Thursday, July 30, 2015

What I Thought About Today at Work When I Bit into a Plum

I plucked a crimson plum from the tree this afternoon and as I bit into the warm flesh, the juices oozing between my fingers, I thought of the small pit at the center of the fruit. I considered the golden, sugary, soft and nearly-pulsing flesh that protected the pit, the flesh into which my teeth had only just pierced, ravaged, bit a chunk from.

And this is where my brain landed: the flesh, with its tart skin wrapper, exists to shelter and nourish the pit as it grows to maturity. When the pit has fully reached its capability to go forth and grow a new tree, and eventually create its own coterie off plumlettes and pitlettes, it is released from the wholeness of the fruit. The fruit, essentially, births the pit — the seed — and is sloughed off, no longer necessary, its job done.

Do you see where I'm going with this? I came to the realization that when we are eating a plum, we are consuming a plum placenta and plum uterus.

It was hot.
It was late afternoon.
I'd hit a wall.
I didn't want to work anymore.
I was mighty grateful for the plum placenta and plum uterus.

And I don't know if it was the fructose or the notion that I was slurping up a warm placenta and uterus, but after that little fruity encounter, I perked right up.

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Long Silence

Few words. Few words here, at least. A loathing to turn on the computer. Hours spent out under the sky, with no roof. Time spent poking around the garden. (Tomatoes are coming on, and I can barely keep up with the beans.) Nothing too precious in my private landscape, only intense observation of what is, what is here, now. Perhaps what others might call an untidyness, but my current attitude to those Those Who Cluck is: I don't give a fuck. Honestly.

Cynicism aside (and I battle against it mightily), I enjoy a lifelong love affair with the mechanisms of nature. And in the city, nature is what happens when one doesn't obsessively tidy up. I mean, it's not entirely obvious that there's any nature at work here. A short length of unsplit firewood aka piece of dead tree might look, to some, as a laziness, a why-didn't-she-put-that-out-for-yardwaste-pickup scenario. Two short lengths of unsplit firewood might look like someone dropped something and didn't bother to pick up after herself. To me, these decaying hunks of tree are mini-ecosystems, hosts to beneficial fungi and insects, adding nutrients (organic!) to the soil as they slowly assimilate themselves back into the earth.

And realizing, after rereading the above paragraph, that I actually do give a fuck.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

In The Garden

Picking Beans

Backed up against the sweet peas
drooping over the path, beside
the two onions from last year
now gone to starry white-globed seed
and swirling with bumble bees;
overrun by a volunteer tomato
whose rambling vines I cannot
bring myself to yank up —

In line beside the green feathers
carrots wave in the air,
and the tang of dill
announcing its place where it wants
and not where I want —

And then the few square feet
given over to the cosmos
whose pink petals each year
offer new paint-strokes
of cross-pollination —

I squat in not-enough room between rows
and pluck the slim pods
hidden beneath their own leafed canopy.
The garden belongs to them —
the beans and dill, the cucumber and onions.
I am their lucky caretaker, their human
who offers water each evening,
reaps their generosity in silver bowls.
Thanks them 
for the honor of tending.

  ©T. Clear

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


The massive forest fires in British Columbia have blanketed much of the region in smoke, and the light in Seattle these past few days has been oppressively yellow. I've never seen the sun like this at sunset: deeply red, with horizontal striations, against a grey/yellow sky.  No expanse of reds, pinks or oranges strung out across the horizon; only the singular crimson disc of the sun.  It's eerie, spooky and completely fascinating. There is also an odd quiet to the air, as if all of humanity has entered into a state of collapse. Not a soul is out and about. It's unsettling, and makes for a constant low-level agitation.
My iPhone camera didn't accurately capture the redness of the sun, and the sky had more of a jaundiced cast, but nonetheless it was altogether odd.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Will somebody please turn down the heat!

The tap water diminished to nary a drop this morning, and here we are in the middle of record-breaking high summer temperatures.  I called a bunch of stores looking for an AC unit, and they all gave the same response: SOLD OUT.

Broken water main a mile away repaired after a few hours, and now the flow is strong but murky. I've set a large pot to boil, but the combination of heat and swampish water kills the appetite.

Our local meteorologist, Cliff Mass, says that our current stuck-weather-pattern has nothing to do with the larger concern of climate change, but rather a result of amplification of the upper level wave pattern. Whatever that means, I find it only minimally reassuring, as this high pressure system seems to be entrenched offshore and in my sinuses. Gah.

Lying down covered in wet towels with a fan pointed at one's body seems to help. I'm trying to figure out how to achieve this position at work. No luck yet. My days have been reduced to sluggish production painting and shipping. Gasping. Headaching.  [Complaining.]

We are all so vulnerable, we humans.

My tomato plants, on the other hand, are having an all-out party in their parking-strip garden bed, getting close to surpassing my height (just shy of 5'7'). And, well, the zucchini are, as usual, showing absolutely zero restraint. Sweet peas hanging on by a tendril, but their end is nigh.

If you have any spare rain, email me some. Please.