Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sweet season

“We are coming to the sweet season of the year, when the air is mild and the leaves pale, and lemon cakes are flavoured with lavender: egg custards, barely set, infused with a sprig of basil; elderflowers simmered in a sugar syrup and poured over halved strawberries.” 
—Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Our front steps, earlier this summer....

“These days are perfect. The clear untroubled light picks out each berry shimmering in a hedge. Each leaf of a tree, the sun behind it, hangs like a golden pear.”  
—Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Yesterday, the fading ginger-ale sun rested for a few moments in the cradle of an elm tree. Stazi Lu and I watched it from the backyard. We listened to a twilight robin sing it down, down, down into the dark center of the earth, where it would dream all night, until dawn. In that suspended moment, all else was quiet, waiting for and welcoming the darkness, the blessing of coolness. Last night and again tonight, there is a fine, fat moon waxing in the southwestern sky, glowy-gold as a nightlight. 

Today, another sticky day in a July of sticky days, I uncoiled the green garden hose and screwed on the spray nozzle with the seven different spray settings (JetSoakerMistShowerConeFullFlat), yanking it after me as I made a sweaty progress around all the gardens in our corner lot. 

I watered the perennial garden. (Shower!) The annual garden. (Shower!) Sprayed out the debris in the stone St. Francis basin and the rusted iron birdbath (Jet!) and refilled them (Full!) with clean, cool, clear water.

Even at 7:30pm, the sun still had enough flame power to make my skin prickle, so I watered myself now and again, as if I were a kind of lungwort in flip-flops. Shock of cold water, momentary balm, biting insects, followed by renewed prickliness. Spraying and scratching my collection of gnat and mosquito and fly welts. Ah, summer. 

Photos from Lyndale Open Street festival in Lyn-Lake, Minneapolis: Sun painting in a store window; street scenes from Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street; Midtown Greenway. 

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, fly welts. I picked up nearly 10 on my trip to Florida, a souvenir from chiggers. They are still red and itchy a month later.

    Your writing plus those quotations are breath-taking, delicious. Interestingly, I've been dreaming of corn and fruit fantasizing about cooking down black and blueberries, strawberries too, and pouring them all over corn bread pancakes with lots of whipped cream. It's due to the sweet season or pregnancy. Time will tell!


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