Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Yeah, I know, I know. I write about this at least once every summer. I can't help it. Nothing else happens during the year quite as extraordinary as what's happening just to my left at this very moment.

My studio here on the hill in Ireland has big south-facing windows. Like a greenhouse. And every year I line up my pots and stick in seeds. By August the windows have curtains of green. Tomatoes. Peas. Cukes. Morning glories.

I know this isn't a big deal. Everybody has plants in the windows. But still the whole thing reduces me to blubbering awe. Those tiny seeds transform dirt, water and air into these gorgeous, distinctive plants and fruits, each one different, each of its own kind.

That unexpected molecule, the double helix. Who could have guessed? GATACGATACC... A four-note song singing a tomato plant into existence. Yeats has a little four-line poem, called Gratitude to the Unknown Instructors:
What they undertook to do

They brought to pass;

All things hang like a drop of dew

Upon a blade of grass.