intake of summer

I am a big fan of rain. I have a memory of myself at age five, gearing up in my rain boots and rain coat, hanging an umbrella over my arm, making my way into our city yard—we were living in the Kensington district of Detroit then—all stipulations my mother put on me before going out into the rain shower. I can still remember the satisfaction that came from jumping into puddles; a sensory moment as crisp as biting into a fall apple or a luscious summer watermelon—it’s juices running in rivulets down chins and necks, declaring stickiness king.

I still feel that same way about puddles. And I am not ashamed to say that I still enjoy playing in mud, though these days that declaration is made respectable when one considers that most of this “play” takes place in our garden. Yesterday and today have been a dance for the senses, tactile exercises in weed pulling in soft, muddish soil; finger filching of blueberries between summer showers.

Last night I spent two hours pulling weeds. Weed pulling was one of those jobs which I hated as a child, but have grown into in my adult years. For whatever reason I find that I can clear my head of all the muddling factors of life and really focus on working problems out reasonably (I am not always a reasonable person,) when I am weeding. This is a fact which I am still trying to understand. What provides for this to happen? Is it the fresh air and sunshine that give my body extra vitamins which enhance clarity? Is it that in the presence of growing, changing life, the complicated dance of nature does not allow for anything but beauty to abound? Whatever the magic is that contributes to the calm I feel in the garden I am thankful for it. The time spent allowed me to keep clear the paths around my cucumber mounds, between the rows of beets and green onions and TSO’s corn—this was light work. The more difficult task lay in unearthing huge, deeply rooted weeds which I had let lie and behemoth-ize for weeks. There was a sense of satisfaction in tugging up the weeds whose root systems yanked handfuls of dirt and Asian beetles up as well. The very damp soil from a recent rain both hindered and aided my attempts and left me a very dirty gardener indeed. I was very pleased with myself, standing back to gaze upon my aerated, weed-less flower garden, which now spotlights not huge weeds, but rather my growing and gangling cosmos (the only flowers of the five I planted which took, this rainy summer).

This afternoon, after a very gloomy looking morning and a ten minute rain shower, I opened our front door to find Mummy Dearest, Big and Little Fish and E (another Farm child) picking blueberries on the knoll across the street from my house. I grabbed a bottle and started collecting too—how can you not get swept away by berry picking? In no time I had gathered 4 cups of berries, aiding the kids and Mummy in sweeping the bushes and leaving behind mostly white, ripening berries in the place of the fat, slightly tart berries which had been on the bushes upon our arrival.

Moments like I’ve experienced yesterday and today make me grateful again—thankful for this great community, for the moments of sheer beauty which can be found in nature; thankful for the green, dressed mountains to gaze out at while berry picking; thankful for these cool summer nights; thankful to share moments with friends who are my rural family. The nature all around has become a religion to me, the fields and mountains are my pews and altars where I praise God and find goodness in everything. Life is good.


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