Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Maryland Summer

If you grew up there, it's easy to take Eastern landscapes for granted. (I'm sure the reverse is true). My mother, however, grew up in the intermountain west, where summers are hot and dry and the trees few and far between, so the East never ceased to amaze her, with its dense green forests and the way things grew so readily in her garden. Note the nod to the silent treatment. My mother's disregard typically ran more "hot" than "cold."

July 21, 1995

Today, I’ve been pushing the lawn sweeper over the lawn to collect two-day-old clippings. I didn’t go out gracefully. First, I shamed everybody who turned me town by cold disregard the past two days. When everyone left to play anyway with no apparent twinge of conscience, I finally went out myself. It is 92 degrees in the city today. The sun came up dull red this morning through heavy gray mists. Even at the peak of day, the sun is somewhat dimmed in the humid air. This is thunderstorm weather, and I don’t want the grass clippings to be washed into the lawn in matted clumps where they smother everything underneath.

I’ve been slogging along, wiping the salt out of my eyes with the back of my gloves, enjoying the green beauty of this place. The amazing tangle of vines, shrubs and trees that grow untended all around is especially beautiful this year because of heavy rain.

Katie and I have planted a small garden in back with vegetables at one end and wildflowers at the other. Every morning we check the garden to see what new surprises have bloomed back there--and what new damage has been done by the neighborhood rabbits and woodchuck. I weeded the spot carefully, pulling only those seedlings I knew for certain to be weeds. I think we have nourished a few weeds I didn’t recognize along with the flowers, but the results of the scattering of seeds are miraculous.

I don’t even know the names of the flowers blooming there--except for pink, orange and red poppies, black-eyed susans and coreopsis. There are miniature pink and yellow snapdraggons and nameless small white flowers. Cosmos and bachelor buttons seem to be there, and volunteer coriander is flowering everywhere, white and lacey looking. Butterflies are discovering our little spot, along with thumb-sized toads, crickets and dragonflies. A sleek gray bird has been eating the thorn-less blackberries at the vegetable end this afternoon.

Yesterday, a perfect day with blue sky, floating white clouds, light breezes and moderate warmth, Katie called me: “Mom, come quick! Stand right here under this sky in this back yard and tell me you want to move from this place! Can you imagine a better spot than this?” I couldn’t.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

She writes so descriptively! I love that!!!