I do give a fig, but it weighs on the mind

By Martin Kirby

The dagger leaves of the irises have grown to swords. A myriad of flower essences float among the birdsong. The fig trees are finally stirring with the green of life flaming from their upturned finger tips, and although cicadas dominate the dusk chainsaws claim the dawn.

Cyclical rain and sun cast the colours of new beginnings, while the days grow longer and the time left for fires ticks away. Yet a niggling dampness lingered into May and are out of firewood save for twigs. That won’t be a problem next winter. Forest clearance after the tree-breaking snowfalls has been in full swing across the sierra for a considerable time, hence the grrr of saws from all quarters, and we too can cut and burn to hopefully spare us a summer torching. It is satisfying labour because the mist of moisture that paints the valley with milky brushstrokes extinguishes all fear of accidental fire storm, and amid the damaged woodland you can see where you have carved air. Better still, lilly of the valley and wild sweet peas, dormant for goodness knows how long, have stirred from beneath the bed of needles where the pines once blocked light and life. We whistle, and when the damp-down deadline of noon arrives I am invariably humming, so I jump into the shower, bramble inscriptions on my forearms and forehead; the unshaven, torn-trousered, half-bearded antithesis of the tidy pink, blue and golden boys of the political tussle gripping the UK, that has caused a seismic shift in Westminster. The markets, as nervous as the five week-old hen chicks we are raising in the barn, clearly know nothing about yoga breathing, and are continuously spooked by the yelling of the politically warped national newspapers. You couldn't make it up. I dip into various websites, chiefly the BBC, then have to walk out of the farmhouse on to the land to find perspective, to move my mind to more natural things. Like the wonder of the awakening fig trees.


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