lundi 31 août 2009

Measure twice, cut...



It's a gorgeous day. The kind that don't come often around here these days, but we have been exceptionally fortunate this year. First, a real winter; everyone asked, "Un vrai hiver pour une fois, peut-être on aura un vrai été cette fois-ci?" We waited. Summer broke clear and hot. We even went without rain without killing the crops around us, although things were getting pretty crispy in the garden right before I packed the Bimmer and headed for Dordogne. I spent two hours the evening before, in the near dark, watering copiously. It rained the 24th, maybe other days as well. You know why.

I watered for two hours the evening of the 21st.

Audouin came up to me sometime the week before he left for the Périgord with that look in his eye. The one that says, "Je t'ai cette fois-ci." Or, "This time I've got you."

"Oui?" I fear my irritation showed, as it usually does.

"T'as pas vu la plant là?" "There." That's his favorite way of referring to anything he has seen that I surely should have noticed and attended to, but neglected and let go to hell. Epic fail. I bit. You have to.

"Quelle plante où?" Which plant (mon amour, I said it all with my eyes) where.

"Là, sur la terrasse en bas, celle qui," here it came, the swipe of the knife, "est en train de mourir." Thrust. "Elle est, en fait, si tu me demandes, déjà morte." Dead. I and the plant. He was referring to a grapevine, the Chasselas Doré. It drops its leaves earlier than the others, actually.

"Elle est seche. Elle est en train de faire tomber ses feuilles dû à la secheresse et la chaleur. Elle n'est pas morte." I'm a Democrat. I don't know how to return the kill, other than to defend myself lamely and wait for events to prove me right. It could sprout leaves and he'd still say, "Tu vois, j'avais raison, si je ne l'avais pas vue, tu l'aurais laisser mourir."

As if I hadn't noticed. This, I let go. Like health care reform with teeth. It's best.

"Tu veux que je te le mettes ici pour que tu puisses mieux la surveiller?" Why not? Bring it on up here by the door, and then we can both watch it die. Together. That will be nice.

"Oui, bonne idée," is what I said. "Comme ça, je pourrais la voir de plus près. Mets-la un peu à l'ombre pour la proteger. Il y a des bourgeons de feuilles."

"Ils sont déjà morts," he pronounced, sure of himself and of my guilt. I let it drop.

I crunched all the dead leaves off, broke the twigs at the point where dry wood met green, and watered. Those dead leaf buds? They're opening.

He'd possibly rather it die to be right.

Then again, maybe not.
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