Hasten, autumn. Bring your mellow yellows and your lowlights, your red leaves and blushing apples fallen into piles on the side of the road. They're already falling, and the fields are tinted russet, and dry. It's okay. The yards, my yards, have defeated me: the flowers, the pots, the hanging baskets, the watering — as usual, things have frizzled into colorless, wilting beggars, laced with spiderwebs from chair to pot to post every morning. I can't keep up. I cry uncle. I'd like to put the hose away, drain it for good and sit on the deck in my nightgown, nursing a big cup of strong coffee while Amelia throws blueberries into the yard, listening to birds make plans in the golden-leaved morning light.
The house is just as bad. Outgrown clothes, piles of catalogs I'll never order from, sofa cushions blobbing in every direction, pillows on the floor, sand-covered shoes in a heap by the door, dusty succulents on my windowsills, toys piled into bookshelves, books stacked next to the bed, half-filled bottles of shampoo and mismatched conditioner, slivers of gooey soap in the dishes, balls of yarn tumbling off of tables, stacks of fabric waiting to be cut, mail that hasn't been sorted in weeks, everything pushed into the centers of tables and counters to keep it out of the reach of a little girl who carries her mini-chairs all over the house and (quietly, looking back) stands on them, and reaches, reaches. There are only so many places to put things one shouldn't touch, and the things of summer, the sunglasses and sunscreens and sandals and beach towels and beach chairs and beach balls and pails and shovels and cups and water bottles, have filled every nook. I'd be happy for a good thunderstorm, and a cleaning lady, and a trip to Goodwill.
Instead, we go 'side. To the waterside. Woodside. Riverside. Fieldside. At sunset, where, in the relief of honey light, with a big baby girl heavy in your arms, it's nothing but beautiful. Where it washes over you, and makes you cry. Because it's August 23. It's been an incredible summer. I don't want it to end.
***The green cottage is my mama's house.