‘hot violet in soul’ I’ve written in my notebook, alongside a drawing of greeny-gold wash and pink dots. We connect through fluids, through song, through the hands of men. I made a drawing of a babe hanging in a tree like a pendulous seed.
In my studio the babe turns away from us, the tree becomes an animal with a long tongue, which touches her back at the place the soul enters. I think of how the animal can breathe soul into us.
I visit the gardens again, on a very hot morning.
Cares and prayers and birds on my shoulders
their song falling like rain
Caves and Saints and cyclamen in forests walking the high paths where a sheep carried me in the dream. I rode the fleecy warmth; he carried me along the high pass. I looked down to see his feet carefully following the high narrow ridge, senses all a-quiver.
Then he slipped and fell and I was afraid, but he landed on his feet, on another narrow path just below, and he kept going. All was well.
Caves and cyclamen and Saints, you walk a high path to find them, the stony corners curl in, carve dreams from air and bee breath. A serpent sleeps beside the pool. The rainbow serpent slumbering in tree form. I walk over you, you drink slowly, no one can see.
As I sit in the Gardens I think of how being in gardens have awoken me throughout my life. Asleep, the garden touches and awakes you.
In Menton at the lovely Clos du Peyronnet I fell in love – with a garden. At dusk I would stand beside the Datura, enormous white trumpets hanging silkily in the violet shadows, perfuming air with seduction. Lunch beneath the groves on ancient stone tables; tree rats running overhead. The pools with kingfishers and terrapins, the lotus flowers in their immaculate glory, opening day after day, stirring me to another life. I would gather lemons and avocadoes, breathe in the hot delicious air, wish that each day would never end. I would sit for long hours in the garden and draw. William would bring me flowers, enormous lily-shaped bosomy wonders, with chunky purple stems. His rooms smelled of smoke, and olives and garlic. It was cool inside. Each morning he would rise at 6 am and spend time caring for his bulbs. I was entranced!
I find a place to hide at Tremenheere, away from the sun. It is behind a screen of giant fronds. I remember finding this spot for lunch many years ago when my boy was small and it was a hot day. I lie on the grass beneath the trees.
Does Heaven have whiskers and a soft belly, pink and nippled I ask my doggy companion…
Will I be able to lie on my back on the earth and see the spinnakers of trees, smell the brown earth, the green of new leaf? Is there sunshine there and how will my body feel? Being birthed to eternity…
Earth as this womb, wind womb, air soughing, boughs rubbing
The clouds go by. I do not speak. I give my wounds to trees. They take them. They become the body of the animal I pray to, with every hand of my body.