August 31, 2015

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday!  We spent the weekend with dear friends of ours that live near the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin (called the driftless region), and because I knew I would spend all day Saturday antiquing and bookshop browsing, I decided to leave my "big girl" camera at home.  We took the back roads home yesterday and my husband and I drove through mile after mile of breathtakingly beautiful farmland, shrouded in early morning mist.  

Early morning mist this morning in my backyard
I was so frustrated that I didn't have my camera with me, as we glimpsed farmhouses nestled into bluffs and cliffs, and row upon row of corn stood tall and saluted us as we drove by.  Stands of trees by the side of the road had hints of orange in the green leaves, reminding us that all good things must come to an end.  Good-bye, summer, and hello fall!

The poem below always reminds me of the time my dad came home after work and loaded us all into the family station wagon.  He had discovered a ditch filled with chokecherry trees out in the country, and out we all went to pick the chokecherries.  One of my girlfriends came along for the ride, and the two of us sang excerpts from the Sound of Music as we filled our buckets.  I think we substituted a few words here and there, because whenever I took a bite of the delicious chokecherry jam that Mother made I heard "the hills are alive, with the taste of chokecherries"!

Late August

by Marilyn Hacker

The weather is changing. The mountainous temperate
edges toward autumn
There’s a crowded sound in the rattling leaves of the fig
and I think of cities,
though the second fruit, ovarian, purple, splitting to
is ready for picking.
The brambles hedging pink villas banked up from the
burgeon with berries
ripening black, seeded, sweet, which the French don’t
       bother to gather,
but sometimes I do,
taking an extra plastic bag in my back pocket, coming
up from the market.
The bedsheets are grimy and wrinkled, but why should
       we haul
to the costly laundry
what we’d need for a couple of days? All our
touch on departure.

Because it's Monday and we need to start the week off right, I am sharing not one but two poems today!  When I peeked at my tomatoes this morning to my delight I found two ruby red ones, ready for sampling.  I think the poem below pairs well with today's forecast--so hot, breathless heat.  Thank goodness for air conditioning at work!

Cherry Tomatoes

by Anne Higgins

Suddenly it is August again, so hot,
breathless heat.
I sit on the ground
in the garden of Carmel,
picking ripe cherry tomatoes
and eating them.
They are so ripe that the skin is split,
so warm and sweet
from the attentions of the sun,
the juice bursts in my mouth,
an ecstatic taste,
and I feel that I am in the mouth of summer,
sloshing in the saliva of August.
Hummingbirds halo me there,
in the great green silence,
and my own bursting heart
splits me with life.

 from At the Year's Elbow

And while I was outside early this morning capturing the mist and the tomatoes, I couldn't resist another shot of the lovely blue morning glories.  Surely the poet must have been looking at morning glories when she wrote "my own bursting heart splits me with life".

My hope for today is that we all find something beautiful to enjoy---homemade jam slathered on warm toast, freshly picked tomatoes melting in our mouths, or a glimpse of heaven in our gardens.  Happy Monday!

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