We are no longer in the gardening season, no longer in the season of growth and warm days, of the earth turning green. October heralds the season of decay, of stillness and quiet, broken not by songbirds but the geese winging their way south. Weeding once, with someone else, he suggested laying the handfuls of weeds over the living ones, as a smothering mulch. Use what’s at hand.
That phrase comes back to me, in this season of pulling up a garden, ending one thing, and entering this other season. It’s a way of looking at the world where one thing morphs into another, where this as plague becomes that as assistance. It’s a way of looking at compost as life, at your weakness as truly your strength.
I thought I knew about all that (loss) when my first wife, Jackie, died of cancer… It isn’t just that I don’t believe in love; I’m not sure I believe in anything. But, looking at these radiant canvasses (of Vermeer)–unreachable yet familiar–reminds me. The rapturous inner life of each woman and the infinitesimally detailed and self-contained life of the street are each imagined as an undiscovered heaven on earth…
–– Michael White, Travels in Vermeer