A Walk at Summer’s End

The morning cool drifts off and the day begins to heat up. Portland’s smoky haze moves back in, and everything droops. The Dog Days of summer once had to do with Greek and Roman astrology and the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. It was linked with heat, thunderstorms, lethargy, mad dogs, and bad luck. Those things may still happen, but mostly we think about summer’s hottest days, when in the worst of it, we just want to curl up on the cool floor and pant alongside the dogs.

Earlier this summer intense colors jumped out everywhere, hitting me over the head with ecstatic beauty. Now the colors are further and fewer between, and dusty greens, sometimes edged in brown, prevail.  I have to look carefully, down and around, in and deep.

In this last part of summer, nature lazily lies back, drooping in the heat, but there – she raises one glorified finger, stretches out a graceful toe, tongue out, panting, letting me know she’s still working, still fecund, still alive. Plants, both wild and cultivated, welcome and weedy, are finishing their flowering and have their marching orders; go forth and multiply, get seeds out into the wind before it’s too late, and make sure there’s a big showing next spring.


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