The moondaisies – ox-eye daisies – are still flowering madly, but the purple flowers of Michaelmas daisies, harbingers of the end of summer, are sobering the flowerbeds.
The garden has been taken over by triffids:
... where I planted far too many squashes for the space available, and on pure manure. However, these beauties are nestling among all that green (this one would just fit into both my encircling arms, and it's not even a pumpkin):
If, like us, you are struggling to find new ways to use up green beans, try pickling in spicy vinegar; and I've just marinated a batch in vinaigrette with chopped onion, sundried tomatoes and lemon basil. (I recommend Alyss Fowler's wonderful book Abundance for preserving veg.)
And OH! At last I have my firepit (a little late for lughnasadh but still very much appreciated; thank you, TM).
In the lanes, the tides of creamy bedstraw and swags of purple vetch – spreading near Riverford over a good mile of verge and bank – have given way to plumy seeding rosebay willowherbs, toadflax and silverweed. There are butterflies and bees aplenty, thank goodness; and my herb and bee garden is coming on nicely.
The young buzzards mew in their nest just a few hundred yards down the valley; try out new wings above us.
'No doubt the next chapter in my book of transformations is already written,' says Stanley Kunitz.
Transition time. The end of summer ushers in a strong focus on my ecosoul work. I've just completed responding to the summer assignments for my online writing courses, and finished outstanding mentoring work. I shall pick this up in the autumn, too; but for now, I'll make the transition with my Writing the Bright Moment retreat in the French mountains, which incorporates outdoor mindfulness practice to feed into creative expression.
I've been working so hard recently, and suddenly it's done; and now I can turn my attention to gearing up for that course, which begins in a week's time. This means prepping it, packing materials for that and clothes and books for me for 3 weeks, and checking out the idiosyncrasies in the 21-year-old campervan in TM will be joining me a week later, and the van will come into its own.
Last time I tried to fill the internal watertank the hose leaked in about 6 places. This has been replaced but – unless I overfilled it just now – there's a leak somewhere else. And I'd assumed that, like so many other dashboard functions which operate only intermittently, the flashing temperature light was a wiring fault, since the radiator is no longer leaking and the coolant level's fine. It's only occurred to me this afternoon that maybe the radiator fan doesn't work; or if it does, the fuse doesn't. Something else to check soon. And does the fuel gauge work, or are we relying on an estimate of consumption (which seems to be better than I hoped) and the odometre?
But I am so glad I have this van. I love the bed, the curtains, the solid reliable engine, the cooker, the sink, the fridge, the cupboards and the wardrobe, all in such a neat well-thought-out small space. And it's not a huge great motorhome; I don't feel embarrassed driving it, except for the fact that I'm driving an old diesel engine; or indeed any vehicle at all, environmentally-speaking. And thank goodness there's no geriatric chemical toilet. Next stop, a small solar-powered outdoor shower-thing.
'Blessed are they who know that what they now have they once longed for,' says poet Jean Valentine, in her extraordinarily beautiful poem 'The River at Wolf'. Oh yes.
How blessed I am, how blessed.
I'm still managing daily 100-word prose-poems, as per my challenge to myself nearly 3 weeks ago (officially from the beginning of August, but I began before that).
There has been sad news this week. I am so blessed; but my subconscious is not so easily soothed. We're all in this together.