This month, I’m writing words and posting images relating to the landscape of memory. I hope to write poems most days and also share photos, quotes, and more prosaic thoughts related in some way to memory, nostalgia, longing for place, remembering and forgetting, landscape, dreamscape, landscape’s memory and memory’s landscape, the intersection of the layered historical physical world with personal memory, the frames that both landscape and memory use to contain and order our focus, the landscape of childhood, the landscape of devastation, how memories lie and tell the truth, the fragmentation of memory, how landscapes shape us and our memories, and so on. All the posts will be linked to the Introductory Page as they are posted. Thanks for visiting.
Today, a prose poem, a quote, a comic.
Another Squandered Day
“No one knew that ordinary breakfast would be their last. Why not memorize everything, just in case?” ― Annie Dillard in The Maytrees
The cat curling between my bent knees in the early morning, choosing that space.
Waking up slowly, BBC voices in the air, a nightful of dreams drifting off when I turn to look at them.
Noticing a distinct pain in one knee, again. Remembering how my shoulder hurt for most of last year until it didn’t one day. Hoping it’s the same with the knee.
Carelessly pushing up the heat in the bathroom, five luxurious degrees to 65, and the shower’s warm water raining down, clean, sweet, when it could be otherwise, and it is for most.
The bed already made by someone else, calm, tidy, at rest.
Comfortable clothes I’ve been wearing all week, fleece the exact purple my eye loves.
My desk: shells, stones, rocks, Ganesh, a photo, a friend’s homemade calendar, more stones and shells, and the wide white clean surface I’ve admired for over 30 years.
Outside, snow lingers under a grey sky. Juncos gathered, sparrows, grey and red squirrels, jays calling and darting, the sloppy stalks and seedheads for shelter and food. Usually I am outside for hours but not today.
The smell of yeast proofing, rye bread baking, caraway comforting and exotic; it’s not fennel, not cumin, not anise, but something of each, reminiscent of Persia, a place I’ve never been.
Later, the dense smell of chocolate donuts baking, a vanilla-tobacco scent with layers of vinegar and dark earth, pleasantly sharp.
Touching the smooth, glossy lettered olive shell on my desk, remembering finding it on the beach, the jolt of happiness, remembering the sand scrunch, the lightly salted air, that low ocean reverberation within my bones, rhythmic. Remembering and longing.
Tea: jasmine; lemon balm, oat and nettle; clementine. Tea, the ritual of it, the moments of making, steeping, drinking it. Inhaling it. Flowers and leaves. Citrus. Plants grown, cut, dried, packed, at last brewed, their essence circulating like witchcraft inside mine, their leaves, petals, roots returned to the ground this spring as compost.
Stretching, lifting weights, dancing, feeling myself flexible and strong. Another ritual. Another occasion for noticing the knee, what it doesn’t like and what it doesn’t mind. The cat occupies himself nearby with a suspicious ribbon.
Reading about plants, reading about gardeners in love with plants, so that tomorrow I can talk about plants, gardens, and people with other people who love plants and gardens. While we eat donuts, rye bread, and plant parts.
Thinking about life on the edge, on the margins, and how to give it space. Thinking about the importance of weeds. Thinking about meditating on plants while drinking infusions made from them. Thinking about how of course what’s useful can be beautiful. Of course.
Naturally, in this day and age, texting and emailing all along, Facebook and Instagram here and there. Distracting, fragmenting, yes, and today, many days, strengthening the invisible net holding me here as voices and images blend and brew something complex, satisfying, intense like bread, chocolate, tea, the ocean air.
Making dinner, shrimp scampi and sauteed spinach, the spinach grown a mile away, the garlic from my own garden. Eating, watching Poirot solve another neat and bloodless crime among the upper classes, sipping a red blend. The cat forms a small fur-and-bone barrier in the absence between us and doesn’t walk on the table this time.
Washing dishes, enjoying the feel of the graceful spaghetti server, wooden spatulas, stalwart stainer. Enjoying the result of the washing, the simple counters.
Reading again, this time a gruesomely bloodful plot, tortured Swedes torturing Swedes, current crimes deriving from past crimes. Scars endure. Memory falters, the days pass sometimes without a mark.
Featured image: some images from today