by Juliana Lightle
Summer: hot, occasionally humid, lazy. Last night I stayed up until 11, crawled into bed, and completed my usual ritual reading. My bedtime reading varies. Last night it was “Earth Justice”. This ritual includes my grandson when he stays with me. We lie there, side by side, encircled in quiet, closeness, and peace, reading.
I awaken late for me, seven, walk to the kitchen, plug in the coffee pot, listen to the beans grinding, amble back to bed, and meditate while the coffee perks. The semi-arid landscape where I live creates cool, refreshing mornings. I open up the doors, pour myself a cup of coffee, and walk outside in my nightgown, one of the advantages of country living. Coffee cup in hand, I turn on the spigot, water rushing into the two and one half-gallon, green bucket. I water the potted geraniums by the rock retaining wall, the thyme in the tall, brown, Mexican urn, the succulents in the two ancient pots reclaimed from someones abandoned building. Some animal, a deer, a bunny, eats a bite or two each night even though they reside less than six feet from my house.
My grandson sleeps late and soundly. I walk back into the house, check on him and surround his eight year old cafe-con-leche body with pillows and stuffed animals so he won’t fall out of bed. I refill my coffee cup and return to the morning watering ritual. It has not rained in nearly a month. My xeroscape flower and herb garden needs little water, but it does need some. While watering, I periodically check on my grandson, readjusting the pillows and stuffed animals. I do not want him to fall out of bed and hit his head on the grey cement floor.
A girlie girl, I like make-up and polished toes and nails. Make-up application follows the watering ritual. When my face looks like the me I prefer to see in the mirror, I walk to the barn and feed the horses, a summer treat, morning feedings. On winter workdays, they have to get by on once a day.
We eat breakfast, my grandson and I, hungry for a new day. He likes two eggs over easy. I eat yogurt or cereal. Our summer days are lazy days, filled with board games, reading, kids’ TV. We eat when we are hungry; we rarely notice the time.
Late in the evening cool, we head to the barn, feed, clean the runs, and scatter the manure over the crunchy, dry grass, waiting for the rains that will eventually return. Sometimes we also take a property walk as my grandson calls them, hiking the perimeter of my canyon country landscape, checking the fence, watching for wildlife, admiring the abundant wild flowers. When he was little, I had to help him cross the canyon. Now he runs ahead, all energy and life.
I love summer.
Juliana Lightle writes, raises horses, xeroscapes, sings, teaches and wanders the wild on a canyon rim in the Panhandle of Texas.