August 1st, 2010

hopper_summer_evening

Irrigating

Oddly flat, the August sky was a dull shade of blue this afternoon, and is growing duller as evening falls. I'll be glad when the darkness swallows the brown lawn and the dead roses and lets the stars appear. Both sky and ground will be better when the dessication has been obscured. Night alone will not change the air, though. It will remain arid and full of the scent of dry grass.

But I will change the air myself by watering the plants nearest the windows, which are open now that the heat is diminished. The summer stillness will be broken by the sound of trickling water, and the sourgrass, the peach tree, the gardenia bush, and the other plants will be able to gorge themselves on the rare liquid which has been horded from winter by the dams upstream. Some of that water will evaporate in the warm air and its vapor drift into the house, mitigating the dryness and bringing a damp, earthy aroma.

I'm always eager for nightfall in August. It is like a cool drink at the end of a long and exhausting hike, when you collapse on a hillside and gaze back at the path you've come. That's when you remember how good the journey really was, and how worth the discomfort. Here water redeems even the most torrid day and turns its memory sweet.



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