We had six full days of dry weather, the sun summer-high and fierce in the sky, though already I see how the days are shortening; when I awaken it is darker than it was just a two weeks ago, and soon enough it’ll be even darker than it is now. I don’t mind, really. There’s something about rising in the dark that makes the time feel stolen, as if my use of it will not count against the ticking clock of my day.
We finally got our first cut off the field, late this year by a month or more, as late as we’ve ever gotten first cut. Though not as late as some, for even now as I drive the backroads I pass unmowed fields, the grasses brown at the tops, long gone to seed. There’s going to be a shortage of dry hay this year, I think.
Then yesterday it rained again, steady and soaking and almost cold. I walked in the woods looking for chanterelles, for a time with Penny, then alone, finding none. All around me, the sounds of water – pattering against the protective canopy of the outstretched trees, running in small streams and rivulets down the land, splashing when I stepped into the small hollows where it had settled. And other sensations: The thighs of my work pants soon soaked through and thus heavy and tight against my skin, the drops that fall through the leaves to my face running down my cheeks. I lick them from the corners of my mouth and they taste just slightly of salt, the remnants of my labor in the hayfield, still present after two swims in the pond. Maybe next time I’ll use soap. I feel too the whorl of hair pasted against my forehead, breathe the fecund, deep-earth smell of the wetted forest.
Almost by accident I find my favorite ridge of rock, having arrived at from an unfamiliar angle, and I walk it length wise, balancing on its slippery spine until I reach its end. Then turn back and do it again.