Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Fit of Pique

I have a problem with August.  Ugly flat dull light at noon, scorching mid-day heat, wilted hydrangeas.  Most of the day it's too hot to garden, but the weather is too good and the days too long to read and laze in bed.  In August I dip in and out of the pool, longing for a rainstorm to restore my garden and give me an excuse to finish my book.  In February I'll be rubbing my stiff cold fingers and trying to remember what it felt like to be hot - too hot.  Right now?  It's just baking and sweaty and grim and dusty and flat and hot and ugly.  Splash.

But then come the long lovely August evenings, with the mountain turning bronze, then peach, then violet fading to velvet as we finish dinner outside, lingering because the air is like silk on your skin, and it's too beautiful to be inside.  Feeling the dark cool the air, each breeze a few degrees cooler than the last, until finally the chill chases us inside.  

And the brisk mornings when, shivering, I grab my pruners and head for the garden, staying out until the sweat drips in my eyes and the lawn has disappeared under a pile of branches and weeds.  I know, I know, if I don’t put them in a bucket they’ll just spread their nasty seeds and come up in the lawn, but I’m on a tear.  Literally and figuratively.  I am one of those people who'd rather use the tool at hand than walk into the garage for the proper tool.  Same goes for the bucket.  So if I don't remember it when I slip out the door...maybe I could put a brightly colored garden tub just outside each door, or scatter them artfully thru the garden.  Nope, not possible.  There is a solution to every problem, but sometimes the solution (like a Jack Russell terrier for gophers) is worse than the disease.  So no plastic buckets will grace (or disgrace) my garden.

Speaking of summer, I have a bone to pick.  I know I make my share of grammatical errors, I’m working on it.  But some are so glaring - like fingernails on a chalkboard.  

To wit:  We are not in the throws of summer - those would be lightweight blankets.  Or baseballs.  We are in the throes.  Of summer.  

And the landscape is not baron.  That would be your second cousin twice removed, the Baron of Wastewater, or a name for a cut of beef.   Knowing your cousin's intellectual capacity, I realize it's sometimes hard to tell the difference.  But barren is a description of his mind, or his land.  And Baron is that title you hope to inherit.

And it’s not a fit of peak unless it’s altitude sickness.  Pique, people, please. 

I do love websight, tho.  It's what happens when you visit too many websites, for too long.  I picture the red-rimmed eyes of a computer geek at 3 a.m., or the bleary stare of someone still on Facebook at 2 a.m. 

August makes me cranky. (can you tell?!?) Too hot to plant.  Everything needs water, and wilts anyway when the temperature gets over a hundred.  Snails travel in packs.  Herds of squirrels romp on the roof and jump into the peach tree, pulling off almost ripe peaches and taking one bite out of each, then tossing them on the ground.  

Deer devastate.  Not me, because I'm fenced, but let one shoot grow thru the fence and it's nipped cleanly off.  Ground squirrels move half a yard of dirt per day. leaving craters in the lawn and sinkholes in the paths.

Rats.  Cats.  Raccoons.  Ah, the back to nature promise of the suburbs that was so appealing has its drawbacks.  Did I tell you about the one raccoon that would come thru the dog door into the garage at night?  He ate the fruit punch jelly beans I'd left in the pocket of my favorite cycling jacket.  Ate right thru the fabric, the little bastard.  Pissed me off big time.  I understand the snails: I water, they multiply and  eat my plants.  That's fair.  And the deer whose only natural predator is the automobile.  Rats with good PR, Wally calls them.  But my favorite jacket?  Was that necessary?  Now I block the dog door at night.

I do still love to garden, even with all its frustrations, but I can't give you one good reason why.  Maybe that's the definition of passion.  Or obsession.

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