It’s the middle of July. We hear about a heat wave in the east, but for the present here in the west summer seems to have departed. It’s chilly out — the temperature is 58. The sky is gray. But my garden is full of flowers.
Some years are good for nasturtiums and this year they are going wild. The roses are slow, but they are showing promise. My front flower bed needs to be redone. That will be a lot of work.
Vegetables are growing. I have peas, cauliflower, beans, beets, tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash, lettuce and strawberries. So far we have eaten peas, beets, lettuce and strawberries.
I have been doing strenuous gardening — lawn mowing, weed eating. And a lot of watering because although the sun has disappeared there isn’t much rain. I guess it’s good for the old woman to exercise forgotten muscles.
I watch the progress of the bird families. This year I have very few finches at the feeder– just a few brilliant yellow and black gold finches and rosy pink house finches. The suet keeps the flickers coming, and I have a couple of flicker families.
The babies are now almost as big as their parents, but they still wait for their elders to feed on the suet and then they beg until they are fed.
And many woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers and pleated woodpeckers.
There are the starlings and grackles which I try to like — but it isn’t easy. They are ugly, quarrelsome birds. Of course, such judgments are made according to human values; I try to remember that those birds have as much right to be on earth as I do, and they probably do less damage.
The humming birds, tiny winged jewels, are a joy.
When I am out by the fence where the linaria grow in profusion (some people regard linaria as weeds, but I think they are beautiful, and they grow and prosper anywhere) I hear the soft whirr of the humming birds’ amazing wings as they dart and hover, sucking nectar from the purple flowers.
Sometimes 2 or 3 of them have miniature aerial wars that last a few seconds and then they rocket away in different directions.
Jerry has been feeling old and sad that it takes him so much longer now to get building done. He is constructing a woodshed and splitting wood for next winter. I think one should always have unfinished work. It would be a shame to get everything done and then just wait for the end to come.
Jerry spends time on the computer reading his favorite financial sites — The Financial Times, The Rubini Report and Naked Capitalism. He worries about the Euro. He thinks the Republicans are deliberately sabotaging the economy so they can blame Obama. At lunch while he eats his cup of fruit and sandwich he reads The Economist; this week’s issue seems to say he is right in thinking that.
These are the rhythms of our life together. Mealtimes, gardening, news, wine time in the afternoon, and then, after our walk with the poodles, we watch a lecture from the Teaching Company (the present course is on genetics) and I read aloud until Jerry gets sleepy (the present book is Queen Victoria by Cecil Woodham-Smith.)
The cadence is sedate; it’s appropriate to our age. But as clouds dim the summer sun, with the age comes the menace of declining health. Jerry’s brother Bert is having a lung biopsy today. A friend is with him — he wouldn’t hear of our coming over to eastern Washington for a little thing like a lung biopsy. But tomorrow we will go. I hope to be able to talk to a doctor.
This is Bert’s second biopsy. The one he had last week was negative, but they didn’t access the actual tumor, and his symptoms are worsening. He doesn’t sleep well and has to sit up to be able to breath. Jerry doesn’t say much, but I can see it affecting him. His brother, only a year and a half younger, has been a constant presence in his life.
We both wonder who will be next.