All day I’ve waited for a storm. The forecast showed thunder and lightning today. Our new meadow garden at the top of the long hill, where the hose doesn’t reach, could use some water.
In the cool of morning, I went out in the front garden, where the hose does reach, and drenched the new plantings: Bananarama Lantana, Becky Shasta daisies, zinnias from seed, butterfly white Pentas, orange firecracker Cuphea, scarlet sage, purple sizzle sage, Franz Schubert phlox, Pink Showers guara, blazing stars, violet-flowered catmint and Russian sage and Beardtongue, Genovese basil, Italian parsley.
Out back, though. Out back is a bother. I can move the front hose back there, but it’s a slithering behemoth and a heavy pain to move. I can use the short hose that lives out back, but that requires spraying over a long distance to get to the new plantings — cone flowers, bee balm, luscious berry Lantana, Joe Pye weed. Instead, I thought, The storm will quench their thirst.
In the hot sun I filled pots with soil, soaked them with fresh water, and snipped cuttings from rue and yarrow to try to root them. I cut fresh growth with sharp scissors just below a leaf node and dipped the wound in rooting hormone. With the point of a pencil, I poked holes in the wet potted soil. I stuck the powdered stems in the dirt and tamped the soil to close the pencil dab.
The sky blackened over the mountains. The storm will water out back.
I took a cool shower, pulled on a sleeveless summer dress, painted my fingernails and toenails a pale pink, and pulled the windows down in case the storm blew through while I was out. I had a lunch date with my husband — falafel wraps and curly fries with cherry Coke — in downtown Blacksburg. We sat outside at a mesh wrought iron table and the wind blew our napkins into the street. We commiserated about the cats waking us up in the middle of the night, like our children did when they were babies. The table’s umbrella kept the sun out of our eyes, and I watched couples lunch at other restaurant tables along the sidewalk. My fingers were sticky after the baklava. Still no storm.
On my way home, I watched thunderheads build over the green mountains. The cloud tops bloomed an ominous gray with brilliant white highlights against the leaden depths behind them. Wind buffeted grasses on the hillsides, pressing swathes of thigh-high blades almost to the ground before they climbed up and got knocked down again. The hills undulated in grassy waves. Dirt and pollen gusted across the road in large yellow eddies, and bursts of wind thumped the side of the car.
Here it comes, I thought. Tree tops whipped in the wild wind. I drove over to the nursery to see if there was anything else our garden couldn’t live without. When I stepped out of the car, the blast was fresh and cool, and an elderly pair sat on a bench outside the shop watching it blow. Potted shoots bent in the breeze, and planted pots toppled off the outdoor tables with each gust. The light was dim; there was no sun at this point. I got back in the car and drove home, hoping to beat the rain.
Inside, I opened the windows and let the wind blow through the house. I photographed the cats while my coffee steeped, and settled into the lounge chair by the window, listening to thunder while I read The Bell Jar. I found myself getting more and more horizontal, until finally I was lying next to the cats, book on the floor, glasses in the window sill, napping.
When I woke, the world outside was yellow and bright. The driveway was dry. The mulch was dry. The sun shone happily. I hear wind — I hear it rustling oak leaves out back — but the sky is blue with white wisps of clouds.
I guess I need to go on out back and water.