Wrinkles in the grass

"The air was cool and clear, with the autumnal sparkle that a north wind brings to the hills in early summer, and the night had been so still that the dew hung on everything, not as a lingering moisture, but in separate beads that glittered like diamonds on the ferns and grasses." (Summer, Edith Wharton, p. 43)

The hill was mowed and a bee was climbing up the stocks of grass, looking for clover flowers that are no longer there, right underneath our feet. She climbed one strand after another like an acrobat on a tight rope. Sometimes she fell off and disappeared into the grass, then reappeared again. Occasionally a long blade formed a bridge to another, the weight of her body tilting it to its side. I told my husband to hide his feet and he sat crossed legged on the towel.

When I was a child I stepped on a ribwort leaf on a puddle, not noticing the bee floating on it. It stung me and my foot swelled like a balloon and I cried. My parents returned home and found me still standing outside on the dirt road, crying. I remember soaking my foot in a tub of milk and wearing a slip-on shoe only on the good foot for days.

We retraced our steps to the field, to the wrinkles in the grass where we lay hours earlier. There was a single dandelion standing on the far left, outstretched towards the setting sun shining through its translucent globe. 

A fluffy white dog with beige ears climbed up the hill to us and I placed the book face down on my knees. She sniffed our feet and touched her wet nose to my hands, then climbed on the towel and wiggled her behind to sit beside me. The dog leaned against my thigh and felt warm and soft, her belly expanding and shrinking with its rapid breath. The owner followed up and approached us with apologetic comments about the dog, Peppy. She saw the book on my lap and said it's nice we are reading Edith Wharton on a day like this, and petting the dog on the top of her head, asked whether she is a fan too. 

With that weekend the summer has come to an end. There is a patch of light orange leaves on the tree across the parking lot. The tops of the leaves, closest to the sun, are red. I have thought of early fall as my favorite season for the longest time, but I've had a change of heart this summer. I loved this summer and all of its unbearably hot days and shattering thunderstorms. It felt like a season of extreme shifts, teaching me to appreciate all that is gentle. There is a sense of closure in the air now, the smell of wet earth and dust rising from the pavement.  

I'm breaking a wafer ice cream cone into smaller peaces and eating it without any ice cream because there isn't any left. My husband can overhear the crackle and proposes we head out to buy ice cream. I am still in summer mode and crave sweetness and the warmth of the August sun. 

There is so much more I planned to write about, but on that note I'll sign off and prepare to head outside to walk on the glistening sidewalks after this morning's drizzle.


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