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This morning I decided that from now on I’m going to wear my most expensive jeans in the studio. I pulled on my ratty sweater and went down the back stairs to the kitchen. I slipped on my rubber boots and opened the door to the garden. I’m grateful for the quiet clear morning, Fall feels both ominous and a relief. The air is crisp. Geese fly in formation overhead. I squat by the tufts of parsley, still sprouting, resting my metal bowl on the raised bed. Half the yard is covered in straw. Underneath are rows of garlic, equally spaced. A few weeks ago my lanky husband speared rows of holes in the ground with a rake handle. I waddled low to the ground behind him, my pockets full of papery garlic. I dropped cloves neatly in the holes and felt vaguely like an eastern European farmer. Next year, for the first time, we will be self-sufficient in this one crop, enough for a bulb a day. Ironically, we will have one fewer mouth at the table. I head into the kitchen and say to my kids, and not for the first time: "I can’t believe everyone isn’t desperate to spend their days painting". My son Max will happily spend the bulk of his days with the letter X. He adds it and multiplies it. There are brackets and symbols. He spends months trying to nail it down. Like painting, every day is different. Max, lays his hands firmly on my shoulders. He stares down the 18” into my eyes. He speaks slowly, but cheerfully. “This might astonish you. We-are-different PEOPLE!!”. He smiles. Even in our uglier moments this gosling will make me laugh. It would seem from his confidence and certainty that he is ready to fly. I chew on parsley and think about how much or how little he knows.There are all flavours. I head into the studio. What a wonderful day to paint a chair. Or to spend with the letter X.

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