August slips away, but we thankfully have had days now of real summer. At the beach one morning, as we started our walk, two men were boarding a yellow rowboat – a sort of specialized rowboat – shiny and narrow, a little like a scull, with two sets of oars – a burst of yellow on blue water.
A splendid August day – by evening Frances rolled from one warm paver to another when called to come in. We stood on the balcony in the dark, looking at stars and moon without shivering, and slept with all the windows open.
But mornings are best – the garden early on a still summer day is a delicious time – even the shade is warm – a time to be in the garden and file away these rare moments.
Watering has settled into a once a week routine – though a week ago rain did the job, unusual for August. And watering makes for time to survey the garden, this day a second flush of nepeta is coming on, so I cut back the spent ones finally – the bees continue to visit till the very last blossom is gone.
In the afternoon – silent and hot – the thermometer in the sun reads 100°, but the temperature in the solid shade of a building feels perfect. So quiet. Occasional twitter of tiny birds, so quiet I can hear madrona leaves, dry and crackly as they fall from branches.
Shades on the south side of the house block the sun’s heat. Too hot by far under the umbrella. Frances has taken to lying directly on the earth, in the shade of kale, wrapped around a growing tall Brussels sprouts.
Bees work scabiosa and nepeta. A hatch of little orange butterflies flutters about the lavatera. A hummingbird repeatedly visits crocosmia. A butterfly with orange-tipped wings settles on white yarrow.
This silent afternoon heat is different from the sweet morning when blossoms of stargazer lily perfumed the air. It’s the summer afternoon we’ve been waiting for all year – earth heated and air still, only the tiniest breeze. Clothes bake stiff on the line. It’s quiet because it is hot, and quiet because it’s too hot to fuss – too dry to transplant or plant. Grass grows dormant.
I’m happy sitting on the shaded north-facing deck, and the dinner wind gusts a few desultory little puffs with no edge. At 5 p.m. gull traffic overhead – shadows and wing flaps – commuters, heading along the bluff in pairs or trios or individuals.
I watched the rowboat pass below the bluff – heading back to North Beach. A good day to be in a yellow boat on a blue sea.