After days of stepping out, even early, to mild or severe sauna conditions, the cold front has landed, and sitting on the porch, it’s actually cold. The refreshment feels too good to spend at once, and in the single hour I have free before heading to Kansas City to lead a writing workshop, I debate just sitting and shivering on the porch against taking a long walk, but I don’t even consider weeding the somewhat stunned and relieved gardens.
The flower gardens butted against most sides of this house have hit that point of no return early this summer: the moment when I look around and shrug rather than step into a banner year of chiggers and poison ivy. The sunflowers clamor to take over, starting innocently but if not pulled fast, turning into seven-foot aggressive giants within a few months. Some weed I’ve been pulling for years, always forgetting to wear gloves and always getting snagged by its thorns, is flexing its muscle. Then there’s the insidious Bermuda grass, transplanted in with an innocent lamb’s ear a decade ago, and always threading itself deep and wide in infinite patterns where it shouldn’t be.
No matter. I’m watching the lotus and osage orange trees tremble slightly, the falling twist up of a butterfly, the pale blue between the cedar, everything suspended in the cool air. It won’t last, but it’s here now.