Early July. I was walking this evening along a riverbank – the Saône to be exact. To my other side was a field of recently cut long grass giving up its scent and sap in the late heat. All the germinating, sprouting, budding and fanning out of green is done. Our three months since March, floating boatwise on waterways, keeps us close to growth and change. Now I begin to see the fruiting, and I think about human life and its growing, flowering and fruiting. At my age I relate to ripening, and sit here to write this, and know I am fortunate not to be in a high-rise office where the air-conditioning is failing, straining my eyes on a computer screen. I am not breathing the pollution of this era’s transport – in short, I am close to nature. And being close to nature brings on the metaphors.
I think about my life and wonder when exactly my growing changed to flowering, when my flowering became fruiting (I guess as a mother that one’s easy) and when began my ripening. There are so many uses for fruit – sustenance to other life, or to fall and add nutrients to the earth – even if it withers on the branch, some essence is given to the atmosphere and recycled. And yet we are so scared of death.
Really I believe many of the problems in human society began when it moved away from nature, when it began to believe itself superior. Of course it is not. The weather teaches us that. How many lives are lost simply to weather, or mosquito bites? Our superiority is a delusion, and to try and manipulate and control nature will always fail. Husband it – nurture it – sure. But roots push up under tarmac, vines engulf buildings, seas rise and fall over great cities.