Star Flowers

The weather forecast said the rain would end at 7:30 p.m. It is just beginning. We have only had half an inch of rain this month. There is a thin band of pale blue sky between the thick layers of white and gray clouds–a sky sandwich. I have been here for one year. The landscape–the stark viaduct bolstering the sky, the black wet curving road, the stone wall-eyed houses–is exactly the same. The way I see this place has changed. I was exuberant in each of my small discoveries–the megaliths, the archaeological society with the old men and women ensconsced inside like ancient delicate artifacts. I woke up early every day and rushed up to the village, discovering new faces, my fear of this strange place like an added sheen to my excitement. Most days I would walk to the cafe to drink coffee and check emails. But now that I have an Internet connection, I stay at home. Last year, I did a lot more cooking and experimenting with new foods–lamb shoulders and fig flans. The flowers, the fruits from the garden, each a new surprise, a gift from the gods. Mon Dieu, I had never tasted a mirabelle before; and now I had my own tree, limbs bowing under the weight of a hundred golden globes. I crawled through the garden on my hands and knees for days carefully cutting and pulling out long green creepers covered with stabbing thorns. This spring I made a path with white stones which glow brightly against the lush leaves and purple buoyant flowers on the trees which I rescued from ivy the very first summer. I spent many afternoons cutting away and pulling with my hands the ivy ropes which wound around and around each and every tree trunk in the garden. I watered more than I should have perhaps–the garden having been neglected for four years. And now, the garden rewards me with its verdant lushness. Today, I cut the first bright pink rose as big as my palm, sucking in its beautiful perfume as if it were life-giving. And I plucked the first tiny red rose, scent-less, petals tightly wound, a dull luxurious red.

This is what I need in order to live: I need antique red and unabashed pink. I need to feed the birds who come from the temperate woodlands and the brilliant river. My nights and mornings are glorious with birdsong. And the black night pulses with a million flowering stars.

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