Postcards, late mid-July

An elephant garlic from the garden, next to a one-cup measuring cup for scale. They are big and mild and fresh and make the dried up grocery store garlics seem like an entirely different food. I get about five of these each summer; each time I pull one from the ground it’s a giant tiny miracle I get to savor and consume.

This is a picture of four plants: one parsley, one thyme, and two tomato. I stuck them in good dirt that gets a lot of sun, provided cages to support the tomatoes, and remembered to water somewhat regularly. That’s it. There’s a lesson there, for how to grow things–talents, children, love.

Sunday socially distanced picnic in the park. Sure, I have a back yard. I love the back yard. But there’s something about being alone together in the company of big trees that nourishes as much as salami and cheese and olives and wine. Something about the young woman, so small, sitting before those trees that will stand long after we have fallen. All the words we didn’t exchange that I can read in the curve of her back. Or perhaps that I’m writing upon it.

This dog. He is demanding almost constant contact with his humans. It is wearing on us, to be honest, but there are gifts here, too: forced rest, space to contemplate, time to prepare. Grace for the taking. Much of this experience of walking him to his end feels like a dress rehearsal for a play not yet written. Love is a verb.

My girl, with her dog and her love. He is on the phone, half-way around the world, ten time zones away, sleeping with the bear she sent him. Every single thing in this photo cracks a different part of my heart, fissures that spread and branch and intersect. It will likely be years before I can write anything substantial about this summer’s tectonic shifts. Maybe I never will. Time is no longer infinite.

Late afternoon swing in the hammock on a sweltering day. Things could be better, but they could also be worse. When they are, I’ll bring up this photo and remember the mid-summer day of relentless heat, children running through sprinklers, ice cream sandwiches and lemonade, sweat trickling beneath my shirt, hellos and good-byes with no hugs, and this quiet moment in the shade minutes before surrendering to sleep.

5 thoughts on “Postcards, late mid-July

  1. Marian says:

    So much loveliness in these postcards, Rita. I imagine it’s been bittersweet having your daughter with you during this time of waiting. My older son had been home since early April, but last weekend he moved to Toronto, well before the time he actually had to move. I completely understood his desperation to leave, even while I was feeling almost equally desperate to have him stay. (This week has been filled with cleaning, purging, and organizing, which is therapy for me.)

    • Rita says:

      “Bittersweet” is probably a good word for it. I am so thankful for this time, an unexpected gift. But it has not all been easy, and I feel like I’m constantly trying to balance an emotional teeter-totter, especially when I let myself think ahead to the future, where she hopes to build a life half a world away from me. I hope the cleaning and organizing is helping. I know that emptiness that hangs between the walls of home after someone we love leaves it. It doesn’t matter how much we know they need to go or how happy we are for them to have what they want and need. Damn, but this business of loving and living is hard sometimes. Sending you some love.

  2. Kate says:

    I love these postcards, Rita. My favorite picture is the one of the picnic in the park. I love how the light flare frames the person (I’m assuming, Grace.).

    Your description of a hot summer day on a hammock sounds like summer.

    Hope the rest of your week is wonderful.

    • Rita says:

      The person in that picture is actually a stranger to me. It was a beautiful evening. I’m trying to imprint as many beautiful pictures as I can in myself. My way of being an ant getting ready for the coming winter.

      Hope you are having a wonderful week, as well.

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