An interlude here, wherein, jetlagged, I reflect on the skies of England. They were John Constable skies: tumultuous clouds in one corner, rays of sunshine that my dead husband used to call the bread of heaven in another, illuminations and silver linings and cottony piles of white, and lowering, black masses from whence claps the thunder and pours the summer shower. I was not expecting the skies of England to be all painterly, to perform for me as they have apparently done since William and Dorothy Wordsworth pottered about the countryside with their pockets full of mutton pies, but the skies did perform, and I am still thinking about them, because they billowed alive over the built-up bricks and statuary and pomp and palaces that caused the subtitle BYGONE DAYS to float across my mind the whole time I was there.
Back in Montreal I have been in the allotment planting beets, spinach and black cabbage, and harvesting young spearmint and dandelion leaves to chop and stuff inside wholewheat dumplings. I confess to stealing four sticks of rhubarb, and making a wild, spicy chutney out of it, mixed with cranberries and raspberries and cinnamon and hot chili peppers and goodness knows what else I found among my spices. I felt very bad about pilfering those four sticks, but someone had neglected them: the plant was bolting and half hidden among the hay. I do not steal, normally, and I feel I must openly call the delicious chutney Stolen Rhubarb Chutney, so that the rhubarb angels might easily find me and whip me in my sleep, and I plan never to do it again.
Here is a piece of Constable and his skies. Now that I'm back in the New World I promise to stop writing words like "wherein" and "whence". In England, they still have signs that say things like "No parking here whilst visiting the ice cream shop."