Late Summer Light

late summer 4

compost bin shadows

The weather’s not very different from last month, but the light has changed. You can tell, even in the face of coronavirus time-fuzz, that summer is sliding gently into fall. The blueberry bushes sit leafy but fruitless inside their net cages. Soon I will take the nets off; there’s nothing left for the birds to loot. Tomatoes are rolling in, and every morning brings an armload of cosmos and zinnias to late summer 1bundle into the house for bouquets. The flowers mostly grow in their raised beds, but a few volunteers decorate random spots and edges of the garden. Volunteer cosmos: a lovely phrase.

In addition to Charlie, I’ve had a crew of bunnies trimming my lawn. I’m happy to see them eating clover instead of the flowers edging my deck. In early June there were three bunnies; now there’s just one. What has the summer done with them? Are they eating greener clover somewhere else? Bunnies are a prey species, making them a sort of clover for hawk, owl, and eagle. Everyone has to eat.

late summer 2

scented jasmine tobacco

I always thought animals knew what to eat by instinct, but the fawns have changed my mind. They wander through with their mamas and you’d think they would eat what their mamas are eating. Not exactly. I’ve seen them nibble my foxgloves and jasmine tobacco, both of which are poisonous, and neither of which a smart mama deer will touch. But lately they’ve been leaving the foxgloves and tobacco unmolested. This, I suppose, means they’ve learned something in their first summer on earth. Telling the good from the bad is a skill that comes with experience. I hope they didn’t get too sick learning it.



herb gardenCharlie came with his ride-on mower and cut my lawn yesterday. During the ban on yardwork my laissez-faire lawn got terribly uneven and lumpy looking, but Charlie has now smoothed it back into a semblance of suburban lawn. This is typically a contact-free event anyway – Charlie drives up in his truck, powers the mower across the yard, runs the trimmer, runs the blower, and off he goes. We like to chat if I’m outside, but in the interest of Social Distancing I’ll just wave for now.

Once Charlie’s finished I go back out. I stroll around most of the yard barefoot, but keep a pair of purple crocs by the backdoor for walking in the woods and garden where there’s mulch, too rough for bare feet. Doug has emptied the basement dehumidifier into a bucket and left it for me on the deck. I pour some of it into a watering can for the indoor plants, and distribute the rest to some of the potted deck plants. The begonias have recovered from their infestation and are leafing back out. The morning glories are halfway up their trellis. The weather has cooled, but the supposedly overheated petunia is still producing striped flowers.

I am isolated, insofar as all my concerts, operas, dinners out, bookstore cloudsbrowsing, lunches with friends, and visits with far-flung family are cancelled. But when I walk outside and see the lawn, the flowers, the garden, the trees, the sky, I feel the calm and satisfaction they have always brought me, huge, deep, and familiar, and other considerations fall away. Deep breaths. Yes, the world is still here. What a relief.

And of course I do have Doug for those hugs, lunches, and dinners.