Friday, September 12, 2008

What It Is Not

“There’s a little black spot on the sun today.” Sting

When I moved here some four years ago, I couldn’t see much when I looked out across the stubble straw stretch of brown. That one secret buried deep in my tightly held chest confirmed that I was too rooted to another place and another view to look fairly at any other. For that spread of time, the handsomely bordered deep sprawl of a window framed a scene that while without fail elicited “oohs” and “ahhs” from others, in cruel ruse turned flat and imperfect for my searching eyes.

I’d fix my gaze at nature’s playground with one hard eye scanning a mountain profile which didn’t crest quite as dramatically as certain others that I knew. I silently smirked at stick like trees that would pale and tremble at the thought of West coast giants, but this non stop comparison between here and there didn’t prevent the other eye from darting about in hope to find one small thing to seize upon. Still is the hard driving need within to forge a connection to the immediate environment, but that realization would have to wait until later.

Meanwhile deer and bears boldly ambled by separately but sometimes in pairs and startling Maxfield Parrish hues splashed the atmosphere with voluminous light and drama while I was too busy counting what was not. Things like cilantro, awful limp herbs at the local grocery store- never mind the grand eagle that soared by. And shocked I was to discover that people actually buy lemons and rosemary; even as poplar, birch, and fir seedlings seemed to exponentially populate the view. It is funny to say but I look out at the array of greenery, a rapidly filling in, once clear cut space- and try to find order within it by editing out unruly portions within my mind’s eye, cutting and pasting at whim. Perhaps if these few clumps were trimmed back and this area was taken out, the whole scene might look a little nicer. While I think that I have a good eye, one that catches shapes, proportions, and discerns proper hierarchy. At times more recently I wonder if my eyes see rightly at all, too often viewing the missing element or the one that irritatingly and erringly gets in the way.


Is it any wonder then when a friend rustles through that unruly back drop of wild and later plunks down a container brimming with slim waisted brambles- that I’m caught unaware? Twinkling blackish reddish blue, they are obvious accessory to some creeping low lying hitherto invisible bush. The captivating dark eyed beauties in my palm no longer escape attention and finally bring well needed adjustment to my limited view. With natural instinct, V_ followed the captivating arch from behind her truck to the woodpile out in back. While I was looking at poorly positioned trees; she was foraging nature’s bounty.

Almost four years later and deserving of some kind of certificate I should think, I settle down to a deep bowl of yogurt splattered with honey and royally crowned with backyard blackberries. Impossibly in the past, I avoided blackberries and their ilk because of their seeds. But now I dig in with a sigh, as I impatiently wait for same time next year and marvel silently at all that finally is.

8 comments:

judyyb said...

At last!!! It has been a long dry end of summer w/ the gap in your beautiful prose. Blackberries rule esp. with peaches in a nice crumble. We have a blueberry bush in our backyard (one of those gift plants someone gave my mom's boss and when they had plucked all the berries off, she took it and planted it in our backstrip) and even though the berries are tart as can be, it is so nice to see the little flowers in early summer give way to the midnight blue berries. And then just as quickly they are gone. Like summer.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

When I first moved from New York to Boston, I spent a year mourning what was not. I missed the 24-hour life of New York, the endless variety, the open point of view. Thirty years later, I moved from city to country. The mourning period was much shorter, perhaps a matter of months. Now, whenever I leave this place, even for a day or two, I mourn what I am leaving behind. Making peace with your place is a wonderful thing, and I am so glad you have done it.

Anh said...

I just got back to Melbourne from Hanoi, and things were just so different. I will have to adjust to the Australian way of life again, and after a month of being at home in hanoi, it seems hard. But time will help, as I know I also love Melbourne deeply.

Callipygia said...

judyb- Thanks for your unrelenting encouragement! Your blueberry bush has an interesting history, not your ordinary shallow berry. And yeah, they are a paeon to summer.

lydia- Thanks, it is quite comforting to hear how other people create new homes for themselves. I believe there must come a day when one feels at home, regardless of where they are in the world.

anh- I've wondered how that is for you going back to your homeland and then back to your new home. Many of us now are hybrids of many places! Welcome back home to you too...

nansita said...

Having driven the Bay Bridge over and back again, I stepped out of my car yesterday and had a realization that I will someday (I hope soon!) be closer to the source of things, not just picking stuff up at Dan's Produce. I miss the bushes and rows of somethings of the place I grew up and I want them close at hand. Many of those things were blackberries. Not to worry, though -- I soon had toasted myself a leftover waffle and covered it with greek-style yogurt and blackberry jam of my own making. Food rules.

Callipygia said...

honey- your legendary waffles w/ greek yogurt and homemade jam...that's pretty darn close to the source!

Lucy said...

Back from a short but sweet sojurn in Sydney, glamour-puss that she is, my Melbourne home looks slightly less shiny. But it's all in the waiting and the finding. Being open to that possiblity is all, in the end, one needs. Asparagus - fat, juicy local spears - turned up this weekend and THAT is worth the trip back down here alone.

Enjoy those purply finger-staining juices! Lip-smackingly good!

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