Monday, March 30, 2009
proclamation, fork, dragonfly
The spring is sprung.
Last Autumn, I broke the shaft of my old garden fork. Seeing some builders having a natter beside a skip, I asked their permission, and threw the useless pieces into the skip with a satisfying clatter. Today I buy a new fork and, using it as a cross between a zimmer frame and a walking stick, make my way home with it. I need it because the earth in the flower beds here has become compacted and needs to be loosened and aerated, and plants, that have proved themselves too greedy for space, need to be dug up and broken into more modest units.
In contrast with the Autumn, when the spade is used to turn over the soil in the vegetable garden , the fork is now wanted to break it up , and dig in compost in preparation for sowing. But there is another largely aesthetic reason for a fork. I like to leave it standing upright in a bed, supported by its tines. Sooner or later a bird, a blackbird or a robin, will use it as a perch, as pretty a sight as you ever did see.
Sometimes it is hard to fall for a word in a foreign language. Libellule, the French for dragonfly, which I come across this morning, is a case in point. The French, papillon for butterfly is less enchanting, and is certainly improved on by the Spanish mariposa, and even by the German Schmetterling.