Tuesday, June 26, 2012

High Summer

Sunday 6/24/12:

Could the sky have been any bluer today, the grass more lush, the trees clad in a more vibrant green?  I think not.  Having been blessed with the perfect mix of just enough rain, plenty of sun and warm temperatures, and the added blessing of a whole weekend of perfect weather, I am in summer nirvana.

I didn’t do anything dramatic this weekend, not even going to the beach, just two miles down the road.  Just didn’t feel like dealing with the summer crowds and the dog prohibitions.  (Ironically, I end up going to the beach more frequently during the very early spring and in the fall, when neither of these things are an issue.)

Nope.  Was content to stay on this little patch of this good earth, with my hands in the dirt for a good chunk of time.  My doglets enjoyed having me around, and when they weren’t chasing one another, assisted me (or so they thought) by digging.  They are terriers, after all!

Weeding was one of the big orders of the weekend.  Everything is growing so fast!  That includes the unintended as well as the intended. Over time, I have shied away from using the word “weed” because I have found good purpose for many of these plants.  But, unless I want my beds to look like total chaos, I do need to do something to keep the growth in control, and to ensure that the veggies themselves don’t get crowded out.  So after gathering some of these plants and saving them for drying and later use, I became more merciless, rationalizing that their contribution to the compost pile also serves a good purpose.

I spent a good many hours, in the sun, weeding.  I chuckled as I thought of the perfection I tried to attain in my gardens when we first moved to our home.  Everything had a place, and I worked so hard to keep everything in its place, just so.  However, as many beginning gardeners do, I planted flowers and other plants that had rather invasive properties or were avid self seeders.  I learned the hard way…

Eventually, the more invasive plants I got rid of, or kept contained in pots.  It was the self seeders that I developed a more relaxed attitude and greater appreciation for.  Lupine, coreopsis, black eyed susans (both wild and cultivated varieties), daisies, coneflowers, Johnny jump ups, Delphinium, foxglove, oregano…. All of these paint my personal landscape, and over time I have let the Goddess herself determine where they shall appear, year to year.

To me, the effect is more pleasing and natural, and I love the abundance of blooms where the plants have found the homes best suited to their growing needs.  Although I have learned the blessings of “letting go”, my husband sometimes chafes at the less manicured look.  Long ago we reached a truce on this.  His preference rules the gardens that face the street, and periodically he will clean them out himself, after giving me a chance to transplant what I wish.  However, the backyard is my domain; my favorite gardens are here, including what I call my Goddess Garden.  I keep these gardens weeded so that they have lovely eye appeal, but if my flowers aren’t in exactly the same spots year to year, I don’t sweat it.  I am only the gardener, the helper, not the Giver of Life.

The wonderful thing about this time of year is that the days are so long, I really feel I have accomplished something by the time dusk and mosquitoes drive me inside.  And even for those tasks yet undone, it’s easy to have faith that another long day in the sun is not far off.  We have passed the solstice, but it’s High Summer, and in the aftermath of this glorious day, I see no end in sight.  The feelings of the endless summers of my youth fill me once again. Even if this will only last a few short weeks before inevitable decrease in light comes, for now, the Sun rules.  I will revel in the natural abundance around me, and the optimism it brings to my soul.

We, like so many other families and individuals, have had many challenges thrown in our way these past few years.  “Challenges” almost seems too clean and kind a word; I only use it, because I know there are those who have faced far worse than my family has.  And I am grateful for the good fortune that has come to us, in fits and spurts, the last few months.  Even though the proverbial barbarians are still at the gates, at least, for now, I feel that more is possible than not.

May the High Summer illuminate your life with golden light, replacing darkness with hope, warmth and joy.

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