View from my porch, sunrise across Discovery Bay, Mount Baker in the background,
Port Townsend in the foreground.
Again, I climb
the crest of the last rise
before the road twists downhill to the bay.
She lifts into view, her icing top floating
as these Pacific NW peaks will do
above a shimmering cake stand
and without blush I confess to her--
my dear, dear Mount Baker.
As well I sing bless you to the moon
when it delights me, emerging full
from behind a cloud in darkened sky
to guide me home again.
The me that only sings or cries
alone in the car foresees the day I will not
round this curve again, not drive again,
not see mountaintops again, have to leave
my home for the sheltered hovel of the old,
to never really see the moon again and again,
and then, to not see again.
I have an image of my yard that will likely take years to achieve. All the better, so I will have reason to stay put for a while to work on it. My neighbors have no inkling what's in store; right now the it's patches of various tall grasses sporting dandelions among patches of mowed crabgrass, a small overgrown flower bed, and tomato plants and herbs sunning on the porch. I've also moved almost all of my houseplants out to the porch for the summer. Out here on the Olympic Peninsula, the soil is poor, the sun-season is long days but short weeks, and I'm committed to a push mower. I really don't see the need to waste gasoline on cutting grass. (For more commentary on that point, read this poem.)
Start with the fact of a garden. I grew up collecting weeds, leaves, fireflies and acorns in an urban environment, East Coast, full-press seasons. Then I lived in Florida for 20 years, most of that time in Tallahassee, where planting and harvesting a vegetable garden was easy-- easy because the climate was warm, there a favorable mix of sun and rain, and I was a lot younger with a more supple bend. We ate a lot of fresh picked corn, watermelon, sweet peas, greens and sweet potatoes. In NYC, where I lived for another 20 or so years, I planted tomatoes on the fire escape, learned how to make house plants happy .
There was a raised-bed garden the year I lived in Tacoma, Washington, that was 2011, and it brought me mustard greens, spinach, tomatoes, bibb lettuce, cukes, red peppers, green onions, and a few scraggly carrots. Here in Sequim, you can't even get into the garden shop at Home Depot on spring weekends, it's that crowded. PWN people are folks of high hopes. Although everywhere I've lived (which is many places) people love to garden, to grow, to see something edible come from our own dirty hands.
My yard is frequented by the local deer family, chosen for my particular cultivation practices. A fence may show up some day and then I will plant another vegetable garden. Today I am planning to scatter perennial flower seeds in the unkempt lawn: hollyhock, shasta daisy, goldsturm, orange poppies, echinacea and columbine. Don't you just love the wild flowers that grow along the highways? This is my secret plan, to have a yard full of wild flowers that will melt neighboring hearts to my wild ways.
I don't own a television. I donated my last one, a 27 inch with its VCR, to Copper Canyon Press for their intern house after I realized that I had gone a whole year without turning it on. I don't miss having a TV, and I don't use my computer as a substitute, so I also don't watch movies; the last movie I saw was when I lived in Tacoma, a town with a grand movie theater, and that's now more than 3 years ago. I don't know how or why this happened, it just did. I will watch reruns of Star Trek or Buffy, if I can get them, whenever I'm in a hotel, and that's about it for visual entertainment.
What I still do regularly is listen to the radio. I have a radio in the kitchen, office, and bedroom, sometime they are all on in tandem. My favorite radio is one that my parents listened to before I was born, still working fine. When I am home, I listen to radio often during my day and sometimes leave it on at night, letting it invade my dreams. And though I also crave silence, or the ambient noise of the outdoors, radio is my companion, my familiar. Since I moved to Sequim, where my home faces north towards Canada, I mostly listen to the CBC, which has some fine programming (such as Writers and Company, Your DNTO, As it Happens) and a great all-music station. There are also a few independent podcasts that I tune into regularly, usually on an NPR station: This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, Selected Shorts, Radio Lab, and Snap Judgement. Although I don't plug into popular culture or sports, I don't seem to be missing anything, even though there are a lot of names bandied about that mean nothing to me.
What have I gained from this ? I don't know, undoubtedly it gains me time to use for other endeavors, such as writing poems. I read lots of books. I feel more comfortable with myself, and less anxious about what's going on in the world that I have no control over. I avoid coming into visual contact with a lot of gratuitous violence and human cruelty. I also avoid small talk, because I mostly don't know the references.
As I write this, the radio is on in the background. Some of my favorite radio shows air on Sundays. I don't have a point to make here, or a judgment, but I think living without television has opened up my life in satisfying ways.