The peonies are fat and taut now, all along the northern wall of one side of my complex. They stretch and stretch toward the direct sun that hits the sidewalk a good foot from where they are; they leg out all over that sidewalk and yet don't seem to make it all the way into the light. Clusters of black ants pad all over their seams and creases.
Yesterday, walking to the post office with a new friend after my writing group, I saw a funeral procession: one of the village's fire trucks, bearing a steel-grey coffin, being followed on foot by a loose cluster of men, women, and children.
Tonight, all grades are in, all desktop files sorted and placed where they should be on my hard drive. The weather warms but doesn't yet reach heat; farmers plant beans across the road from their corn. I continue hunting out the various accoutrements of my life in England--the phone, the top-up card, the maps, the ways of being--so that they can make the trip with me when I go back at the end of the week; it's a short trip, a business trip, and initially it felt as though it would be coming a bit too close to the end of the semester for comfort. And yet it turns out that it's exactly the right time: time to spend a little while in a city I love, time to let my mind stretch toward that different kind of light, that different kind of companionship and solitude.