Instead of walking early this morning, I spent an hour and a half watering and tending the garden. It takes time to visit everyone, to top a dahlia here, touch a dewdrop on a maple sprout there, pick a pint of strawberries, count the Agapanthus blooms, marvel at the number of new cones high up in the firs, admire the smooth stones in the shade garden — but of course it would be silly to go on. As it is, I was thinking yesterday about how ordinary the writing in this book has become, and likely has been all along. (I hear a bird hopping along the edge of the roof — probably a robin, as its tread is too heavy for a smaller bird. The front drape is closed to keep the morning sun from cooking Plutarch’s Lives. Now it’s open, because a layer of clouds has formed.) But I confess it’s not something I worry about. Such things cease to matter. There are enough posers in the world. Heaven knows I’ve been one of them. If I’m less of one now — and really, is it possible to know? — it’s through no effort of my own. Does it take effort to know oneself? The notion is absurd. It’s like saying life has its rewards. If it does, it must also have its punishments. And if that is so, then one has to wonder how life ever became so small — how it evolved from a beautiful universe of ripe unknowns to a visit to the principal’s office at a junior high school.
June 18, 2020
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