August Again

July disappeared beneath our feet. Despite drastic temperatures and humidity that dragged us down to lie on the barren floor with the dogs, talking to them through the thunder and lightning storms. There were so many. The dogs hid under the tables under us and half-smiled while we coaxed “it will be okay.” They woke us whimpering in the night to be told so. There were no fireworks attended though heard from afar, which also caused the dogs to crouch and need us.

I did not garden this summer as I promised myself. I had taken last summer off from the flower beds and vegetable garden to focus on nurturing sentences instead. Memorial Day weekend would be the weekend of planting but turned into a long week of hospital visits with my mother to sit with my father through all the tests and procedures. A team of specialists coordinating treatment. The first week done and then the hospital for a week again. My father, a soldier not for the Polish, British, or American army– but fighting for himself and us.

It was a tough month, July, and the garden beds are wild and tall with too many flox and black-eyed Susans, sea thistle and sea grass, coneflower and weeds. My Ciocia Helen,89, would cringe if she could see it, yet she wants me to get her from the convalescent home so she can help me. This was her first summer without her beautiful garden at her home.

I lost many hours and days and now turn the calendar page to shift into a higher gear and catch up with all that was left to settle to the ground that kept moving under me as I stayed in place, waiting with the dog for the storms to end, to walk into the rain pelting off the pavement and be cleansed. Somehow I managed a few days at the Jersey shore with dear friends and a daytrip to Rhode Island—to be soothed by the refrain of waves, the blues and greens, the smell of salt air, sand like sand in the hourglass slipping beneath our feet, soft but hot in the sun. I left cancer behind on those trips, distracted by the company of friends.

Now August again with a tinge of autumn in the air as the days shrink a bit in their hours of light, I must spend more time in the hammock, walking with the dog, with my loved ones. An assortment of birds chirp endlessly from 4am to hours after dark—in the pine trees behind my house. I will miss them this winter when the daylight shrinks and the snow falls when I will not have to worry about the lawn or trimming the hedges on the neighbor’s side, the wild forsythia. I will record the bird chatter and the waves to play back in winter when I need them.

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