Rain lands heavy outside with the sound of a forest waterfall. Rainwater streams from gutters. Drops stipple the surface of our neighbor’s pool and rattle oak leaves with a patter like rain on a nylon tent.
Our windows are open again after several days with the house sealed up and the air conditioning on. On my weekday lunch breaks, I climb up on the high wooden table on our back deck to eat. The tabletop is flush with the railing, and the table sits in the corner of the deck; my husband sets plates of salmon and burgers on it when he grills in the evenings. At lunch, I sit on it and dangle my legs over the second story rail.
On last week’s lunch breaks I watched a monarch butterfly drift among the milkweeds I planted for their caterpillars. The occasional yellow or black swallowtail flitted up and down the beds. In May and early June, the butterflies seem to fly reconnoissance. I rarely see them stop to drink; they check the lay of the land, make note of the plants we have, then move on. In late June, they begin to linger. In July and August they drink deeply from cone flowers, shasta daisies, zinnias, milkweed. I watch them and photograph them; they’re so deep in their nectar, they barely notice me. Then they lay eggs on the host plants I planted for them: rue, dill, milkweed, spicebush. Our caterpillar nursery.
This is what I dream about all winter: summer dresses, warm sun on my back, and bucket hat on my head while I hang my feet 20 feet above green grass to watch butterflies. That time is finally here. During the week, on my lunch break, sweat drips down my back. Ice clinks in my water bottle. Insects whir. I love every second of it.
No sweat drips down my back right now. In fact, a cool breeze blows through the open window. I wear a red and blue flannel shirt to keep me warm. The grass has already begun to crisp after the dry week of heat, but our beds are full of color. I am amazed by how green the garden is when only a few weeks ago it was brown and bare. We’ve got plenty of cover for butterflies to shelter in from the rain; the beds are lush with green stems and broad leaves to hide among. And the flowers. The flowers! The flowers look like we flung a bag of skittles across the landscape: lemon yarrow crowns, grape salvia spikes, raspberry roses.
Unlike late fall and early winter, when rain depresses me, in the emerald green of almost-June, I am refreshed by it. The waterfall patter soothes me as I imagine the plants drinking it up.
Tomorrow, Monday, the sun will return, and with it, warmth. I’ll be back in short sleeves and bare feet. I already look forward to my lunch break, when I can sit outside and dangle my toes. I am in my season.