Bio Note: After the summer solstice, I always feel a little sadness as days get shorter. Thankfully, gardening is one of my great joys, and August in the beginning weeks is good in gardens. For more poems and information on my new chapbook, Checkered Mates, please visit triciaknoll.com
The Clock on August 1
Last night fireflies did not light up night so the crickets picked up the charge to move summer forward as if the first of the month isn’t just mortgage due, electric bill to pay – the dial did some kind of turn with hands made of sunsets and tides, the birth of a baby, and the first falls of acorns and hickory nuts.
When life comes down to eating slightly white raspberries, when aging purple ones dry up half off the drupelets or bird-plucked remnants hang jiggered and some canes wither into brown, I hardly recall solstice and what fresh coming on felt like. Birds made off with the last blueberries. Sure, the zucchini, onions, and bowling ball squash signal time goes fat in spades. Kale holds up its reliable head. This sun is hot enough to melt the frozen raspberries we picked and stored weeks ago. I’m not ready to eat them.
Plunging the tomato start into warmish soil is known as joy. Or prodding corn seed into hilled dirt deep enough that you hope the crows won’t tug them up. Imagining the wrinkles of beet seeds blobbing up into rubies. Every gardener has these moments with dirty knees, a shovel, a trowel, stretched patience of early summer. But this isn’t what brings me hope. Move along a month or more to when the straw mulch is sun-bleached and dirty, past the solstice when you’ve started to ache with days getting shorter and the long shadow of fall coming on. Now the beets want roasting. The corn has silk tassels to braid or maybe you ate every ear. The squash swell into lampshades or baseball bats. Knees remain dirty. The lift of the basket grows heavy and you appreciate shade in a new-sweat way. Then an eager leaf falls too soon, and you balance the weight of all you haven’t eaten or picked yet and what you have is harvest. Right now.
©2021 Tricia Knoll
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