My dinner was eaten in solitude this evening. No one to ask, “What would you prefer?” No one to set the table for, other than myself. A small square plate, a napkin, fork, spoon and knife, a water glass and wine glass. If it hadn’t been so humid and still, I might have lit the beeswax candle in the hurricane lamp at the center of the table.
There was no one to interrupt the audio book I played as I prepared a salad, boiled water and then cooked the gluten free pasta, sautéed mushrooms, and then the minced garlic, baby spinach and a few shrimp. And as I sat down and began to eat, no one to mind my watching a bit more of the documentary about Joan Didion, whom I have yet to actually read. (Yes, that’s a sad fact, I know.)
Afterward, I washed pot and plate, put the salad and dressing back in the fridge, and slipped into my shoes waiting at the back door. The sun had already set, the grass was wet and heavy after the rain, like a green sea reaching to my knees in places. Cicadas and crickets, their brassy rhythmic choruses completely in sync, were the only sounds I heard. The air was stagnant; not a branch stirred.
This year, the farmer has planted corn all around the periphery of our land as well as in the fields across the road. We are walled in by corn, much taller than I am, crowding out the view of the lake and the lower fields, and making me feel a bit claustrophobic. That sounds silly, because the sky is so big and expressive, yet that’s how I feel all the same. The past two years the fields were sown with either soybeans or potatoes, so this is my first experience with the corn’s ominous presence.
I stood staring at the corn and the cloud-filled sky, took a few pictures, then trudged through the grass to see the garden. I must pick lettuce tomorrow; its red and green leaves looked luscious and ready to be eaten.
I walked to the fruit trees beyond and around to the gazebo with fairy lights twinkling, a touch of welcomed civilization amidst the dripping grass, the darkening trees, and the unrelenting army of corn.
After getting the mail, I went up the front steps, saying good evening to our two reading gargoyles, and in through the front door. Dorothy said it and it’s true: “There’s no place like home!” Home, a refuge against whatever my wild imagination conjured out of the settling darkness.