There’s something about this time — these late Summer days when the mornings are misty but the afternoons are still sunny and hot — that feels as if it will last forever. Maybe it’s because we want it to — to last forever, that is. We want the sun to backlight every single roadside plant with that incandescent light; we want all the apples to taste tart and sweet and to drip juices down our chins; we want the cicadas and the peepers to sing competing duets every night while the few, sad, bachelor lightening bugs desperately dance the dance that hasn’t managed yet to attract the ladies. We want to have to keep using up the summer squash and we want to pretend that the tomatoes will always taste this good.
When G/Son sits on my screen porch and says, “Nonna, now can I have green noodles?” I want to believe that I will always walk out to the deck, pick bursting basil leaves off shiny plants, come inside, and boil egg noodles while I make pesto in the blender. Tonight. The next night. The night after that. Next year. The year after that. The year before he goes to college. The night before he marries. The night before his wife gives birth. The night before I die. I will forever be the priestess of this ritual, my fingers smelling of my own garlic and basil; standing strong in the sun; feeding my family with the plants that I’ve planted, magicked, watered, and harvested as dusk comes in. Yet, each time, I show him how: you pick the basil and then put very some good olive oil in the blender first. Take some of the garlic you harvest on Bastille Day . . . .
When a squirrel begins to chuff in my maple tree and G/Son says, “I can see the squirrel that’s making that noise,” I want to have this discussion over several decades. Is there a cat in the yard? Can you see the fox? Has the muscular hawk landed again in the front oak tree? What IS that squirrel up to? What message should we take from his distress?
But what we old women know is: it won’t. This late Summer, golden as it is, won’t last forever. Winter, as the Starks say, is coming. Oh, it won’t come tomorrow. Tomorrow will be alike enough to today — misty in the morning, sunny in the afternoon, G/Son rummaging through my bookshelves for something to read, pesto and corn on the cob on the screen porch, a little boy asleep in my car on the way to baseball practice — that I can continue to believe, for a moment at least, that this is permanent.
I’m old enough that I can lie to myself, believe the lie, know that I’m lying, and understand the truth beneath knowing that the lie is the truth.
May it be so for you.
Picture (of the source of the Potomac) by the blogger. If you copy, please link back.