It feels like August, but it’s June. The cornflowers blow over the long grass bleached white with a sun pressing too close to the earth. It reached 111F in the south valley, 44C, at a time when dew should linger and rain still scatter into July.
Queen Anne’s lace, the flat white flowers of the wild carrot, bows down. I put a small bucket of water out on the hill for the wild things, changed the water each morning, draining the old out slowly over a squash planted outside the fence. There’s a lizard in the greenhouse between the pots of dill.
I give the deer mouse that lives under the deck a pea pod when I finish picking. I leave it the crack between the wall, the place she darts away and dives to safety when surprised during her foraging in the morning.
It’s a different sort of storm.
I stayed in my light lawn pajamas all day and read Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet beneath the heat pump register laboring to filter cool air from the wet cotton heat. The dog found it too hot to dig a hole to hide in and crept under the bed.
The book is nearly done. The manuscript is finished. The front matter, back matter, and cover design are final.
Everyone publishes a first novel.