they say a storm is coming. this may very well be true. and although the sky is the perfect shade of blue, clouds are gathering fast. rain is in the air. i can smell it.
the concrete step feels warm beneath my bare feet. the sun is coy and toys with me, playing hide and seek amid the cloud formations. but there’s a restlessness in the air. i can feel it in my hair.
it is friday. 3.15 in the afternoon. it is supposed to be summer. that’s what the calendar states. summer solstice. the longest day.
and it has been the longest day. nothing seems to have gone to plan today. what is today, anyway? what is time if nothing but a human construct to organise our lives by? i feel like i am waiting. waiting for something to happen.
i sit on my doorstep with a cup of coffee in one hand and an abundance of time in the other. i watch the trains go by. there’s something beautiful in their ephemerality.
i marvel at the tiny flowers, violet and yellow, growing up through the cracked and spawling concrete steps up to my home. such unexpected beauty. such unexpected strength for something so small and seemingly delicate.
my thoughts turn back to a time when i had a medieval castle on my doorstep; to another time when i had a beach. and now, it would appear, i have a garden. a wild garden with wild birds and butterflies. a wild garden fringed with an abundance of cherry-red lanterns of the fuschia bushes growing down by the railway tracks, tall spikes of purple and white digitalis salute the pathway, and a lone Himalayan palm tree sways in the breeze. there is also a mysterious outbuilding hidden amid the trees that overhang my overgrown lawn. i think i may have a key for that… a big old rusty key.
maybe i should seek the services of a gardener. the lawn grass is almost waist high.
the sun, when she shines, warms my face and shoulders. i close my eyes and listen to the sounds of this supposed summer: trains, chattering birds, distant music from someone’s transistor radio and people in conversation.
i open my eyes. squinting, i follow the voices, momentarily sunblind. it is my neighbours, John and Jess. they are an elderly couple and they are talking to their gardener. their garden is perfectly plotted geometry. the precision of its symmetry whispers a sense of order and calm.
“shall we plant delphiniums? i just love delphiniums”
another train rolls past. taking that moment with it.
i look at the wilderness of my garden. it screams chaos.
i shiver as the sun shies away behind a big black cloud, clearly overshadowed – or so it would seem. the air is cold. too cold for a storm, i think.
petrol blue and white magpies chatter with one another, swooping from telegraph wire to tree top, and back again. even they seem restless.
the gardener fires up his lawn mower. it splutters and starts, then growls loudly as it cuts up the grass. the tiny green blades are no match for those big steel ones. i watch him walk back and forth, steering the grass-cutter, turning their garden lawn into a chess board. the smell of cut grass is pungent.
the sun, having burned through the cloud, is hotter than before. it is almost 4.
i tiptoe down the hot concrete steps to the dry stone dyke that divides order from chaos and start up a conversation with the gardener.
for £30 he will cut the lawn and square up the edges, he says.
next week, i say.
words (c) Kat McDonald 2019