By noon it will be another late summer day. But for now, at six in the morning, the day hangs on an invisible hinge, swinging ever so gently back and forth between summer and autumn. A cool mist clings along a distant tree canopy. A wren calls as if he just arrived for the spring. Yet, crows call as if they are getting ready to leave for southern winter grounds.
Melons and squash grow large under their own canopy of small and large leaves. Intertwined, they put down stabilizing runners as they creep outward and away over the garden. As the sun rises and sheds better light on things, insects can be seen traveling in and out of flower blooms. It’s still too wet with dew, but in a few more hours butterflies will join them.
In contemplation of the garden’s life, we find a number of benefits come to mind. Not just the usual healthful produce, needed exercise, or the refreshing air and sunshine. No, there were other things happening around us and to us this summer. Sitting down next to the plot, getting an eye-full of growing plants that twist and turn, climb and crawl, gives one a sense of a creator who purposed immense variety for us.
Listening to a song bird that happens to be sitting within an arm’s length puts a whole new soundtrack on brainwaves that are used to hearing television, cell phones and traffic. It is an eye-to-eye experience that happens only when one slows down to a stop and blends in with a garden.
Bumble bees working in bean blossoms are too busy to notice that the slight swaying of the plant is not from a breeze but from a hand reaching and gently stroking their soft black bodies. Soft, too, is the velvet feel of green carrot leaves in early spring.
Goldfinches have shredded zinnia tops to feed on seeds. Some of those seeds dropped and are now growing as if it is early summer. Soon we’ll gather what brown, prickly seeds the finches have left and know that next year there will be bright colors along the fence again. Sitting quietly cutting the bloom heads, butterflies are oblivious to our presence. They even land on our clothes, our hands and yes, they have a light touch, a tickly little touch that brings a smile.
As the day grows towards noon, more summer than autumn is apparent. Tomatoes show up red and butternut squash show up a creamy light tan. Silver-spotted skippers inundate the yard as they cover deep purple and white butterfly bush spikes. Clematis has set seed, those swirling galaxy-shaped heads left from the petals of mid-summer.
A breeze starts up. It is refreshing, with just a hint of autumn. There is the invisible hinge again, the day swinging ever so gently. It is the kind of breeze you just want to lean into and soak up. Every drop of it. As if this is the last day of summer. The first day of autumn. Perhaps it is. It’s all in how you look at it.