A Sand County Almanac
This summer I re-discovered this wonderful book when I ran across a copy at a thrift store in Northern Virginia. My own copy long since loaned to someone, or perhaps given.....
It is an important book to read, at any age of Life, but, at this stage of my development, I am finding it soul-fulfilling and rather like meeting an old friend again, after all these years. An old friend who has discovered pieces of Life that I am just now getting to.....
He has been riding in this event every year since then. Sometimes I tag along, Collies in tow (not riding, only joining in the celebration....and worry....); sometimes our sons-in-law ride with him; sometimes he goes alone and makes new friends in the thronging, sweaty crowd of deranged (and later, after 100 miles, delirious) bicyclers from all over the country.
The first year he chose to do this, I went along justincase he needed someone to accompany him to the ER.....It's always good to have someone identify the body....
While he rode, well, of course, I went shopping. Thrift stores, garage sales, interesting grocery stores, and huge plant nurseries.
Remember. It is August. Always the fourth Saturday in August. In Texas. Everything is suffering in this heat. Dry heat. 100-degree heat.
Certainly nothing is blooming, and the plant nurseries are eager to unload any and all of their summer plants for pennies on the dollar. Please adopt these and take them to a Better Place where there is shade and water and cooler temperatures. Have Hope for prettier days next spring, where, if they survive, they will bless you with their blooms in the greening-up of April.
I always have Hope, especially where plants are concerned. Once released from the bonds of their plastic pots and tucked lovingly in the soil with a layer of leaf mulch, I can almost hear their sighs of relief and contentment. Their promises of Springtime blossoms and adding beauty to Eden......
Amid the brown and crunchy perennials gasping for life in the 100+ heat, enter this:
Garlic Chives. Blooming their little hearts out. Potbound and pleading for a good place in the solid earth. I planted them in the backyard. They have migrated to the front yard. I have shared and Shared them with many friends who love their garlic smell and their welcome blossoms when everything else has given up in the heat.
And every year, the fourth Saturday in August, they bloom. Their leaves grace our salads, and the flowers adorn our vases. I call them my Hotter'n Hell Flowers. And I pretend that we are still as young as we were 20+ years ago, as the Earth has turned round and round, and the bicycle wheels spun hundreds of miles.
So.....Reading Leopold's passage again......What does this marker Tell about me?
Mostly, I think, it speaks of the change of the seasons and the anticipated relief of the oppressive heat with the coming September. And of a 70-year-old man who continues to throw his leg over a bicycle and ride beyond his physical limit. And who brings me presents of coffee cups and cookie jars and Sonic coupons. Of Life. Life that continues with the Young and delights the Old. Of noticing. And appreciating. And always looking forward.