Last Wednesday, when I meant to sit down and write this post, the naming of things seemed a lot more topical than it does now (even I am aware of the Royal Birth). This is itself (possibly) an illustration of the fleeting nature of existence but what I really had in mind for that was my garden.
When OneMonkey and I moved here a couple of summers ago there was a large lawn which had gone a bit wild and was full of buttercups. Since then we’ve tried to turn it into a small wildflower meadow, with mixed results. Last summer being a total washout, this year is the first time we’ve had poppies in the lawn/meadow and it’s been a joy discovering the new floral landscape each day, because these poppies don’t seem to last. Whether that’s usual for field poppies or it’s just that petals are getting knocked off by overnight rain (which has been pretty heavy the last few days) so I only spot the freshly opened ones, I’m not sure. What I do know is that I keep seeing a couple of vibrant red poppies standing out in a sea of muted grasses and clover, deciding to take a photo as soon as I’ve… or after I’ve finished… by which time the light’s going, or it’s raining, and I leave it till tomorrow. And the poppies have gone.
The other morning I was out in the garden early and saw two almost translucent mushrooms rising from amid the woodchip sprinkled on the rose bed. That would make a good photo, I thought, and OneMonkey would be interested in those. So of course I carried on weeding, dead-heading and all the rest of it, went inside and had a drink, did something else entirely for a while then finally remembered to tell OneMonkey. They were right here, I’m sure they were, I said pointing to an unbroken woodchip vista. I had no idea fungus disappeared so fast, but apparently it can (though in this instance they could equally have been eaten by resident wildlife). So no photo, OneMonkey didn’t get to see them and I don’t know what kind they were.
Is there a point to all this, I hear you ask. Well, maybe. It’s yet another illustration of why I shouldn’t procrastinate or allow myself to get distracted and sidetracked, but it’s not as if I need all these illustrations – I know what I should (or shouldn’t) be doing, it’s a matter of sticking to it. On the other hand, it may be an illustration of how unimportant running for the camera is (though running for OneMonkey, who likes looking at mushrooms and toadstools, would have been a good idea).
What have I lost by not getting a photo of the flowers or the fungus? I can’t show you, but then I’m a writer so shouldn’t I be able to describe them to you? The jumble of tall grasses in shades of green and muted oaty brown, the poppies from a foot to eighteen inches high, some with pale red petals like tissue paper, others vibrant scarlet and thick like the velvet of a viola. The mushrooms camouflaged so well in the woodchip that I almost stood on them; six-inch stems thinner than a pencil, downy and grey, capped with what looked like a thin slice of tree-trunk the size of a ten pence piece. Add in the early-morning sunlight, just a hint of fresh breeze and the promise (or threat) of a hot day to come, the smell of clover and the feel of dew-dampened feet, with a watching cat sitting always just out of reach, companionable without getting too close. Without cameras we might not notice everything but we observe more, I think.
So it’s time to observe that the naming of things is best shelved for another day and a post of its own. I shall remain, relaxed, in my mental image of my early-morning garden.