Entries in desert summer fire (1)


A Long Visit From the Fire-Spirit

I'm not sure whether I have fallen in love with the desert, or if the desert has fallen in love with me. Perhaps the latter, because its spirit has followed me home. The earth in the Night Planted Orchard has cracked open and the cracks are so deep that I cannot find a stick long enough to touch the clay below. The apples are small but their sweetness sings in the branches. The new mulberry has decorated itself in crumbled leaves and has surely died. The three trees that we planted in the cold, wet, late spring - because they were bargains and we would surely have a poor summer of course - are on life support. The heat is so exhausting that my clauses fall into each other's paths like wilted leaves on a wilted vine. The pond is a dusty wallow beloved of the blackbirds. I spent weeks digging a new drain for the orchard because in the winter it becomes a quagmire at its lower end. It gapes at me like a dessicated beggar and laughs like a loon at my folly. Foxes, badgers and muntjac share the water that we have put in the tree under some eternal truce. Butterflies fill every bush. Columns of whites dance like flames. Tortoiseshells hide where peacocks parade themselves. Commas confused by the early blackberries bask like little burning embers. The blues are in short supply. The gatekeepers are more richly coloured than I have ever seen. The dragonflies are as fat as sparrows and we spotted a rare male metallic green banded demoiselle at the riverside, bigger, fatter and braver than its plain blue brothers. The lawn is as thirsty as I am, running out of moisture as I run out of commas and dashes and colons: the grass has surely died.