and so was the fellow whose dog was pulling him along on his bike, to get a photo for you, but, the dog must have been part Husky. It looked positively elated to be in harness and on leash pulling a fully grown man on his bicycle, and with back pack, whizzing along the path!
This morning I’ve photographed the approach of the ‘monster worm’. The Utilities Authority (Power and Water) has seen it necessary to run new conduit for our power lines recently. Rumour has that it is due to the construction of a new, very expensive house at the end of the street which is about the size of a strip mall and with similar power demands. Our part of town is full of rock, huge layers of bedrock, upon which we have composted, mulched and piled dirt over many years to grow things. The digger is having to contend with this rock and so what was supposed to take them 2 weeks is now into the 5th week and our place is next. They gave us no warning before beginning the work, but the fellow did walk down the driveway yesterday to tell me they would be pulling up the pavers of our driveway tomorrow and Tuesday but would hopefully be able to make it so that I can get my car down the driveway at night. He says they will repair all the pavers they disturb. Ahem. Of this I am highly sceptical. We shall see. Generally I am grateful the ‘powers-that-be’ (pardon the pun) are willing to update our infrastructure to keep from future power outages like we had a few months ago, but a little warning would have been the nice thing to do. And do you think my lovely little volunteer Sturt Desert Pea will survive? No. Me either. So I have recorded for posterity its colour and structural perfection.
I picked lemons to give to my friends later on today. We have very prolific lemon and lime trees, one of each, which more than suffice our citrus needs. And then there is the fig tree, which has not yet shot new spring growth. It has one summer left to prove itself or it is going to God. I have had it 10 years, have transplanted it to three different locations, four if you include having it in a pot for a couple of years, and it simply doesn’t want to get with the program. For the first five years it survived in both places it was planted at a height of about 15 inches and with five leaves, which is why I transplanted it to a pot. It grew in the pot, then had a few figs which I battled with the birds over, but it became too large for the pot, so back into the ground it went. So we know it does know how to produce, and we can only assume it refuses. No uncooperative plants needed, thankyou. Do you hear that Fiona???
The friend for whom I picked the lemons gave us a couple of pomelos from their tree. They are similar to grapefruit but sweeter, I think. And they are HUGE. The one I cut for breakfast this morning was wonderful. I sectioned it, sprinkled with a little bit of salt and let it sit for a few minutes before eating. Beautiful. The salt brings out the sweetness of grapefruit and pomelo flesh, the way it brings out the flavour of chocolate and caramel. Trust me…
And now I must move along to make magic Mexican Beans using the lovely home grown coriander (cilantro) given to me by another friend who has very green thumbs. She is my gardening guru… alas even she cannot suggest anything further to help the fig. Fiona is on her own now.
Much of my day is filled with the sameness of necessity, but overall I strive for authenticity… clean, healthy food, the joy of growing a few things, creative inspiration, the satisfaction of caring for my body, time for friends and family and gratitude for it all.
What are the things in your days that have made your life what it is?
Out of all that dry and brown pops up that brilliant red color of the Sturt Desert Pea. That is what I would like my daily life to be like. It isn’t but that is what I would like. Regarding the power lines……is solar as expensive there as it is here? You are in such a perfect place for solar panels. Too bad the house down the street didn’t spend some money on panels rather than on bigger house.
When we priced solar 6 or so years ago it was still not financially viable. The panels lose about 5% productive capacity per year so you have to factor that into the equation. In other words, in 15 years or so, you have to replace the panels to get maximum production again. We have recently heard that the price of panels and installation has gotten a lot cheaper so we may price it again. The fellow in the expensive house is supposedly paying over $25,000 of the price of doing the upgrades. It is a $3million house, supposedly, so I guess that is a drop in his bucket!
Our days start similarly, pre-dawn coffee, water (hot + lemon, 1 per day, oh how I wish I had your tree), 1/2 hour blog reading, and a walk, rarely a jog unless I’m making a run for the green crossing light… Mostly my days are then spent in front of a computer, at a sunny desk looking over the harbor, sounds nice except it’s 26 levels up so the windows don’t open… the sameness of necessity also. Authenticity kicks in later in the day, starting with a walk home patting the neighbourhood cats, a glass of wine & catch up with the G.O. on the balcony.
I’m sad for your lovely Sturt Desert Pea, and I fear for your pavers. As for Fiona, there’s no room in the garden for preciousness, and it will just get her a gig in the compost heap…
Wonderful post 🙂
Thank you for sharing your day. Love the image of you petting the neighbourhood cats. All is quiet with the rock breaking today, don’t know what has happened to the workers, perhaps an emergency repair somewhere else in town. The Desert Pea has a brief reprieve! I wish I could give you a big bag of lemons!
Actual images of our neighbourhood cats… http://elladeeimages.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/the-kindness-of-strangers/ 🙂
..am so very fond of Annie Dilliard,introduced to her by a Canadian friend, and have read and re-read her books many times over the years. Extraordinary writer and thinker. I don’t think the start of my day would make such delightful reading though. You are blessed with those hot colours and elemental landscapes and that pea looks as if it fell out of the sun and rooted in the ground! As to the fig, the one we have is planted in the ground but we have slabs all round it, so it is in effect in a pot. Something about them needing restricted roots? I can’t remember really. Do you know what variety it is? Maybe a different type would do better. Ours is a Turkish Fig http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/3343769/How-to-grow-figs.html and hasn’t done that well this year because of the long cold spring. It was about the size of Fiona when it went in the ground nine years ago and always produces some fruit, some years more than others
The fig is a purple one, that is all I know, but this latest location is on bedrock which is why I chose this spot, for root restriction. Love your description of the desert pea falling from the sun and rooting in place. What Annie Dilliard book would you recommend? Lovely to hear from you!
The first one I read was a collection of pieces called Teaching a Stone to Talk but maybe the one I would get first is Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Either of those 🙂