It was a long job and hard on the fingernails, but it\’s done. The wattle fence looks like it was made by a drunken, learning-disabled Saxon peasant, but it fulfills its purpose–to distract the eye from the ugly wire mesh beneath–admirably.
This morning I heard one of the pullets talking to herself, and she was making grownup hen sounds. When did this happen? When did she go from a childish peeping to an adult vocabulary? It seems to have happened overnight, but I suspect this kind of thing happens gradually in hens, as it does in roosters. How did I miss it? Listen better, look more closely, I am forever telling myself. But I miss things all the time.
Had a happy two hours carving slate. The sun was already hot at 10 a.m., so I moved my outdoor carving stand under the big white ash tree and had a good time with mallet and chisel. This means, first and foremost, that I managed not to chip any body parts off the figure. But also, in a wordless, instinctive way, I\’m starting to understand new things about bas relief carving, that strange kingdom between 3-D sculpture and painting.
It was so beautiful out there this morning–sky, birds, grass, etc. that I kept saying to myself: this is another one of those deathbed moments–the supremely satisfying, simple times whose memory will console me when I am in extremis. I note that at least two of these times–the other one being picking dandelions for wine in the company of grazing goats–are moments in May, in Vermont.
A quote from a Catalan poet came to me while I was carving. My father used it as the title of one of his early compositions: \”Doneu-me solitud, doneu-me natura,\” (Give me solitude, give me Nature). Under my white ash tree, I had plenty of both. My father would have loved this place.
The climbing rosebushes I planted (my first ever) are still alive, and the garlic cloves I stuck in the ground all around them as a kind of charm are coming up.
Left Bisou uncrated and unsupervised in the house for almost three hours this afternoon. Returned to find everything in order. Didn\’t think we\’d ever make it this far.