This is the dry, crackly season in the foothills. It hasn’t rained since May, so grasses and even weeds have dried up. They are ensuring their future by sticking their seeds, via burrs, onto everything passing by: socks, shorts, shirts, shoes, gloves, skin, cats and dogs and every other critter.
The garden is not a green oasis in the midst of this. We rely on water from storage tanks, and it goes exclusively on the raised beds, where even the tomatoes and squashes and beans are surrounded by mounds of mulch of brown leaves and yellow straw.
The exciting news right now is that we are halfway through the dry season and less than halfway through our stored water! We have many more gallons this year than last thanks to two new tanks. So we are monitoring what we use and are curious to learn what might be available in another year. Maybe the future will hold some green, even in August.
At present, however, we are in the season we’re in and it has its own surprises and delights. A crepe myrtle in the middle of the garden is blooming for the first time. The clusters of white blossoms are drawing myriad bees of many types: big bumblebees and smaller honey bee-looking fellows and even smaller, fly-sized snappy dudes with orange vests and grey backs with black stripes. Those bees previously were enjoying the California poppies, and just as the poppies began to fade the crepe myrtle blossomed.
A big sprawly squash down on the hillside is apparently being pollinated by bees and also by ants and by other flying bugs of all sizes. You have to look closely to catch the activity, and that is one of the gifts of this season. From a distance, the garden looks like not much is going on. All those work shifts of pollinators are invisible. But step close, kneel down, sit attentively, and Life presents its late-summer, early-autumn rhythms.
Come the first rain, we will rejoice. Come the first rain, there will instantly be little leaves and blades of green. But in this beige season, we’re invited to enter the quiet, and find that even here Life is actually quite busy living.