In August

roses2

For August, a checklist:

Buy roses, an odd number as the French do, rather than an American dozen–white roses, with a blush, to suit the bleached sky in the afternoon and the crumbs on the tablecloth. Cut the stems very short. Wipe the dark cobalt vase to place on the dining table. Fill the bowl with water each morning and sigh.

Water the monster red geranium, the one that managed to survive three winters, the one that spilled out and overwhelmed its large ceramic pot to litter petals on the deck that look like jam-stained rubies.

Check the Orthodox calendar to confirm the feast day of the Dormition of the Theotokos. I am not Orthodox, but the stores close in Athens and it would be difficult to find a taxi if I was there. It was yesterday.

Count the cantaloupes swelling on the vine. I tickled the yellow-starred blossoms with a twig because I didn’t trust the bees. They seemed distracted.

Make more refrigerator pickles, grate zucchini and salt it, squeeze out the water in a clean cotton rag. Bake muffins. Bake pastitsio. Grind handfuls of herbs from the garden with garlic, olive oil, anchovy, fresh lemon and blend in creme fraiche to drizzle on watermelon.

Listen for distant thunder.

Move the hanging fuchsia to the backyard; a doe crept up on the front porch early one morning and ate two-thirds of it. The dog warned me, but I stayed in bed.

Bundle up the wool Flokati rugs and lug them down to the local laundromat. (Laundromats are damp and dismal places, even with all the supposedly hopeful scents of detergent and fabric softener.)  Load a bag of quarters in three industrial-size machines, cold water only, and work the crossword puzzle in the free weekly newspaper while the machines spin. Lug the wet wool home again and flatten the rugs to dry in the sun for several days, turning as needed.

Let the young repair men inside to replace the tattered canvas of the awning. Though I tugged the monster geranium and its fellow potted roses and nastursiums  out of the way, the trailing petunia managed to be crushed underfoot.

Walk Ben to the park and loop down Walnut Lane to see the enormous house under construction. Let the workers pet Ben, but avoid the nice woman with the yellow Lab, because Ben is sketchy sometimes. Throw sticks for Mercy on the hill and let her greet the neighbor’s landscapers who arrive every Wednesday.

Wash the grime, the dust, the layers of cedar off my old pony because it’s hard to see out the windows when Mercy and I head down to the river. The car is 22 years old and I paid much more to have her rebuilt than her resale value, but she’s a trusty manual transmission and survived my son learning to drive and his powerslides into curbs, although she is missing two hubcaps and the right side mirror.

Strain the red currents that soaked in apple cider vinegar for a week and blend the juice with a thyme-infused simple syrup. Bottle the fruit shrub and tuck it away, satisfied with sampling the overfill.

Think of calling the chimney sweep, but sit on edge of the front porch and roll the white blossoms of summer savory between my fingers instead.

[A revised repost from August 2018]

Author: Kim K. McCrea

Kim K. McCrea worked as a System Analyst for 25 years building out the internet of things before returning to letters in 2017. Kim won Oregon Writers Colony 2018 essay competition, Treefort Wild West Writing Prize, and was awarded runner-up in Cutbank short prose contest; her work was short-listed for Proximity Magazine's Essay Prize and the Barry Lopez Creative Nonfiction Contest. Prose appears in Cutbank, Tishman Review, Cagibi, and Watershed Review. Kim lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she wrangles her Labrador in the rain. Unless otherwise credited, all photographs and images on this site are the original work of the author who retains all rights to their use .

6 thoughts on “In August”

  1. Dude, your life is a poem. Thanks for reminding us ours could be too. What make and model on the pony, please? Thanks for never failing to disappoint. No pressure. Sorry if I added an air of expectation to it but your writing is sublime, like when I pop on a trustworthy album and know that it’s going to lift and transport me. And make me want to celebrate that poem too….amen. All the Young Dudes just came on, for what it’s worth. And I think I called you Dude at the start of this. There, we’re connected. Bye for now…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My Dude, fine to hear from you, and many thanks. She’s a 1998 Subaru Legacy wagon, white (sort of, now she’s washed) with manual locks and windows that roll down with a crank not a button, so if a panhandler tries to hit me up on the passenger side, I can only shrug. We can outrun most anything from 3rd to 4th gear

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Beauty. Thank you…I had a 98 Volvo 740 wagon, red, which gave me some self-imagined street crew driving it around in this bubble of opulence in which we dwell now, called sammamish. The hydraulics went out on the lift gate mechanism so I used a trekking pole to prop it when I had to get in the back. The antenna broke off in a car wash. It had soul you know. Good leather interior. My folks car, towed across the country and handed to me by a guy missing a thumb, looped the key to me on a nub. Cars are living entities. Amen, lady. Be well.

        Liked by 2 people

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