I stumble into evening, into this playground of beauty. It is dusk and the garden is still buzzing and fluttering with pollinators. I feel great. I’ve reclaimed two major areas of weeds, and tamed the pathways between them. I worked inside in the heat of day, went out to a client in town, drove home and saw again the smoke from the roaring fires to the southeast. Yesterday, too, in the afternoon, under thick cloud cover, as I drove home I saw sandwiched between the low, grey sky and the dark ridge of horizon, a different, dark, curly billow, the roiling plume of this monstrous blaze. Today, the big fire more of an ominous smudge, and a smaller plume a little farther west. This beauty feels precarious.
I woke up this morning, after the longest day of the year yesterday, fourteen hours and fifty-nine minutes of daylight, and I thought:
and so it begins
our slow unyielding spin
A Saturday. A morning rounds day. The dogs agitate restlessly, subtly, for a W-A-L-K. But I can’t go yet. I must spend this morning among the wildly blooming flowers of such variety, and the infinite shades of green in the lush growing leaves. Winecups, Callirhoe, with pink salvia; palmer penstemon at its best. Time to pick up all the buckets, pails, bales, bags and hoses strewn about, and make this garden the showplace that it is.
Cloud cover rolls in as I’m photographing flowers with bugs and bees, sun in, sun out, the wind stirs and calms. Camera is best set aside. I have another day of roses, of pink penstemons; yellow and orange columbines, creamy panicles on the golden elder, aromatic lilac twigs of Larry’s eyebrow, purple penstemons will last at least a few more days. Gallardia, salvias pink and purple will last a long time. The roses will be gone overnight when they go, replaced by swelling green hips then ripe red ones. A bumblebee lands on a wild rose blossom… I cannot resist despite the fickle light, and move to the rosebush camera in hand.
Still and overcast, excellent for the firefighters throughout the state, and the west. Last night smoke from a new fire on the western slope, just north of I-70, layered the northwest sky purple and pink as the sun set. Today, after a calm morning with clouds intermittently obscuring the sun, the winds have picked up and thick grey clouds are trying to spit rain. One brutal long gust and one rolling thunder lay all my peace of mind to rest.
This time of year, the rare moments I get to breathe in the beauty of all that’s come in the garden, all that’s been done, all that’s in order, growing, blooming, thriving, are few and far between, crowded out by sights of what still needs doing. But I am at the threshold today of passing on to the sweetest part of the carnival ride through summer; the ratcheting crash of the roller coaster into full-on weed season has slowed to a slog uphill to equilibrium, and now what’s undone diminishes incrementally, while what’s done bursts into a profusion of blooms.
The bees have drawn me back into the garden, and the garden has drawn me back into connection with the bees. We are finding again right relationship. Bees weave me like a documenting thread through all that happens in this garden now: Each day I am eager to step outside with the camera, asking “Who’s on what today?”
I watched in fascination this morning as this wasp gnawed at the bases of the penstemon blooms, here apparently squirting nectar from the wound. Below, mandibles and tongue at work; and bottom, a honeybee takes advantage of the wounds, following peaceably behind the wasp and inserting her tongue into the gnawed corolla bases.
My happiest days are those when I get up, go outside, and start doing what I’m told. Who tells me? The garden? God? My intuition? Who is it that speaks to me through my own voice? The practice of Morning Rounds brings me deepening peace.