By Parson Thru
The tomato plants are surging. Great, boisterous bull-terrier plants with heavy gold chains slung between stem and cane. The floods of water and feed they require have eroded the soil, exposing a fine root structure. This seems a way in for disease. A couple of handfuls of loam will fix it for now.
The clouds are thinning. Rain-heavy brutes giving way to something approaching a delicate blue. The grass sparkles, silvered with points of moisture. Gert lush greenery from path to border. Border control – how it exhausted me in early spring. My mother congratulates herself on her beautiful garden, noting what she has bought, forgetting the nine fallow years. Gardening. Working with nature, or setting oneself against it?
I’m breathing the heady fumes of tomato sap. This week, I learned about side shoots and stopped snapping off productive leaf stems. The broiling tips exert themselves in seeming gratitude, though not being Romantic, per se, that might be a step too far.
I have Heaney on my lap, Jack Daniels on the table. Today, I took the bull by the horns and bought my mother a simple DAB radio. One button, on and off, which I’ve picked out with nail varnish that would put the geranium into the shade. Preset one: Radio York. She stuck her head round my door twice today to say how excited she was. Malton bypass closed – one direction or two, I couldn’t establish, but the thrill was tangible.
Now the curtains are prematurely drawn (I try not to see the stains) to guard against unfathomable terrors. Once in a while, they twitch, or a grey mop appears in the kitchen window, mistrustful of anyone or anything that would spend its time of an evening among tomato plants and geraniums.
We can’t all be the same. To speak about moving on would imply too much, but the universe exists because everything that forms does so from what has decayed. Standing still goes against the most fundamental of laws. Pride doesn’t exist outside the human mind, which is a hopeless attempt at representing the…. Oh, why bother? Life's too short. Unless you’re eighty-four and the whole thing was always beyond your ken.