Monday, July 02, 2018


More rain at night, more bugs in the morning. But the heat wave is receding and so if you pick your moments wisely -- for example in the early evening, when the sun is still with you but the air has cooled to utter perfection, and the trucks outside have stopped dumping dirt into the pits created by diggers digging sand and so all you hear is the song of birds and the faint sound of Ella Fitzgerald crooning nonstop by the fans that are trapping mosquitoes, and if you're sitting on the porch contemplating whether to open a Cremant de Loire and if yes, whether to pour a little Liqueur de Mure in it for a cold kir royale (or, in plain English -- a light fizzy white wine with a splash of blackberry liqueur) -- well then, the feeling is of the outdoors, the views are of flowers, the sounds are exquisite and the mood is just sublime.


In general, I can only say good things about this day. True, the morning walk to the barn was miserably buggy and so these few photos, taken for posterity, are a work of great sacrifice, since you cannot take photos and swat bugs at the same time, something must give. Ed tells me to venture out a little later: the bugs are at their worst in the early hours, but I remind him that the light in the garden is at its most splendid then. Oh the tradeoffs!


Venture out two hours later and the sunlight overwhelms the landscape. Still lovely, but not as subtle...

(the Big Bed...)


(the Front Bed...)


The noise of the digging and hauling starts very very early, so there's no point in contemplating whether breakfast on the porch is a good idea. It isn't. We eat in the kitchen.


And then, because the young family has plans for the early day hours, I find myself with a little extra time on my hands. I suggest tennis.

In many ways, this is really a dumb idea. By the time we set out (11:30), the sun is hot. I mean, not record setting hot, but summertime hot. Is it worth it?

Yes it is. It's our first game of the season! Only the coming of grandkids can explain this great delay in our venture out to the hidden and somewhat disheveled courtyard among a thicket of tall white pines.

We play for a long time. It's so quiet there! The bugs are minimal, the game is good. I even try for a time release photo, just to remember how grand it was for us to be out there playing again.'


Afternoon. I pick up Snowdrop.

It is a perfect day to give the pool another try. In thinking about it, I realized why our first pool outing this year was such a bust. Last year, Snowdrop's school day ended at 12:15. I would pick up a tired two year old. I'd revive her with a snack, we'd stroll through the neighborhood and then promptly at 1, we would head for the pool. It opened its doors then and as season pass holders, we'd beat the lines and enter an oasis of calm. Oh, within the half hour, the pool would fill with bus loads of summer kids, with families and grandparents, with anyone and everyone seeking a cool spot in a hot city. But by then, Snowdrop would be immersed and happy.

This year, the little girl ends her school day at 2:30. When we arrived at the pool for her first swimming adventure of the summer, it was packed. It was loud. It was hot. It was like Coney Island on the Fourth of July only in tighter quarters and with no hot dogs or ice cream cones. I assumed she'd be excited and so I took her straight to her last year's favorite deep water spots. Five minutes into it she asked to leave.

Today, I told her we needed to cool off. That we just need to wet our toes, sit down and maybe I would tell her a story about the pink cat with the green ears (she's been asking for it for a few days now). And still she protests: Can't we go to the playground?
No, dearest girl, the swings are too hot, the slides are too hot. Let's get our toes wet.

We find a quiet corner at the pool. This in itself is tough: all of humanity is at Madison's community swimming pool on these hot hot days. Young mom screaming at her kids, older woman doing repeat bellyflops into the water, babies squealing, gangs of kids testing their splashing prowess, but yes, we find a quiet corner.

And slowly, she relaxes and rediscovers the joy of being at a pool on a sunny summer day.



We crawl and splash and roll and jump and July begins to feel quite special after all.

Later, much much later, as I finish a text message (I never type with thumbs), Ed brings stuffies to the table so they can watch. I grin, he takes the photo.


Yeah, July is uniquely special. Bugs, pools, lilies and all.