Saturday, July 12, 2008
It's true Summer at last. Sunflowers and zinnias are blooming in my garden. Tomatoes are still just green ping-pong balls on the vine, but growing toward the time when we'll have so many tomato sandwiches, so much gazpacho, that we get sick of fresh warm tomatoes and give them away. The windows are open wide and I can hear my neighbor's lives. The insane-lawn-care man who lives in the big, fancy house across the street,and who we don't know, is watering his driveway. That's how he washes every last speck of dirt off it. I think his middle name is Sisyphus. My neighbor two doors down, who has a Mrs. Rochester-like schizophrenic wife we never see, is out tending his roses, which grow in happy, predictable perfection. Sometimes in the evening, I hear him and his wife in the back yard, under the rose bowers, talking. His voice is always tender and loving. Hers sometimes matches his, sometimes flies away into keening madness.
Our neighbors hear us too. Our autistic daughter goes out on the swing in the back yard and talks/sings to herself. "Hi angel," she croons. "You are my angel." I'm always so glad we don't cuss at her because, if we did, she'd be crooning obscenities instead. The teens go in and out in their whispering, giggling, independent orbit. In the cooling evening, I work on the front yard, while the youngest one plays up and down the sidewalk. Other neighbors emerge with their babies and toddlers. We chat and I fuss over the babies and beg to hold them.
I love Summer - the profligate messy abundance of it. I love that the walls and fences that contain our lives thin in Summer, allowing us to hear and see and know each other with more depth and compassion. (Or, in the case of the lawn-care man, with self-congratulatory eye rolling, because it's always fun to congratulate yourself every now and then.) But mostly I love the restful enforced boredom of these days when it's too hot to cook, too hot to go outside, too hot to do anything but lie on the sofa and read while the ceiling fan goes around and around.