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June 20, 2012
Except for the three mountains of clay in the front yard, a souvenir from having torn out the sewer line to the street and putting in a new one, the garden looks really nice. Like everything else about the new place, it is tiny compared with the old one, a fact that satisfies me more and more each day: as my immediate surroundings have grown smaller, my delight in them has grown greater. There is immense gratification in admitting that one doesn't need multiple sets of mixing bowls or bedsheets. Things need not be big; they can just as well be small. There are no more possessions for which to strive. I have everything I need.

I cannot say the same for Farmer Q. This smaller space necessitates a commitment to container gardening, and so it has been more challenging than it was in former times to grow twenty tomato plants. But I would say that there are almost that many in process here, representing various stages of maturity. My suggestions that a smaller number of tomatoes might make more sense take their places immediately among the other non sequiturs of his life, eliciting little response beyond something I don't quite catch about biodiversity.

No hummingbirds have found us yet, but I wasn't expecting any right away -- it took me four years to lure my first hummer to the old place, so I am settling in for a long wait. But the feeders are locked and loaded, and eventually a hummer will find them.

The human neighbors are closer here: the man behind us paces back and forth behind his garage, talking into his cell phone. Has his wife banned his cell phone from the house? Does he even have a wife, Q wonders, and I must admit that his life is a mystery to me. Meanwhile, the man next door is pleasingly profane, peppering his conversation with the f-word: he reminds me of my days on the waterfront, where it was so basic to the language of many of my flock that they no longer heard themselves using it. I learned to overlook this in them, all these years ago, and so I am happy to overlook it in him.

Tonight I sit on the newly-built back porch in the grey of evening, a silver sky ringed with the black silhouettes of trees. The birds in our neighborhood have stopped singing by this hour, signaled to do so by a ratio of light to darkness unfathomable to the bipedal likes of me. The young male cardinal who lives here seems not to have found his true love: he sits atop the feeder each evening, a feeder overflowing with delicious safflower seeds, and trills his heart out. I know that someday his princess will come.

Yes, there is someone for everyone. There is someplace for everyone, too -- in fact, there is more than one place for each of us. You can be somewhere you have never been, do something other than what you've always done. Things need not stay the same. The Bible is full of people setting off down the road to somewhere new, from Abraham departing Ur of the Chaldees to the wandering children of Israel departing Egypt, from itinerant Rabbi Jesus to restless, driven, cranky St. Paul, always looking to his next mission trip -- on the move, all of them. All of us are leaving town sooner or later.


Friday, June 29th is 'last call' for The Geranium Farm luncheon at General Convention on the following Friday, July 6th. Everyone wishing to attend who has not already expressed an interest, please send your request to DJ at:
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