Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rain, after dry days

It is a quiet, cool, rainy day in Brooklyn. 

Rain drips from the copper flashing on the terrace edge onto a flat surface with a steady, hollow tap. Rain patters onto the skylights. Into the gravel, over leaves. On the terrace floor, naturalized mint and violets crowd into a thick, wet carpet. The fig is beginning to look like a tree again and small fruits have formed on the new green branches under umbrellas of leaves. 

I should be heading to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to pick up my weekly BK17 sourdough loaf baked by Sarah - this week's bread is lemon and fennel pollen - and also to take some pictures for a story for a new magazine about to launch in South Africa: Platteland

What a wonderful name. Hard to translate, exactly. It means countryside, but it embodies so much more. A way of life. A type of small town, a garden gate, a dog trotting down the street, a lady siting on a stoep, a cool kitchen on a hot day, water running in a furrow, a trail of dust behind a car on a dirt road.

The light is good for photos - but everything will be wet. Does that matter?

My basil it at last looking like basil. I sowed the seeds before we left for South Africa, in late May, and they came up, rather crowded and stunted, a little too hot, but responded well to thinning, feeding and judicious watering.

The strawberries are not well (I mean, who is?). They have spots on their leaves, which indicates a fungal infection and I think that the very wet June was to blame, followed by terrible, humid heat. I keep the pots clean, nipping off bad leaves, and make sure not to overwater, but don't have it in me to repot all of them. They must endure, and we will see what they are made of.

The last of the Gloriosa lilies has opened. But even as the buds fatten and pop, the leaves on the long reaching stems die off one by one. A sort of wilt that begins as a small bruise and then takes over the whole plant, as though each cell in the leaf has ruptured, and the chlorophyll leaked away. At the very end the intelligent hook in the leaf, which lassoes supports as the stem grows, expires and lets go.

August. More to come.

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