In the late afternoon, rising winds blow fog hovering along the coast through the Golden Gate, across the bay, and into South Berkeley, where we live. The light turns white, intermittently at first, shadows flickering; eventually fog covers the sun and colors dull. Before that, though, in that in-between period, there’s a burst of birdsong and, often, train whistles in the distance. I love this transition, one moment the colors rich and bright, muted the next. Change can help you see anew.
In the back of the garden is what I’m told is a marmalade bush, covered with glorious orange blossoms. It is a most satisfactory garden shrub, blooming on and on, a stopover for bees and humming birds. Every now and then, someone cuts it back a bit, and it responds within days with a profusion of new blossoms, as though daring anyone to limit its growth. We should be like this, responding with vigor to threats and setbacks, not curling up in misery like whipped pups. I’m continually amazed at the regenerative power of the plant world–and thank the gods for it, since plant life is certainly challenged these days. Doesn’t it gladden your heart to see weeds poking through cracks in the sidewalk? Across the street, the sidewalk is buckling from the roots of a redwood tree. Where it used to be level, there’s now a little peak to climb and descend. Some good Samaritan poured concrete into the downhill side to smooth the slope; now it’s buckling, too. Rule Britannia, my foot! Rule redwoods!
I’m trying to get used to writing again. I tell myself the sitting down and doing is more important than the end product, but I hope you’ll bear with me while I relearn this process.
The fog has moved on, the birds have quieted, the marmalade bush glows in the sunlight. The gray cat, now 15 years old, has squeezed into the tiny space between the laptop and my stomach and is purring loudly, not at all concerned to be interfering with my efforts. Another day older and deeper in debt.