Monday, August 15, 2011

8.11 Perfect Day, Gracious Month





A spectacular morning in August, the most serene of months. It’s been raining much of the time over the last five days, heavily on a few nights, with occasional flashes of later summer brilliance. Now the thing is here for good, the polished gold of late summer, the serene well-tempered August light.
The earth needed the rain, so I can put aside for the time being the endless mid-summer debate over how much watering I need to do to make everybody happy.
Walking through the perennial beds in the morning shine, light breeze, perfect temperature, the layers of the green world fall into place.
The purple flowers on the butterfly bush look good, finally. The plants have a sleek, well-watered look, leaning against each other as if to make sure that everybody is standing straight, present and accounted for, doing their best for the good of the team.
They follow, one two three in a row, sometimes, though rarely, more, those golden gracious days of late summer.
For now it’s a beautiful day, an unbeatable day, in the season’s most graceful month. Forces that have nothing to do with my desire for new garden toys have done all the heavy lifting. Sun and earth and rain. The tilt of the earth’s axis. A few billion years of plant evolution. The bacteria that break down humus in the soil. The worms that wriggle through the most heavily cultivated patches of soil. The bees that crawl over the surfaces of the blooms, puzzling out the hidden elixirs.
The forces that have made my garden have made me too. As they have all of us. They have trained us to do such things as plant flowers, harvest tomatoes, scatter seed, eat fruit, poop seed, feed birds, spread more seed, sing praises.
That’s our role, finally, I sometimes think. We are needed to sing praises. Somebody has to pay attention. Somebody has to see and know and be conscious of beauty.
At day’s end a golden signboard from eternity hangs over the western sky, where the sun has been slipping out of our ken. It’s a piece of forever land, where we go when we– well, let us say when we’re ready to leave our current performance: the place where everything is explained.
We walk the neighborhood, beneath this perfect sky, on this perfect day, under this golden sky-capping palm from ever-ever land that turns each block into its own small village where folks sit on their porch, enjoying an evening from another century. (This last folkish detail requires some imagination.) Each aspect of earth below and sky above complete in itself, unruffled, at peace, composed. The perfect day turns time into forever.