[summer]

summer at Dickinson House

summer at Dickinson House

  1. Gardening makes me feel extremely capable and happy.
  2. I only realized today I could really do this anywhere; it’s not some magical function of living on this particular piece of land. That felt very liberating and exciting.
  3. I love that there is almost everything I need to make a really good garden, right here: willow trees, hedges whose trimmings become paths, grass which grows long to become hay to feed the ponies whose manure feeds the garden.
  4. Chickens are necessary but do I want more beings to be responsible for?
  5. The sheep are kind of molting (they apparently don’t have to be shorn) and look pathetic.
  6. The apple trees and plum tree are full of fruit.
  7. I have harvested more than 60—maybe close to 80—zucchini.
  8. And about 6 kilograms of green beans. Good thing I like green beans.
  9. First tomatoes (‘Sweety’ and ‘Mattina’) this week.
  10. We gave some friends a box of produce and I remembered that one of the very best things about gardening is being able to offer people food.
  11. I’ve been thinking a lot about Flanders and sharing, and Minnesota and sharing.
  12. Today I pickled 500 grams of green tomatoes (from plants we had to remove due to plague) and some cucumbers. Our cucumbers aren’t great for eating but make good pickles.
  13. The peas are almost done; hope I planted the next round soon enough.
  14. This year we will actually get eggplants, jalapeños, and peppers. Credit to planting early enough.
  15. Waiting to be processed: lots of tomatillos. More on the plants.
  16. Our melon plant is exuberant but non-productive. Oops on the trimming back.
  17. But pumpkins, butternut squash both producing.
  18. Began a long embroidery project earlier this month, very relaxing.
  19. All I want to do is have people here to do their work so we can all realize how possible it is to make a life that is centered on art: and to grow food for them, cook for them, talk with and listen to them. And to make my own work too.

summer at Dickinson House

summer at Dickinson House

Sissinghurst, April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

It is about four hours from here including the train under the Channel. We went in December and went back on April 30 with a pair of Jonathan’s classmates.

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

This return reminded me how much I enjoy learning things, studying things, and in particular how pleasing looking at and thinking about plants is for me. And how that has fed my other interests—making me want to make clothes, write, make music, make spaces, etc.

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

When we were here in December there were rosehips and other berries in the vases. I took home an information sheet with the names of all the bulbs (planted in containers) blooming that week.

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

I loved this primrose.

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

And of course the fritillaries. A long time ago I made friends with someone by accident and she taught me many things about plants. She loved these flowers and now I do too, and when I see them I think of her. Even though our friendship ended and ended imperfectly, I am grateful for the ways she enlivened me to art and plants.

It’s poetry month

…in the US right now, and this is the first year I haven’t tried to do something as part of it: write poems. Or write prompts. Or read them. The truth is that lately (a long lately) I feel less and less drawn to poetry. Drawn to fewer books, excited by fewer books. Might be that I’m getting pickier. I have a sense of what I value (innovation. Justice. Honesty. Directness. Spareness. Exorbitance) and maybe I don’t find that everywhere. Or it could be that I’m less and less part of the community in which I learned to read (and love) it and therefore just plain outside of it, left without many co-readers and outside of the daily, occasional, accidental encounters with others’ passion for the total work (reading+writing+) that fuels my own. An unexpected consequence of migration, maybe. And of the PhD. Migration: brain energy goes to thinking new language, trying to find a place, struggling with all the tiny balances of living far from where I’m from. PhD: ‘creative’ writing isn’t ‘real’ work; ‘oh are you still writing poems?’; lots and lots of theory-reading changed the way I read.

But most of all: being far from people who have put poetry at the functional center of their lives; who read it and breathe it; who have, from a young age, immersed themselves in it; who think about their writing and reading as writers and who see the indispensability of reading-writing-talking-being-together to the practice of writing. I miss feeling the visceral thrill that poetry was to me for so long, in the company of others. (I value what has come into the spaces poetry filled, but I miss it anyway.)

Dear SY, dear LD, dear JW, dear MJ, dear MO, dear JW, dear RM, dear APS, I’m with you in Rockland!