The vegetable patch looks really cosy. We've trimmed the edges of all the beds and then piled up straw-and-cow-shit to mulch down. It looks so snug now, like warm, honey-coloured duvets tucking up each bed.
It's still raining. Not liking to get their paws wet, the cats stay indoors. Far too much indoors. They have pissed on Freddie's jumper and pissed in Penny's bed, the beloved, beautiful, black-velvet BASTARDS that they are.
Penny and I talk late into the night about the fundamentals of house-sharing. (To me, these have to include equality, respect for people's processes, shared decision-making, no verbal abuse or physical aggression and a respect for people's privacy.) People have lived in alternative communities for a long time: surely there must be well-thought-out lists like this, pooling the experience of years? I'd like to read some. Mine is just a brief sketch.
I have a friend, Margaret, an older Scottish woman. This morning I get a letter from her, in gentle blue-grey ink from a Proper Fountain Pen. Her friendship is a lovely layering of years, since I was a child and she in her thirties. Julie's friendship is as sudden as it is profound. She'll be coming from Montana to Britain and I'm hoping we can visit Margaret when we are in Scotland. Both of them are wise. Both funny. Both are women who can see an awfully long way down into things and over the ordinary horizon. Friend. What a beautiful word. There is a deep association between trees and friendship, I think. Trust. Shelter. Enduring love and an easy laughter in the leaves of it.
A friend-just-met, Gary Stroutsos, sends me a message... could I do a little deft editing of his description of his own work? Yes, yes, if I can help I will. He and a Navajo flute maker, Paul Thompson, created an unutterably beautiful CD of Native American songs played live inside the Canyon de Chelly. Complete with unrehearsed and unrehearsable ravens.
Here, when there is any let-up in the rain, the chaffinches start chittering dementedly at any little peck of blue sky. I feel the same way.
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Jay Griffiths is the author of WILD: An Elemental Journey.