An Opening Up

I like the summer, I do. The garden thrives. Biomass! I don’t have to wear socks or break ice in the chicken’s water bucket. The water that’s been cooking in the hose for a couple of days smells of Earth. Staying up late, loving the lateness of the light. On Full Moon nights, I run out barefoot, gape at the world so strangely lit, like all is covered in ashes, the ashes of the fire of the sun, still burning in the breeze.

But, as Berry said, quoting William Butler Yeats:  “Things reveal themselves passing away.” Summer is now revealing itself, passing away, and revealed is also the complexity of my feelings for it.

For they are not entirely positive. I realize now that summer does and did again engender a claustrophobia in me. My town is “semi-rural,” neither suburban nor rural, neither “leafy streets” with kept lawns and trees, nor rolling fields and meadows. It is messy with trees and weeds, bushes and brambles along the streets, overgrowing large parts of people’s properties. So in summer, life actually darkens as the greenery grows upward and thickens. Above the dark green bowl, which grows higher ever year, the circle of blue narrows and shrinks. Sunrise and sunset are hints of color and light glimpsed through trees, if at all. There is no horizon. You can’t see the weather coming or going, and flocks of birds are more heard than seen.

A couple of days ago my friend A invited me to lunch and afterward she suggested we go for a stroll. She lives close to the only farm in Wayland. We walked up the long private lane, up the hill to the farmer’s house. The lane has stone walls, fences and a line of trees alongside it and, beyond those, rolling fields with cows. It’s a gentle climb and we kept our backs to the lowlands.  After saying hello to A’s friend who lives on top of the hill, she brought me around a small cluster of trees and there…

What breath, what sight! At my feet for miles and miles, the undulating blanket of trees in all their Fall colors. Mountains in the distant haze.

It was like my town, my place, opened. Fall had already been brightening it, leaf by falling leaf. But so slow. This now was the roof blown off! The proportions of sky and land were reversed. The land became a landscape:  “the Land”. The sky formed a dome above it, wide open but somehow protective, instead of endangered: Cosmos. To have seen it all, to know that it exists: a gift!

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