Stripes and Shadows

It’s mid-July, and the cherries are finally coming ripe, but the sweet ones taste like pie cherries right now. The peas are lavish, prolific, and the strawberries promise a huge harvest in a few weeks, as do the pear, apples and plum. But the deer devoured my petunias, my rhubarb, and many of my vegetables. They clearly don’t like lavender or most of my herbs as they left them unscathed, but they gobble up greens and squash and green tomatoes, plants and all.

I am coming to the realization that this is the lake cabin in Maine made better. The temperature tonight is supposed to dip down into the forties, with a high tomorrow in the mid seventies. It will stay much the same for several days, so like Maine at this time of year. Canoeing and swimming are the only water sports we lack that are much enjoyed by me and the boys, but with the pond below, maybe we can figure that out, too. Here I have a good kitchen, gardens, hiking, wildflowers, abundant wildlife and so much more to compensate for any loss.

The sky is mostly clear with high smudges of white, but directly south of the cabin, three small gray clouds hang like dirty fingerprints on glass. They turn to purple chevrons as a fourth materializes slightly west of the others that is dark and streaked, which suggest that there is a very, very small, isolated rain shower somewhere south and west of here. And then they break ranks, scatter and disappear as another forms even farther south, and another one or even two farther west.

Far beneath them, the Palouse lies in stripes and shadows that my brain paints in the vivid greens of the season. Low westerly light highlights the contours, exaggerating their curves. For one flash the light captures and creates a terrain of color and texture, and then all goes to gray. The fields of lentils that extend beyond eyesight alongside the road here have at last flowered, seasoning the green with dancing white. The farmer with the big field nearest was out with his equipment, preparing to plow and seed, but the pheasants and ducks that have occupied the waterlogged roadside trench and low places in the fields have moved on. An oriole sang to me as I hiked the drive, and a hummingbird worried the feeder for long minutes. I’m glad they are back.

“Palouse Sunset Shower” by Bill Devlin is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

July 14, 2011

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