by Reading the Signs
by Reading the Signs
Things have been getting out of control. I did prepare the ground. The roses will be as they should, they are just the right shade of pink, I won’t have anything loud and brash. I am a fastidious dead-header.
Last year I made a wigwam out of twigs and the sweet peas did not come. One shouldn’t, I know, take these things personally, but I have a particular relationship to the natural world and know when I am being spoken to.
I remember the first time, looking into the face of a marguerite – there was something too open about it, vulnerable to attack; those white eyelash petals which, when one looked closely, where full of small black insects. I am desolate, said the marguerite, or perhaps, we are all doomed. I got rid of them. Since then, I have never liked flowers with eyes.
The neighbours are having a spring party to which they have not invited me. I have complained about the condition of their herbaceous border and particularly about the wildflower population whose presence they encourage because they don’t understand the language as I do. They mill around in the garden with their friends and their white wine spritzers celebrating the weather which is, as even they can’t fail to notice, unseasonably warm, and they are surrounded by the worst of them: forget-me-not.
At its centre is a golden star, the heart of which is a dark eye. It gives each bloom a brazen, staring quality. Look at it for any length of time and you fall into it, this is not one to be taken lightly. A dark intelligence stares back at you, marks and measures you, finds you wanting. You lack the precise contours of its petals, the definition of its contrasting colours. It can stare you out and it has many brothers. There is only one of you. If you witter on about spring it will give you its one-eyed, focussed silence. Look away at daffodil and bluebell and you feel it at your back; a concentration without breath. It sees you more than you see it.
There is an army of them outside the house, all with the same thought: we come, we see, we conquer and say nothing. You have been vanquished by a bed of blue flowers so profligate they could be weeds. There is a story about a girl who looked into the eye of one of them. She looked so long, so deep, she forgot her own name and how the sun moves across the field, time passes and everything you knew or thought you knew falls into black. She lost her mind. The story’s true. Look into the eye of a forget-me-not and it will do the same to you.
Things are out of control. They are coming at me through the fence posts: I see you. I see you.