The Solstice

Catalpa blossoms rain down, festooning the dirt with casual but royal elegance. Could it be the wind and flowers mistake me for a queen or even, a lesser goddess?

Evening primrose open their four-petaled flowers in such humble, yellow cheer that even a householder in dull forbearance can’t help but smile.

And look at the comfrey — always impressively stalwart — shooting its stalk straight up through the lower leaves of the rhododendron! Its huge leaves belie its oh-so-delicate flowers, making me think that Nature needs to make a joke now and then.

When the stalk inevitably flops to the ground, will the comfrey berate itself — demand a taller performance next year — start haggling with the rhodie now for more lasting support a year from now? We all know the abiding message, there.

At the cellar door, ferns volunteer in improbable narrow cracks, suggesting good will, a knack for survival.  Yet another lesson — ‘grow wherever you can! grow outside the plan! take up residence and thrive in the unlikeliest of places!’

Such extravagance, year after year, in the garden. How lush, how beautiful, how generous, and never with a demand for anything in return.

The first day of summer refutes my pessimism. It suggests possibility and reorders instinct and sensation in favor of the body — ah! dirt tumbling off the trowel! a wooden rake handle against the palm! the smell of blossoms and the sound of children playing. 

All I have to do is step outside.

[Is this the same person who dropped the ‘f-bomb’ on a neighbor’s landscape guy yesterday after storming out of the house to request that he stop using a now-banned gas-powered-leaf-blower? Indeed. You mean to tell me you are writing odes to catalpa blossoms today but were telling a hired landscaper yesterday to ‘use a fucking broom’? Well, yeah. After watching him aggressively yank the cord to wind up the blower practically in my face, it was not in fact my fault that I had to practically shout it at him, ‘USE A FUCKING BROOM!’

And, BTW, don’t you love this guy taking the high ground? As if my calling him a dick head (yes, I did that too) was more egregious than his aggressive, knowing violation of a new city ordinance put in place precisely for people like me?

I would call him a dick head again, but I’ll admit to some ‘spill-over’ wrath. There had been a series of disastrous phone calls to the hospital earlier (we’re talking mental impairments now, not physical), plus numerous calls to caregivers and c-pap manufacturers that were not full of fury and condemnation but nevertheless sucked time and soul from my day. By the time that now-illegal awful, awful high-pitched whine started up, I wasn’t having it.]

Happy Summer Solstice, all!
Peace. Peace. Peace (or in my case — at least the absence of cursing)

14 thoughts on “The Solstice

  1. Jen

    I hate those fucking leaf blowers too. They use them around campus and as if hours of mowing isn’t enough, they start up with those dang things and must feel they have to blow every blade of grass from the sidewalks, as they drone on and on and on…

    1. deemallon

      oh it’s so true — why is it so objectionable to leave some blades of grass on the sidewalk? I’m sure the homeowners don’t give a shit.

  2. Hazel

    So glad the Solstice has offered you some beauty & comfort.
    Glad I’m not the only one yelling at idiots. The other day I confronted one of them in the library, loudly.

    1. deemallon

      Me too-glad about the respite found in my yard. I don’t love the reactive vulgar side of me but I’m not particularly ashamed of it either.

  3. Michelle in NYC

    Living as I do in the busiest City for miles, I am constantly at work resisting the din of people and machines. I have my methods but confrontation is not one of them. The last time a party was too loud too late I called the anonymous noise complaint number and shut them down. Why confront neighbors who could care less I figure.

    May the Solstice Sun sweep into the hearts of the heartless and burn away all their faults!

    1. deemallon

      Clarification: after a multi year debate process Newton passed a partial ban on gas powered leaf blowers. Out of concern for those who make their livings using the machines, it is only a summer ban and does not exclude battery powered or electric blowers. So, the law is in effect for three weeks now. Without the law I would not and did not confront anybody. I had no right. But now I do. This was the third usage within two houses this week. The first two guys very sheepishly and without delay cut the machines off. This guy refused and before I started cussing at him, acted belligerent and as if I was the problem and not his willful violation of the ordinance. Interestingly, of the three, he was the only one American born.

  4. RainSluice

    I may be speaking too soon but I think I’ve moved to a small city where no one uses leaf blowers. I hate those things, too. In the town where I used to live, to condemn leaf blowers feels it would be a hate crime against the people who’s jobs depend on them. Doesn’t that seem like a symptom of the fear in the hearts of the upper class?
    Happy Solstice! I am grateful for this earth and missing my garden therapy, it makes me happy to see these photos. Oh, how satisfying it must be to have an anonymous complaint line number, that produces results. wow. But to me, even more satisfying to say “use a fucking broom” πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    1. deemallon

      I can’t believe you’ve moved already! Will you container garden at least? Send me some pix? See response to Michelle regarding livelihood and leaf blowers. And by the way, this guy was clearing invisible-to-the-eye debris off a fifteen foot pathway. It is not at all economically prohibitive to purchase a broom.


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