In Northern California, by this time, everything looks a little frayed. Our rainless summers start to tell. Even though blue skies will last well into October, late summer is, to me, a time when when if we turned our heads a little bit faster we’d see the shadow of sad escaping. What was going up, descends.
In some kind of parallel, I believe I’m in the late summer of my own life. But I feel less distress about aging, now that it’s happening, than I used to when I was young and my old age far away. It is what it is. It’s almost a comfort to experience what used to scare me, in the abstract.
Why then feel any sorrow at the state of my hydrangeas? They certainly seem quite content. Brashly pink, here and there.
I worry that if I never felt sorrow I might never know glad. Maybe I’m wrong. I could always be wrong.
Used to be that privilege gave us the resources to isolate ourselves from the natural world. First sign of wealth and you could build fireplaces as big as a kitchen, roll yourself up in fur rugs for winter sleeping, or decamp to your hill fort to survive July’s heat.
But if I look around, and consider, it seems to me that privilege in this day and age gives us a chance to stay close to the natural world, cruel or not, and bring our resources to bear on surviving life as it happens. Surfing, let’s say, rather than motoring by in a big cruiser.
Although I have nothing against boats. That was just a metaphor. Metaphors are another way to muster resources, to bring us within snapping distance of cruel. Still survive.
In the meantime, there are some big dang thistles in my side yard. My son’s window view is filled with 8-foot weeds. Completely filled. His best friend was over the other day. She’s an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major at Harvard. I mention that for a reason. It’s funny, I promise.
I was telling my son he needs to whack those thistles. That’s how he’s paying me back for some last minute extra cash needs for his final two weeks in Latin America. His friend piped up, “Oh no, don’t cut them down,” she said. “I can cook them.” “They’re thistles!” I said. “Oh,” she said, “Thistles are delicious.”
She’s probably right. The thistle family, after all, includes artichokes. Perfect with hollandaise.
Have a wonderful weekend.