Moving ladders

Day 2: smidgins of joy

Smidgins of joy may occur in dollops or in flowing liquid form.

I kept my eyes shut when I awoke today. A muted Sunday morning. No sounds. No birdsong. No passing cars, no passing people. No cockerels. Then I heard the thud of a plum falling on the ground in the back garden.

It reminded me that I needed to move the ladder to the front where another variety of plum is in fruit. I remained supine with my eyes closed, visualising myself carrying the ladder from one tree to the other.

The epitome of laziness came face to face with ordinary, everyday irony.

It was the irony that motivated me to get up. I still wear my cotton print wraps (sarongs) from Africa.

So, the usual happens on Sunday too. I put the kettle on to boil, and go outside in my wrap.

In Africa I would walk barefoot in my back garden, wearing my java print on mornings such as these. That’s ironic, for in Europe now, I have to wear something on my feet. The bush and weeds are more savage than anything I experienced on the wild continent.

I climb the ladder in my slippers. This constitutes a dollop of joy, equivalent to many smidgins. I shake the branch and a bucket’s worth of plums fall neatly into the net below.

I move the ladder halfway to the front. This is not because it is heavy. It is because it is important not to forget about the plum harvest in the net, which I drag out from underneath the tree. The net will also be going to the front garden.

I clean the plums and put them on the rack to dry. I carry the ladder the rest of the way and place it beneath the new tree in the front. I rinse the net with the hose pipe and leave it to dry on the driveway. That was a decidedly lazy, but unironic, thing to do.

Thematically relevant to this story is that I saw a grasshopper about two inches long near the baby frangipani tree. He was lazing in the sun, while ants scurried around frantically, carrying bits of dry grass to their new place of abode. Lazy grasshopper. Expansionist ants. Grasshopper will freeze its toes off in winter and starve. Ants will be fat and cuddly in communal bliss. This is the smidgin of joy they get for slaving away in the hot sun all summer.

Spaghetti squash

Smidgins of joy become too numerous to count when watering the garden with the hose pipe. It’s very hot and dry today. Before I came inside, I hosed myself down with the cool water. Barefoot, of course. And then I had a shower in the bathroom in the usual way.

©2019 Allison Wright

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