Up through the mist-shrouded hills, past the crows-strewn rubbish, the young reefer-smoking worker taking a last breath in front of the subway, the anxious fog of the grass. At the door, 6:30 a.m. in the fall housing estate, the days of heat fading away chased by heavy rains.
I love this site. Looking up and seeing someone weeding. Leaving the zucchini overgrown by the way. But there is joy for me in the solitude just after sunrise. He is there in the final call of the owls, the sly fury of the fox, the precocious buzz of the late bees.
I am comfortable in melancholy. Tinkering at dawn, just fallen sunflowers for company. Formation of vines from variegated nasturtiums to a leaning verbena. They will soon have conquered the sticks of peas and sweet peas. It is only a matter of time until they too are defeated by the frost.
The green beans had one last push, the fruits are heavy – a few fatty and almost translucent pods with seeds. Bellies swollen and pregnant with hope for next summer.
I love this time when the more garish beauty of summer fades; the almost timidity of late flowering. I don’t need to come home triumphant with a hunter’s booty. Maybe a few chard leaves, a handful of cream beans or chervil, a little pot of fall calendula to keep near the computer while I write.
Most of the time, I’m here now at the subdivision for communion, if you will. To keep company. To say a long goodbye.
There is a Hindu word: darshan. Freely: in the company of the divine. And it’s here for me in the morning healing. Testimony. Beauty found in the patches. There, in a petal adorned with dew, the slow subsidence of the marigolds, the thinner stems, the less virile hold of the climbing blue blauhilde.
There is wonder at the start of fall. More shy perhaps, but it’s there. The constant roar of summer no longer needed. I surrender to the fading. The slowing of the return to the ground.
Allan Jenkins Plot 29 (4th Estate, £ 9.99) is out now. Order it for £ 8.49 from guardbookshop.com