Near sunset in the allotment the light is projected through the leaves of all the tender young lettuces. Some plants have already grown woody and crazy, like the snarls of onions with their frightening vigor all tangled and reaching as if to strangle you. But the illumined leaves of the young vegetables have a vivid brilliance that thrills me. I planted and watered and sniffed the scent of my gorgeous white rose, then stole a glance at every allotment on the south side of the keeper's hut. I love it when people plant unnecessary roses and marigolds, and I spend an extra few minutes admiring the tomato plants tied with ruby fabric to a wild assortment of stakes made out of ancient Sherwood and Power Pro hockey sticks. I stay til sunset silhouettes the Spanish steeple.
On my way home there is an extravagant procession honouring Maria Consolata at the beautiful Italian church on my corner. Police have blocked the road and Maria, lightbulbs crowning her head, stands holding the infant Jesus on a float decked in swags of white gauze and blue ribbon, caged in an ornate framework of gilt wood festooned with leaves and cherubs. Italian women line the steps, singing to Maria and waving their handkerchiefs at her. They are holding white lanterns and one drops her flame - it burns brighter on the sidewalk and she stomps on it with her silver sandal but it keeps burning bigger and brighter until a man stomps it out. Then the oldest men begin dismantling Maria's golden supports. They get screwdrivers out. Finally they embrace Maria and carry her off the float, up the stairs, and back into the church.