Across the yard a single leaf trembles and the palsy passes on from tender limb to limb. There is no corresponding tempo in the adjoining greenery. The steps of this dance are performed alone. The white wreathed faces of Shasta daisies blush a mustard yellow but the heat of that complexion does not turn their heads. The amethyst beards of moneyed irises are soldered in burnished karats to emerald stems, rising, yet static upon the burnt umber earth. The distant leaves stir and sway in a still air. A closer inspection shows no insect or avian influence. There is no illusion or magician’s trick to be exposed under the bright light of day. This singular isolated rhythm, this pas de une, seems a syncopated mystery in the heat hazed yard.
The long days of summer, sun filled and as yet evening cool, stretch out in front and behind. The sleepy afternoons are filled with new ideas and combinations of lovely, lovely words. Books are an old friend, my first love really. Saviour or scapegoat, friend or enemy, whatever else they have been, books remain doors that open up the world both around and within myself.
We all have a love for the things that strike the note that vibrates to our individual pitch. For some it sings a smoky diesel tune that hums along interlocking cogs while pistons clef the staff and determine the tempo. For others the sharp tang of the holy trinity…onions, celery and bell pepper…is the savory altar they worship at. For many the hymn is the song itself. It is not necessary to understand the notes played but it is a certainty that there are as many true loves as there are hearts. For me the perfect note has always been and will always be the written word.
As the years have passed this old love of mine has been continually packaged up in bright new boxes with a pretty new ribbons. The gift inside, in all its variations, has never changed. There is no single heart that beats beneath the breast of my revisited love. As always, there are a thousand hearts that beat out the inky tattoo. I am never discouraged when I bite a bad one and find half a worm in the white flesh of the pages. I simply spit it out and dig another indulgence out of the bushel. It is a hunger that never totally fades and so I feed at the trough of literature until I’m bloated with narrative.
June afternoons redolent with the sweet scents of ripening wheat have ebbed into the upsweep of July’s race to the longest day. The dog days of summer, hunch ruffled and teeth bared, wait just past that apex crouching on the slope only a score of tomorrows away. Looking up from the last page of a chapter my eyes are caught by the movement of a single bush dancing by itself, perhaps in a breeze I don’t feel or to a note I don’t hear. Who can say? I turn the page to begin the next chapter of my book. My foot taps out a rhythm as I move deeper into the story and then I’m dancing alone, to the harmony of my own note.