Summer is when my hands smell of basil and garlic which seem to go into every meal that I can reasonably put them in. Summer is when the air grows heavy with the wanting of rain every late afternoon. Summer is when I think of the river and the kids swinging out over it on the rope hanging from a cypress tree, and then dropping into that miracle of cold glory. Summer is when I think of Roseland with the mangos fat and sweet on the trees and the bamboo knocking its hollow song when the afternoon storm comes in. Summer is when I remember my summers at the beach with Lily and Jessie in our tiny cement apartment with its yard of rocks and sandspurs, the smell of sunscreen and Raspberry Crystal Light and shrimp and the tiny periwinkles we'd gather and I'd steam open to make a broth with that turned into a soup with potatoes and onions and celery and how we'd see the dolphins swimming south every morning and then back north every sunset and my friend Mary Lane visited me and we floated in the warm salty water, our bodies bare to the moon and the dunes. Summer is when there is always a jar or vase of zinnias in the hallway. Summer is when we try to figure out which watermelon is sweetest by thumping them all and really, having no idea what we're listening for. Summer is when the chickens devour whatever watermelon is left on the rinds, no matter the sweetness or not of the fruit. Summer is the wild grapes and the beauty berry and the field peas swelling with their riches. Summer is when the butterfly ginger blooms and when this one blooms, I think of Kathleen who grew everything and who gave this plant to me.
Summer is when the pine cone lilies appear and take their time to turn crimson.
Summer is when we keep our eyes on the Atlantic, the Gulf, wary and waiting for storms to form and move our way. Summer is when we think that fall will never come until one day we go outside and the air has changed the tiniest iota that no one who hasn't lived here for years and years would ever notice.
But we do.
A little dryer. And the light is a little sharper. And the breath comes a little more freely. And we know the hurricane lilies will be popping up soon like crazy enchanted things planted by crazy enchanted beings under a full moon.
That's what it's been like here today. I've done little besides a crossword and I've called Mary Lane because it is her birthday, and there may have been a little loving and a lot of remembering of people that my heart misses like an old dog misses a beloved companion but does not quite understand where they have gone.
My husband picked another basket of field peas and is sitting in his chair right now shelling them, watching a golf game on TV- the only sport that appears to be happening in this time of pandemic. He is happy.
I am happy.
Jack slept with me in the chair last night, all night. At first he lay beside me which was good but then he decided to lay on top of me which was not so good because he is heavy and his weight put some pressure on the ribs but I couldn't bear to shoo him away. He seems so relieved not to have fleas. I tried to sleep in the bed but after about twenty minutes I gave up. It still hurts some to try to bedsleep and the chair is still so comfortable.
That is how it is here in Lloyd today. The middle of August already. The air is still tonight. The hurricane lilies are biding their time until the house lights go down and the curtain is pulled and the stage is lit for their performance.
My hands smell of basil but soon they will smell of garlic too.
It is still summer.
beautiful, Ms Moon. I could close my eyes and feel, smell, taste and sense every single thing you described so beautifully. Wow. Just lovely writing, as alwaysReplyDelete
Big hug to you (gentle)
Thank you, Susan.Delete
very poetic. my summer post not so much, just whining about how hot and humid and still it is. my pink ginger is just about done, one or two buds still coming on and the yellow is starting to bloom though so far only two buds have formed.ReplyDelete
This is the first time ever, I think, that my yellow ginger has bloomed like this.Delete
I can write nice things about summer because I'm not going outside very much. If I did, there would be far more bitching about the heat. Trust me.
I was going to start with the post I missed last night, but you got me with butterfly ginger. It looks like a chorus of fairies, ready to dance through the window into the room. I bet they did.ReplyDelete
They DO look like fairies, don't they, Joanne? Little dancing fairies.Delete
Your description of magical Florida here is so rich and wild that reading felt like eating and I am awestruck and breathless. LoveReplyDelete
Oh, Rebecca. Blush, blush, blush.Delete
Love to you.
What a lyrical wonderful piece of writing. It's a poem. This is what you're doing with your life. A lot of people wish they could write like that.ReplyDelete
Boud- what a nice thing to say. Thank you!Delete
I want to be in that summer!ReplyDelete
Well, come on down! Probably not now though, huh?Delete
Second Boud's comment. You help us see what we would otherwise overlook. By noticing the richness of your own seemingly ordinary life you help us notice the richness of our own. "See it like Mary Moon does" could be a mantra...ReplyDelete
Sometimes I can see things that way. Sometimes not. Like all of us, I guess. But it's always there, always.Delete
What a beautiful and poetic description of summer!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Bonnie.Delete
Evocative writing, Ms. Moon. Loved it.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you liked it, Mary.Delete
If I blogged and did a post about summer it would probably be a complaint of how HOT it is. Your post is much nicer and I could picture everything. Loved the pictures to of plants/flowers I didn't know existed.ReplyDelete
We do have some pretty exotic plants around here. Not like they do in South Florida or the Caribbean, but a few.Delete
Your plant life is just wonderful and you seem to know how lucky you are. And the smell of garlic and basil (and coriander/cilantro - my absolute favourite), how wonderful is that!ReplyDelete
I have tried and tried to plant cilantro and it does well for a little while and then it bolts and goes to seed almost immediately. I need to try again this fall. Thank you for reminding me.Delete
My experience also. But:Delete
If you can catch and harvest the seed while it's big and green but before the fibrous husk forms it's a terrific spice/herb! Sort of between coriander and cilantro. And it freezes really well. I managed once perfectly and the next time I let it go a day too long. Still good but not as nice. I thought I was the only one who had noticed this but there was just an article in the NYTimes about it a week or so ago.
I love the butterfly ginger, and your description of your tiny beach apartment with rocks and sandspurs in the yard. I SWEAR I've stayed in the same place!ReplyDelete
On St. George?Delete
Well, that was just evocative and gorgeous. xoReplyDelete