A violent storm thundered through yesterday evening while I sizzled sausages for spaghetti. Oaks whipped leaf-laden branches, and the wind slammed rain sideways into the porch. My new phlox got a deep watering-in.
A cold front chased the storm and settled in after it was gone. In the dark night after the rain stopped, I heard an autumn wind. It doesn’t seem right to hear an autumn wind in early August, but accompanied by the dropping temperatures, that’s what it sounded like. Chilled Appalachian air swirled through the open window, and I listened to tall trees full of leaves ssssssh without cease.
This morning, I’m sitting by the front windows in long-pant, long-sleeved PJs. The blue sky is crisp and the sun shines a brilliant gold in the scrubbed air. We’re listening to piano sonatas by Mozart on the record player, the rattle of wind in tall tree tops, and the twitter of birds on the feeder. I smell green leaves, and rain drying, and the stone of mountains.
The cats are frisky in this change of air. They gallop through the house on pink padded paws, thump on the oak floor as they jump off of furniture, and race from open window to open window, wiggling their butts and swishing their tails at each bird that hops or flies or tweets.
In a few minutes, my daughter and I will run over to the library. When I sit under the dogwood tree and write, I get frustrated each time I see a butterfly on a zinnia, or chasing off a hummingbird, and I cannot call it by name. Writing should be precise — I’d rather a succinct name that captures “small black butterfly with black and white markings in kind of a triangle pattern, with a smudge of orange, and it’s wings are kind of frayed looking on the edges” than to have to write all that out. We live in a small town, and our library’s collection reflects that smallness, but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to find field guides to help me identify the creatures that visit our garden.
And later today? We sail. This wind should calm to a suitable speed for our sailboat by midday or early afternoon. The air will be clear, the sky a sparkling blue. We will take a picnic dinner with us — fried chicken maybe, and fruit — so we won’t have to rush back to shore for any reason. We’ve got new rigging on the boat, and a couple of practice trips under our belts. Today we can take our time, and spend as long as we like on the water, eating dinner on the water and sailing into sunset.