> jumping into life.


In California, the oak moths hatched today. They fly in haphazard billows around the dusty leaves, hardly more tangible than the clouds that sit complacent on the horizon, awaiting their time. One lands on my arm as I walk the old, blind dog: I am charmed for a moment but soon forget her. Hours later, my brother points her out as I am doing the dishes, and there she is, a trail of six perfect tiny spheres behind her. When I try to gently dislodge her, she tumbles into the geraniums without even opening her wings.

Tomorrow I'm going to Tassajara for a few days, and I'll be in California for a few days more after that. The wide-open sky of unemployment had begun to feel claustrophobic, and there are still few friends for me in Vermont. I needed a break, needed to go somewhere where people would be excited to see me, needed home.

Plus, I got to surprise my dad, and nobody ever suprises my dad.


The tomatoes and potatoes have flowers, the lady-cardinal is all over the bird feeder (and chasing off the squirrel), and I might have a job.


The robin found the birdfeeder the next day, and we've been watching him (his mate doesn't seem to venture out as often) nearly every day since. Also a few European sparrows, a blue jay and a squirrel. The pepper plants have tiny green pepper-nubs, the potatoes are up to my knees, and the beans have found their trellis. There are twenty-five tomato plants threatening us with annihilation, though none of them have yet deigned to flower. The blueberries are turning blue.

Summer here is a halfstep back from completely overwhelming. There is green here that coastal California has never seen, the kind view you could only get in Arizona from the dead center of a cottonwood. The modest, guarded green of the madrone and the manzanita; the leaves that whittle themselves down to spines; the breezebent cypress on its seaside crag? Not here. Here the vines overtake the bushes and then the trees, and the flowers carpet all beneath. I had forgotten this green.

Of course, Arizona's nine-month growing season is as lacking as its glochids, and I have no idea if our four-inch-tall corn will make it to fruiting. Though the fruit of the garden is, honestly, ancillary to the keeping of the garden. Delicious, but ancillary.


The birdfeeder J made has been updated (to add perches, since our cardinal pair were swooping around it but never landing) and moved (once we noticed a cat sitting on the same branch the feeder was hanging from). It's now on a post a little removed from the line of trees, hopefully close enough that the birds feel they can escape easily but open enough that they can see the fifteen neighborhood cats as they sneak up. We also made a toad house (which means a flat rock set on a few other rocks) for the toad that's been hanging around the tomato patch.

We reseeded the lawn about two weeks ago, and we've asked the landlord not to mow for a while to let the new seeds get set and to let everything else go to seed. Our lawn is a little meadow now - it's not been "maintained" as a lawn for some time, I'd guess, so there's a ton of little wildflowers and herbaceous things in amongst several kinds of grass and a few big patches of clover. The toad seems to appreciate it, as do the bees. We put in a pair of cranberrybush plants (Viburnum trilobum) and a pair of blueberry bushes (Vaccinium corymbosum), both of which are native and should attract some birds and bees, as it were.

For now I'm sitting by the window like a cat myself, watching the feeder with hungry eyes. How long will it take them to find it? Is it too open? We should get a birdbath, too, shouldn't we? C'mon, birds!


The first strawberries of the season.

I was going to paint them when I got home from the farmer's market, but they didn't make it home.