Summer’s start

Fri, 06/25/2021 - 9:00am

It’s been a funny, grumbly day, thunder rumbling in the distance, sporadic rain, and a breeze that seems to come and go, setting me to opening and closing windows, or more accurately in June, adjusting their degree of openness.

It comes and goes, the sky turning a soft pink through a gentle rain as the sun sets. This is a beautiful time of year, still, the leaves of the trees in the yard lush despite battering winds earlier than usual, and from my doorway, where I can stand out of the drizzle, the yard and field refreshed and green, a few white horse jumps, unimaginable a few years ago, bright in the fading light.
Autumn barked at them almost daily for the longest time, as if every slight shift in the sun gave them a new sparkle and to her, a new possibility of life. It seems impossible then I recall her barking at a funky jump in the pond lot, makeshift in rather fine, New England use it up, make it do fashion, a white headboard disdained by both horse and dog. It had taken me a very long time to connect the two reactions of my dog but, clearly she does not take well to white, alien, inanimate and worst of all, mute things appearing in “her” fields.

But this is the dog who barks at fireworks, which I have ascertained were most recently being shot from a barge offshore. I could see them being shot, and, from here, they exploded low in the sky, beautiful and sharp with a minimal delay and not that great a boom. They were in a different place, I was sure, because they were mirrored in the pond behind my house, which I don’t recall ever having seen before. It seemed very unlikely there were other fireworks at the same time on the same night, so the sound of these must have somehow gone up into the sky and fallen down on the back side of Beacon Hill, reports of frightened animals seemed to increase proportionally to the distance from the operation. And I remember last year, or more likely the year before, reading of fireworks that were made to create a burst of color and light but not a booming that runs anywhere from intrusive to traumatizing to just disorienting, given the speed of sound.
She barks until she loses interest, be it in fireworks, or the boat steaming by or even a plane overhead, and most anything moving on the Mansion Road that catches her attention. But, generally, not the parcel delivery guy — perhaps she recognizes those Chewy boxes.

The sun, the late sun, softly pink over my trees, or flaming over the ocean, and everything in between, will remain far to the northwest, the evenings stretching toward nine for the first part of the summer proper. The solstice has come and gone for another year, but it will be a while, still, until the patch of morning sun on my floor moves markedly to solid east and longer, still, before it moves past my early vision, as it moves across the wall, marking the month, when it clears the horizon.

We need the rain, it is too early to need rain, it is an expectation of August, a sometimes annoyance of July. And this was summer rain, straight falling, that I long for in winter when, wind-driven, it rattles the windows.
Today, the breeze abates and the rain ceases to spatter on the glass, neither do I hear it on the overgrowth outside my window. My gauge of the weather is the coat of the dog who wanders in and out as she pleases in this season of open doors, then simply stands and looks at me, and I realize I should long ago have taught her to fetch her rub-rub towel, she knows where it is, beside the door. No, she walks by it then happily trots behind me, backtracking to it, while I mutter, once again, that her retriever is broken.
It is Race Week, and yesterday was foggy. I listened to a commentator on a radio station from Newport talking about the ‘round the island course of the day, surprised that it was so early in the week, and trusting the cool, white morning would wear off at least a bit, remembering owners one year talking of stationing members of their crew on the bow, hanging from it for fear of collision in the heavy fog. The New Harbor looked fuller than I had expected, but I had not been paying exacting attention to a start time and was sneaking glances at the sudden seasonality of the pond, the increase in vessels and the white tent on the far shore. It was clearing, there was a good breeze, I had not listened to any forecasts and it seem to bode better than some racing mornings of heavy, still, doldrum air.

Unless it is thick on Water Street, rolling around Rebecca, unless I cannot see up to the Manisses, unless the air makes my hair drip, it is out of mind. It was only later, in the afternoon, that someone associated with racers told me the race had been delayed until one, then called altogether due to the fog that I did not even notice once I was in town, away from long views that the fog had reasserted itself.

Still, I do remember sun at times and thinking it was clearing; it must have been worse off shore.

It was not horribly hot, my main concern from now until September.

I wonder what it was like last year. In the first year of writing this column I would go on and on about some weather pattern that seemed unusual only to flip back and find I’d been writing of the same “oddity” twelve months earlier. Now I go though photos, so much easier, and find a mini-video of Autumn in the green yard, under a leafy tree, the background fading to gray fog. Only at my urging does she trot off, barking at some sound or motion or both of wildlife out in the field.

And I used to make fun of my mother’s pictures of nothing.

There are dark skies and grasses going to seed and my dog with another towel. I think the last an indication that the whole world, natural or not, is cyclical, but it was probably another rub-rub towel, another June rain.