Sunday, August 5, 2007

Observations During a Drought

In the current drought -- now about 3 weeks long -- my cherry-tomato plants are sick. Tree leaves are drooping. Grass turns brown and bristly. Soil is dust. Everything moves to its own margins and stays there, just trying to live. Thunderstorms threaten but do not arrive.

It's the dog days of summer here, 71 degrees at dawn, 99 degrees at noon, ozone is at the "orange" level. Took my daily walk this morning from 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., before even having my coffee; I didn't want to waste what coolness there was before retreating into the air-conditioned house for the day.

While I walked -- my usual path is up a steep hill and back down -- I noticed in the margins of the road some blue chicory blooming. I love blue chicory so much that I once sat and cradled a bloom and studied it, then wrote a poem about it, sometime around 1988. This morning while I was walking I smiled at the ragged-edged chicory flowers, like asterisks at the margin of the road, loving them, and I thought, "Only when I write a poem about something have I really loved it enough."

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