The end of August
...when the shade seems weaker, the ferns as brittle as old lace, the first dry leaves litter the stepping stones like scraps of old newspaper and the potted annuals have lost their vibrancy along with their high hopes. The deer have finally worked their way to the top of the backyard border having used the lush hosta as a salad bar. I’m at the kitchen sink looking out the window and can’t figure out what I am seeing. For years and years I have adorned each end of the big wooden swing frame that lies perpendicular to the house with two hanging baskets of impatiens. The far one looks odd. Did I forget to water it? I run outside and on closer inspection see that the tender flowers I had embedded and nurtured to bloom have been bitten down to the quick, ravaged like fingernails on a nervous hand. My heart rate goes up and any early morning neighbors hear inappropriate words. The only thing left is the dusty miller rising up from the center like a white flag of surrender on a pole. But days later, near the first of September, all impatiens have fully re-grown their foliage. Like a dry fountain that is turned back on, the basket flows with green again. Another victory in the garden. The waning of another summer is more acute when put up against the shine at the start of a new school year. This is the last year I will send a child off to public school, although I can continue to join the ranks as a teacher. I wonder if the impatiens can manage to re-bloom as well. They do - in red and white and fuchsia - they do indeed.