August

The first weeks of August continue hot and humid. In the meadow a herd of dairy cows seek the shade of the trees that grow by the creek. Here and there in the fields and along the roadsides the first goldenrod begin to appear, splashes of deep yellow which hint at the blaze of color that will follow in the months to come. Elsewhere, Queen Anne’s lace, like bits of tattered wedding gown, cover the fields with delicate white, and the feathery fluffs of milkweed seeds burst from their pods to await the breezes.
In the woodland garden, where just a few months ago a great variety of  flowers bloomed, now only seed pods dry and ripen. The berry clusters of Solomon’s-seal are flush with pink, and the fruits of jack-in-the-pulpit, like nuggets of bright green jade, swell in their papery sheaths.
Much of the vegetable garden is finished now. The beds of earth have been turned and lie baking in the summer sun. Crickets hide in the shade of pumpkin leaves, creaking out their songs, and a startled grasshopper catapults itself to another blade of grass in the buzz of a late summer afternoon.
Everywhere there is abundance- in the herb garden, the vegetable garden, the field and the orchard. The pantry shelves are lined with glistening glass jars that are filled with colorful fruits and vegetables preserved for winter days ahead. There are quarts of red tomates, cucumbers in slices and spears, dark red beets, the yellow of corn, the orange of carrots- a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. The house is filled with delightful aromas as pickling spices are added to crocks of brine and exotic chutneys simmer on the stove.
But the time of abundance is drawing to a close. The fireflies of June and July have given way to katydids, whose scratchy calls to one another fill the evening air of August with the promise of frost in six weeks.

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