Summer Night

This is a first – writing in the evening after dinner, bare feet, windows open, sun still high in the sky over the so-still Strait. All day the water had a different look – softer, a barely rippled pale blue – and now a glow from the setting sun gilds the hills on the San Juans. Summer here on the bluff, began as scheduled, about three p.m. on July 5th.

On the Fourth of July, at Fort Worden for the Port Townsend Summer Band annual concert, people looked windblown and wore jackets, wool hats – and scarves! The next morning thick clouds and wind made me sorely tempted to turn the heat back on. But by late afternoon Frances lolled on warm pavers, and we sat outside to read under the wide-open yellow umbrella.

I was sure we would wake to clouds again – a not bad weather pattern of foggy, cloudy mornings and clearing afternoons – but sometimes a longing sets in to wake to sunshine. And today we did!

Now it is really hard to focus. Writing about Catalunya kept it alive while I began to do reentry chores and garden triage, and I managed to stall a few days wondering where to start. (And read a lot of Matthew Parris’s book “A Castle in Spain” – about the saving of L’Avenc, a ruined mansion on the Collsacabre cliffs – not a way to get my garden in shape but a great pleasure.)

And then Alaska friends came to stay – a really good gardener and her husband. Walking around with her I began to see plants in need of care. I stalled a little longer debating whether I’d do all the watering or all the deadheading, or work one bed completely at a time.

“Just do it” began to ring in my head – so I started in the front garden where the huge sambucus full of pink blooms nearly engulfs the birdbath, and flowers and beginnings of pods cover the snap peas on the tripod trellis. I pulled out forget-me-nots and too many feverfew, planted cosmos starts I’d helped along by growing in four inch pots, and cut back enough mint to reveal the piled up concrete edging and restore an illusion of control.

Wearing windbreaker and wool socks I worked my way through the rest of the garden in the reentry days –– deadheading in the courtyard and watering the fruit trees, admiring many small cherries and plums, and cheering on the 13 little apples on one columnar tree (two on the other).

And now tonight is a summer night. An orange disk of sun sinks toward a pink and orchid horizon, the sun’s reflection an orange path on the water. A summer night – I can go bed with the windows open and the shades up, read my book and watch the light fade over the islands – mango, cherry, and lemon burnishing the sea.

The twinkle lights on the courtyard fence come on – and little fishing boats and big cruise ships light up. The night is so still I can hear their engines.

1 thought on “Summer Night

  1. You perfectly captured our erratic but lovely PT summers. Just when I think I might truly wilt from the ‘heat’, in comes the fog and coolness. When I despair we might never really have HEAT, a few hot days make the coolness welcome.

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