There are windows in my donjon now. It is a strange mixture of basement and tower. The house burrows into a slope and I’m below the house but above the ground.
Not as many windows as there once were; more than when we found the place. The last people were their own jailers, and Poe to boot. They immured themselves like Pharoahs. I tore the window holes back open like a delirious person his bandages. Let in some light.
I am never in a reverie. I have a clamp on my head, and a fibrous hand over my mouth. The machines roar and moan incessantly. I think of things while I stare at the grain, over and over, the grits increasing in number and the day slowly decreasing into night. There is nothing dreamy about it, though. I think.
There was a flash of coral pink outside the window — my wife passing by my window on her way into the garden. She didn’t see me. I am lost to her all day.
The hill is steep and people go by like they’re descending a stair, and they look at their feet as people like to do in such cases. She made it past the phalanxes of logs in the dooryard, brooding in the desultory sun, poised for the winter’s battle. Into the garden she went.
We didn’t make the garden. It’s wild and unkempt and wonderful. It’s the wreckage of everyone’s bad idea of a garden, that somehow knitted itself into something. There’s a perfect Christmas tree in the center of it, and the carpet of grass and moss pinwheels around it. The greensward wears a ruff of lupines, black-eyed susans, bleeding hearts, daylilies, daisies, roses, thistles, blackberries, and many other things we don’t even know what to call. There’s an abandoned greenhouse next door, and some of its prisoners have escaped and hide out in our yard, too. It’s late in our season here, and the garden has gone rank and overgrown. The birds turn up their nose at it; the bees have found employment elsewhere.
There’s just a plank ramp from my door to the ground. The house, neglected, shed its porches and roof on that side in a fit of indifference long before we’d even heard of the town we’re in. I shuffled down and stood at the bottom and watched her for a moment.
The wind makes all the leggy stems sway back and forth like a current in a sea. That wind will remain all winter, but the sun will flee, and it won’t feel as nice as it does now. Bracing, and interesting in its effect on the landscape. She disappears and reappears in the dancing stalks. She’s cutting the yellow flowers that have taken over a corner of the little world. I’ll see them on the table tonight.
No maid in a field of poppies, with a Frenchman and his paint pots, could have made a scene like that for me. You cannot love just any stranger in a garden like that.