Reckoning

Thu, 08/20/2020 - 5:00pm
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Last night I came home to find kindness on my doorstep, summer’s bounty in a basket of cherry tomatoes, topped by a gift of a bag of those homemade cookies filled with enough oats and raisins that they seem they have to be healthy, despite being cookies.

I opened the door to let the dog out and went inside and plopped tomatoes into my mouth, one by one, savoring their sunny sweetness, before venturing back outside into the good air, wondering at the amount of grass that had been cut short, way out into the north pasture. These Icelandic horses I am so fortunate to have as boarders, I have learned, can develop serious foot problems from eating too much green grass.

When they first came here, the north pasture was the north lot, the mowed swath down its center narrowing every year as brush encroached; it had not been grazed in some time and was turning wild in every bad way. The first day the horses were turned into the pig lot, the parcel to the west which for some inexplicable reason had not gone so feral so quickly, they were happy, acting as though they not had a proper feeding for months, acting the operative word.

They were brought back to their reality, and they stood by the gate, gazing back to that place of milk and honey from which they had been exiled. They stayed, rooted, looking with longing over the metal rail Jorden to the Promised Land.

They have a life, these animals, ridden off on great seaside adventures, tended daily by a core group and numerous enchanted visitors, they are treated with carrots and apples and the occasional peppermint, and they have a pasture tended for them.

There is new grass among the old but the roots of the old are very, very deep, and the mowing is not a regular occurrence, so the land has not been as painfully brown as regularly cut lawns I see around the island.

In mid-August a hint of cool always passes over us. I used to abhor it, that touch of fall, coupled by the days suddenly shorter once the sun starts setting before eight, but this year I celebrated, both the arrival of a night so cool I reached for the comforter, and the possibility of a summer’s end, although I have my doubts, this year being so very different.

Last night was good, if not quite as cool, it was comfortable, with that comforter tossed aside, again. My dreams are troubled, the bits I remember, pieces of the past and present merging, and never for the better outcome. Whatever I might have recalled beyond the vaguest details was pushed aside by a rumbling that grew louder and louder until I realized it was real, not just background of a troubled dream.

It was, of course, a thunderstorm in which we were totally immersed by the time I was truly awake, a crashing, flashing display of that would have been the Wrath of God had it not brought with it much needed rain. There was a time I slept through these storms, and wondered what people were talking about the next day, but I didn’t then sleep in a room with a pair of windows facing south, framing a bit of land and a lot of sky. On the radar it was directly over us, a blotch of angry red with a great field of green rain trailing behind it. Somehow, I reclaimed sleep before it ended, but I have always been better able to shut off external forces than silence my mind, filled with recriminations, and missteps, even the slightest magnified to nonsensical proportions in the darkness.

Still, it seemed a warning, the flashing lightning and reverberating thunder, then rain that truly did fall soft upon the fields like the rainbow after the flood, an admonishment followed by hope for a better tomorrow.

Today, I went outside to land awakened far more sweetly by the rain than I was by the storm, the cut grass and weeds and even bayberry twigs trying to make a comeback, all dormant late yesterday, but soaked, fed, filling the air with the unmistakable fragrance of summer mowing.

It gave me solace but no answers. I will be back in town, tomorrow, watching people ignore the stop sign, listening to mopeds drivers hooting as they cut off vehicles rounding Rebecca, and hearing the sound of the ambulance going through town.

And meeting a man on a bicycle asking for directions to the bluffs, then laughing at himself spotting the sign over across the street. He could go over Pilot Hill, I told him, but, looking at his narrow tires, added that it was a dirt road. No, he replied, he would stick to pavement. There are good, responsible, thinking people visiting, still.