is here now, suddenly, like a promised but unwanted house guest whose arrival, though inevitable, it was best not to think about, nor the long stay. You thought about it, though, teased at it like a sore tooth. But like so many of one’s worst fears, anticipation is the worst part. Uh huh. I’ve been in a bit of a bad way, but my wife, hale and hearty, has been out in the garden thinning the lettuces, beets, and carrots whose seeds I so casually tossed into the ground six weeks ago, Johnny Appleseed-style, but without the hat. Sometimes it’s best to let the chips fall where they may, though my wife might contend that leaves others to pick them up. Yes, not always so bad, this visitor, bags wholly unpacked and in no rush to find other digs, on days like today, the cold snap gone by, the sun out, the woodburner able to breathe. You find ways to accommodate one another, even if you never learn affection for the season, which settles in now so comfortably you never know where you’ll come across it: on the cold leather of the couch, the olive oil gone solid in the pantry, the stacks of wood in their ever diminishment, like melting snowmen. We harvested a load of pumpkins before first frost and make our way stubbornly through it in soup and baking, whatever raises the temperature. My wife picks silverbeet, too, digs up a recipe that calls for cream, the fat necessary to get the most of the vitamins, necessary to get the kids to eat it, rescues the last tomato improbably clinging with pathos to the vine as if it were hope, lets it redden in the bowl, then we split it four ways, staring at it, and each other, like fishermen in a hut on the ice.
AboutA poet and fiction writer, I moved with my wife to New Zealand from the United States in 2004 to teach creative writing. This blog deals with some thoughts on that experience. It will teach you absolutely nothing useful about gardening and, in fact, will probably harm any such efforts. However, if you're interested in my poems, stories and/or my four books, visit me at http://bryanwalpert.com