It was a day to meander. Around town in the morning, a cup of coffee in my favourite Italian restaurant, al fresco, The Guardian newspaper fluttering in the soft September breeze. Tons of things to make you think and muse and discuss. H and I like to do that, ramble into the city, do nothing in particular although he did want to visit the Pork butcher to buy some shoulder to make pulled pork tacos. He was cooking tonight. I felt free and easy and not bothered by much.
When we got home we had a light lunch and then he took off into the garden to hammer nails into things and spray WD40 onto rusting orange bolts and feed the hens and do whatever men do out in the garden in September. I felt open to rambling. I put on short wellington boots and grabbed a bowl. I wanted to make an apple cake with cinnamon. I had picked up some good Fall apples at the store and then had a small brainwave that I might throw in some blackberries, if I were lucky enough to find them, that is.
I called the Small dog from where she was snuffling around in the fuchsia hedge. She was willing. She ran after me as I bade H goodbye to climb over the fence at the end of our property line. Property line sounds terrific. It is only three quarters of an acre but still, property. Wild blue cornflowers were stunning. They were everywhere, upright and a sight for sore eyes. I don't think they have grown so well in all the years I have lived here noting growth and nature. I could have stopped there. Sat down beside them. Photographed the blue. Picked them. But I moved on into the briar in search of dessert.
The berries were sparse. I think I should have been content with the picking of two weeks ago and left it at that but I figured if I only had half a bowl it would add to the cake. There were some berries but they were, as usual, difficult to reach. I did my best, stretching and reaching into places most likely left untouched but I got, at best, half a kilo. On my way back to the house, as I climbed back over the fence, I landed into several inches of gunk. Dark mud squelched its way into my boots and socks and jeans. I screamed. H shouted, are you okay? All I could say, is oh, oh, oh. Small dog looked distraught. Paused her discovery. Eyed me with one feeble paw raised as in a question mark.
I showered then. Put all my clothes in the washing machine. And then, put on another pair of boots to walk down the road and into the bog with Small dog and the beagle and H and the berries were ripe and plentiful there and I found that I had nothing to put them into. I cursed my lack of insight. I should have known. Berries grow better where no footfall causes worry to growth.
But our walk was stunning. Worth the effort. The squelchy mud could have been a problem but we were well equipped in our high boots and even though the dogs were filthy from the weathered paths, they loved the jaunt up into the heather and across the old stone walls with the soft wind and the bay, stunning and we saw two herons flying overhead. Regal and fabulous. I held H's hand. I asked him if mine, my hands, felt coarse from all the work, the baking and the scrubbing and the picking and the pulling at weeds. He said, they did feel coarse, but that it was a nice kind of coarse, like bog grass sways or how heather can look vulnerable but when you try to pick it you are met with an unexpected strength. A stoic resistance. We kissed then. It was a fleeting kiss because the beagle saw something rustle and beckon him from the gorse bush but that kiss meant more than what romance is supposed to mean.
Because a kiss in the bog is like fine wine, crab salad, apple and blackberry cake with a dash of cinnamon, stone walls made of lace and muddy boots laden with real life and honest coarse hands are surely made for something. Something like this.