Friday, July 09, 2010

smell of wet earth

The light fades. The mosquitoes are out. It’s not that they’re just out, they are having a convention!

Ed reads on the Internet that the adult population thrives on nectar. From willows (so many lovely willows on his farmette!), plums (yes those too!), cherries, peaches – basically, Ed’s farmette is a safe haven for any mosquito wanting life's sustenance.

My younger daughter is in Madison for the week-end and we have a magnificent pizza dinner down a few paces from where I live.


The waitress spills a smidgen from the bottle of Prosecco, which is unfortunate, because she then refills our glasses overabundantly, to compensate, and for once, no one wants to drink much, even though it’s free wine.

I had been having thoughts about writing projects and how we fail at them (okay, how I fail at them) and when I decide to air these thoughts some, I am shot down by rebuttals to my numerations of this problem or that one, and I come away thinking that if it is not the fault of the externalities, then it must be my fault and really, that’s not a surprise at all because I know that it is, indeed my fault.

I am reading a book written by a famous author who contemplates being a not so great father or husband even as it is not so difficult, in the eyes of the world, to be a good father (I haven’t gotten to the part about his husbandry). And I wonder if the world is at all lenient toward those who mean to do worthy things but somehow do not get to them in at a timely manner. And if women and men have to suffer the indignities of failure even as they half hope that it is not entirely of their making.

I’m spending some days at the farmette now. Not too many. Just a few, this week-end.

It feels more like country than any place I’d stayed at in the States. The lights are not quite bright enough, the bugs look for entryways, the smell inside and out is of the soil.

How often can we say that about the air around the kitchen table --- that it is of the soil?

It’s a good place to think again about life’s projects. The mere act of thinking assuages the guilt that attaches to lethargy.

It’s not my fault, I say to myself. At least I think some of the time, it’s not entirely my fault.

The mosquitoes outside continue to convene in huge numbers. The truck farmers who work the fields the night before Madison’s big market day (Saturday) light fires, creating protective layers of smoke over the low lying fields. They wave as we drive by. I think at first that they are waving toward us, but then I change my mind: it’s the mosquitoes – they’re trying hard to chase them away.


I look over to the side of me, as we are driving to the farmette through clouds of bugs and past fields of flowers and peas, and I think that at this moment, Ed has sad eyes.


I remember the days in Sorede when we bought extra mille feuille because he could not resist the joy of eating one on the spot.

This afternoon, we had gone to our favorite Madison boulangerie (La Baguette) and there, indeed, we see the familiar mille feuille.


Ed says no. Not this time.

That’s right. Not this time. Maybe it was not meant to be.