Wednesday, May 25, 2011


More pouring and dripping rain this evening...May 2011 has now posted a record amount of rain, and there's nearly a week more of May to go (with three days of rain in the forecast).

The flowering plums and apples have come and gone, lovely for a moment, but soon faded by water and wind, leaving a confetti of pale and dark pink all over... The lilies of the valley are drunkenly aromatic in the front of the house. I half expect visitors and the mailman too to lurch as they approach the house, from the headiness of their perfume. And in the last couple of days that effect has been doubled by the blooming Japanese lilac by the front window, all soft purple and fragrance. The final piece of this talk of blooming in the rain is the wisteria, always a touchy subject for me. The vine, a Chinese (white) wisteria, has bloomed precisely twice in eighteen years, and not very generously. But last year I kept trimming it intermittently all summer and early fall. And lo and behold this spring there's a whole section of the plant that is trailing long white strands of dripping blossom. Now if I could just be sure which part of my trimming technique caused this to happen. Maybe none of it. Perhaps it's chance, or mother nature taking pity...

I'm still on deadline, and feel like I must have a raw patch on my nose where I've had it pressed to the grindstone. No, really, the Burma book is emerging from the fog of its creation and feels solid now. It just needs more editing time. Most books do!

In the last weeks, apart from the lovely blossoming of spring, there have been some wonderfully good intervals. One was the visit overnight of a young woman whom I haven't seen since she was not quite seven. At the time she was travelling in Thailand with her parents. We spent a lot of time together and had memorable days over the Lisu New Year at a Lisu village a day's walk from Pai... I've seen her mother a few times in the past five years, coming into town briefly from BC, but this is a first with the daughter. And she was a wonderful and present person as an adult, a grown version of how she had been when a child. What a privilege to be back in touch with someone I've always thought of as family. Yes, that was a special trip, twenty-four years ago, and now there's a chance to reconnect with it in a new way.

This coming weekend there's a Market Day up in Grey County, when the members of the Saugeen Trading Community come together to buy and sell; outsiders are also welcome of course. I'm going to head north for the day. It should be a good break from the manuscript and also a chance to pick up some heritage tomato plants and to reconnect with friends from Grey County whom I haven't seen enough of this spring.

The tomatoes will need to be planted once I get back to the city. I have three bags of soil, but need three more I figure, so that I can plant them in the bags (make slits in the plastic, stir the soil to loosen it, and insert the plant. Make a slit right beside the plant and put a small plastic cup in there with holes at the bottom. Water the plant regularly by pouring water in the cup, so it goes directly to the plant). Those are the almost verbatim instructions set out online for growing tomatoes or other plants in a plastic bag of soil. (I'm doing it because there is blight in the soil in my garden, argh!).

I'm sleepy this evening, not able to work on Burma. That'show I've managed to post this small blogpost. I took the evening off to go to listen to Monia Mazigh, Maher Arar's spouse, speak about current events in Tunisia (her home country), Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc. I am so glad to have heard her and seen her. She's a strong intelligent woman, deliberately provocative in her hijab, speaking fluently in English, her third language. Very dazzling.

meantime my only contact with all those shattering and amazing and awful events is to follow them on Twitter and read the links that are posted. And to hope that they have a positive and productive and peaceful outcome, sooner rather than later.


kerrdelune said...

Ah.... do keep us posted about the book. I have all the others and am looking forward to this one!

Carrie Oliver said...

Naomi, It was lovely to meet you tonight at the WCN and I look forward to learning more about your work, in particular your new book. Take care,
Carrie (the beef geek)