It’s official, summer is over. The garden is telling me so. Plump and bright is wasting into tattered yellow-green. What’s not yellowing is soil-colored and either brittle or lacy, like ancient and broken crochet. The sun is still brilliant most days, which are warm and often delicious. That was yesterday, one of those “most of everything” days with storybook sky, clean, perfectly heated air with a wonderful scent of roses (in my yard, not on that dim stretch of 35th street that serves as Macy’s service alley and is my conduit to the train that takes me home each evening).
I have an old friend, who is dying, and his spectacular life, while enjoyed by a relatively small circle of family and friends, reminds me of my garden. Yeah, I know–a well-worn analogy–but perfectly suitable to this humble reflection. I’m slow to accept the inevitable creep of autumn and the following cold. I remain furious that the wild beauty of my garden is fading. No. Not fading but violently tumbling back into the earth. The last flowers have dropped from Hemerocallis (daylily) and I view that as a personal insult.
Each spring bursts and blossoms and promises me all sorts of joys. Summer courts and conquers. My relationship with the outdoors will be over with the ripening of cool weather vegetables. I get cranky and hide indoors.
I don’t like the end of summer. I don’t want my friend to die. I hate that the Hosta leaves shred and the mint grows leggy and sparse. At this moment, I reject all attempts at making me see the good side of things. Yes, I have memories, yes the garden will set seed for a glorious next spring. Yes, yes, yes.
But that spent flower, still and tightly closed, lying next to the big grey pot on the side porch? It’s dead even though the sky is bright blue and the billowy white cloud puffs that show off the blue inspire daydreams of shapes, ships and poetry. That flower is done. And I mourn it