Big Dreamer and I lived for a while in a British city that I shall forever remember as a dark place. We lived in a series of terraced houses where light never seemed to touch the interior. It felt like it rained incessantly and when it didn’t rain the city was covered in a thick layer of low cloud. Because of its flatness it seemed to be impossible for me to raise my head and get any perspective. Where did the cloud end or did it go on eternally in every direction? On rare sunny days people piled out of their dark houses. The city had several great parks and every inch of grass would be covered in crowds. While it was lovely to see people enjoying themselves it made me feel strangely itchy. There was something awful about green spaces so utterly tamed by the trample of hundreds of human feet. The thing that has made me remember all this is that my hyacinths are flowering. In that city I could never get a hyacinth to flower. I’d dutifully put them in a dark cupboard and bring them out at the right time but no, just long green leaves. Maybe hyacinths are my canaries; indicators of a safe place to grow.

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