Thursday, June 28, 2018

... of times

The mind generates cliches and overuses slogans so quickly that sometimes one forgets that any one day is far more complicated, with subtle twists and turns that add spice and beauty and horror and challenge that defy generalization. 

summertime when the living is easy...

When I sit down to write here, I fight the urge to put an overused caption to the post. But it's hard to resist! Today, I ignored the great urge to start with --  it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...

The machines outside roared, the bug invasion swelled, the sun beat down with such force and heat that it made me feel foolish for longing so hard for its summer appearance. My computer, the one that I just had fixed this week, redeveloped its sticky keys problem, the cheepers shook from the noise of the machines and the buzz of the mosquitoes, the weather alert bulletins warning of dangerous heat kept flooding my inbox. As if I didn't know!

On the other hand, the lilies are beginning to make their appearance, Ed says the bugs are down by 10% (!!), Snowdrop and I played "family," Sparrow loved a book about cats, and on the family photo page, I saw Primrose wear the sweetest little cloth maryjanes on the planet!

Of course, the mosquitoes still do make my head spin. They're intense at the farmette, but they are also significant in the neighborhood of Snowdrop's school. Walking with her to the park playground, I had to do a lot of hand waving to get them away from us.

And then, toward evening, Ed and I take the motorbike to our local market. There are just about a dozen farmers, growers, cheesemakers there, but it is really special, because we know them all. As I pick out some peas from one of my favorite stands, I comment on our mosquito problem. The farmer says -- whatever problem you have, ours is worse.

His farm, like the farmette, is near wetlands, though his farm is closer to the marshes where bugs thrive and multiply.
The mosquitoes come in clouds and right now we have the gnats and black flies too.
Will they stay all summer long?
So long as we have these crazy downpour days and then the hot humid weeks after. I don't know what's worse -- the bugs or the high heat. Both just drain you. Today, one of my field workers walked out at midday. He just couldn't take it anymore.
I look at him and his daughter - they have smiling faces and their produce is just so beautiful!

For me, it's a question of cleaning up my flower beds and getting the kids in and out of the car/farmhouse quickly so that the bugs don't have a chance to land. However miserable these tasks are when bugs are buzzing every which way, it surely is a small deal compared to working in the fields to bring these beautiful peas to my table.

And now for today's illustrations:

 (color in the garden!)

farmette liffe-2.jpg

(emerging here, there, and slowly everywhere...)

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(a happy crowd of day lilies!)

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(each ravishingly beautiful)

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(Breakfast inside. It's loud and hot on the porch. A friend stops by, we linger...)

farmette liffe-9.jpg

(Later, at Sparrow's home, he chills on my lap, the three cats chill on the floor...)


(Awake! Pensive...)


(Cats again, this time in book form. Interested!)


(And now a change of scene: with Snowdrop, after school, at the park. Lake closed for swimming. Water quality not good. Too hot, too wet, too everything. But swings? Exquisite!)


(Do you want to play "family"?)


(Even weedy flowers can be beautiful...)


(At the farmhouse: engaged in their back and forth chuckle.)


(A final exhale: with her doll house family.)


And my final exhale? A glass of rose, a few ginger snap cookies and a look back at a summer day, when the living was easy, except when it wasn't, though relatively speaking it was, and then some.