Luddite Day

I am writing this morning in the heat and glory of the morning. I wanted to write while sitting on the back porch yesterday morning. But I have become accustomed to hammering out my thoughts, my words, on a machine, a keyboard, and my aging laptop lacks a functioning battery; so it is tied to an electrical cord, which is in turn tied to an electrical outlet in the living room.

The memory of pen and paper had faded, forgotten really, until this morning when the thoughts and words began to form an internal dam, painfully pushing against me. Only then did I remember ink, paper, touch.

These words are committed to paper.

Earlier this morning Attila arose in a panic, after I gently called his name to let him know how late it was. We lost power during the night, so the set alarm did not go off. After ascertaining that there was no possibility of arriving to work on time, the morning preparations took on a more relaxed tone. These things happen.

My morning moved to the back porch fairly early, 7 a.m. Soon I was lost to the sound of rustling leaves, and the soft caresses of the breeze on bared arms. The days are still quite hot, but only now, mid-morning, is the thermometer reading 30C in the shade. Still bearable.

Earlier a little adventure into the garden yielded a medium sized Carrot, a Zucchini, and four large leaves of Swiss Chard, my lunch.

I look up from this page, losing focus on my writing. The breeze tickles me away from my scratching, calling. Looking out on this green oasis of sanity, that Attila coaxed out of a scant handful of seeds, I am calmed to the core. There is a certain knowledge in growing things, in gardens, in forests, in fields, and rivers and lakes and oceans. The wonder of life beyond the mind is where we came from, and where we are going. A robin has landed in the bird bath, quenching thirst, he gazes at me, a prolonged gaze, in a world alone together, and worlds apart. I lose focus again.

Oh yes, I was thinking of the knowledge of growing things, and my good fortune to have transplanted the knowledge of love into my garden. Granny’s Heliopsis is now over six feet tall, its yellow flowers slowly unfolding to the charms of the sun. Granny’s Day Lilies, stowaways, hidden in the roots of the transplanted Heliopsis and Rose, now bravely blooming and swaying companionably in the breeze, as they emerge from the stems and branches of their hosts.

These plants know they have reached a haven, where the love with which they were originally planted, almost 100 years ago, has strong human roots, here at Mist Cottage.

All the world is a garden.

The sun is creeping across the yard, slowly approaching my quiet, shaded refuge. Within a few hours it will overtake the porch, shooing me into the house, bidding me to turn my attentions to purely human endeavors. I will remain here on my chair on the porch though, for a little while more.

Ah… pen and paper, that’s better! I’ve been able to write.

A bit of prose from my garden:

A leaf falls.
A moth dances an invisible sharp-angled line across the garden breeze.
Wind snaps at the these pages,
“You are one of us,” it tells me.
“Listen,” it says.

Do not lose the glory of being to the confines of transcription.



Date: 1:00 PM EDT Monday 20 July 2020
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 27.6°C
Dew point: 20.6°C
Humidity: 65%
Wind: SSW 29 km/h
Humidex: 36
Visibility: 24 km


“He turned away from every person who stood up for a war. Or a principal of one’s land, or pride of ownership, or even personal rights. All those motives ended up somehow in the arms of careless power.”

Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje, 2000

When I read things like this, I don’t feel so alone on this human planet. I read this as I sat here on the porch, book in hand, and tried to read on. But these sentences would not release me from the page, they needed to root in my garden, so here they are.

Thank you Michael Ondaatje for keeping me company in my garden.

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What a beautiful day! I relaxed just reading your description. Thank you for posting this.

Diane Dahli

Your post is a lovely poem, Maggie! Was it using pen and paper that inspired you? What a way with words!