Lazy lethargic summer nights

June 14, 2004

I love watching the sycamore at the end of the garden darken into silhouette at dusk. Saw a dragonfly silhouette fly by, first dragonfly this year. Sitting, again, as late afternoon fades into dappled shade into the peacefulness of evening just after the sun has gone down but it is not yet dark. A good day potting newly-bought herbs for my herb container garden. How little I do, and yet how full the day seems planting out the two remaining tomato plants.

Nestled in a curled-up nasturtium leaf a huge spider guarding her large white ball of eggs. Smoky columns of midges rising from the trees at the edge of the reservoirs. They hatch from the gardens too, billowing clouds of them caught like motes in sunlight gyrating upwards. Numerous swifts swooping low at dusk and dawn to capture them.

And at 10.30pm I decide to go out to the shops to buy bottles of San Miguel and Nastro Azzurro and halloumi to grill and humus and melba toasts and sesame crackers. I snip some parsley and nip off with my nail a few basil leaves and chop them up and mix into the humus listening to the radio with the kitchen door open. At 11.30 I’m sitting with my herbs outside illuminated by the bathroom light looking at the stars, warm night, feeling contented, momentarily thinking it would be nice to share it with another with candles lit around the herb garden the rest of the world obscured in blackness, but nonetheless content, on my own.

In the kitchen a large mosquito traipsing through a bowl of poppy seeds under the table lamp, I sit at the table looking at its feathery antennae, a hover fly clinging to the fridge I let it walk onto my finger. The aroma of burnt nuts, leftover nut sauce in the grill pan mingles with halloumi juice. There is something about lazy lethargic summer nights, a good meal settling, and not feeling guilty about doing nothing at all. Everything jettisoned, but much more gently than I forever think it will take.

And I remember the beautiful crescent moon between the houses on looking out the curtains at dawn just before going to bed. And the Indian bean tree I saw today with long dreads of beanpods opposite the garden entirely filled with brilliant orange poppies, like an orange one has never seen before, and the Buddha sitting under the Bo tree on the mantelpiece, the night alive with the sparking of disparate things from the past and the present in a net to cover over all, finally focussing on my breathing itself, in, out, slowly, slowed down, everything.

Still half a bottle of San Miguel, I swig it back after appreciating the lull.