The heat wave is over. For a week or more now we have been fighting with hose and sprinkler as if to put out a fire, hoping it will be enough to keep roots from drying and leaves from wilting. At last, with the sounds of thunder approaching, I can rest from the constant battle with the weather.
It sneaks up on me, every year: one day I am covering seedlings with old sheets, mulling over seeds, agonizing over planting dates and frosts. Then for a few minutes in June I am distracted—why does everything happen in June? And when I turn around again it is July and the garden is in full force all around me.
Last week I harvested more strawberries than I knew what to do with. My mother and I made a pie, far too sweet without rhubarb. I am harvesting lavender buds for tea and crafts, and garlic scapes for cooking. There was more spinach than we could eat, and lettuce by the bagful. With tomato plants reaching waist-height and roses bursting out like fireworks, I suddenly remember why I did this, why it was so important to me:
I grew a garden because if the rest of the year is going to be cold, then a heat wave is in order. We need the garden in the same way we need our weekends. The garden is summer break itself.
Now, between pulling weeds and watering, I can take a moment to pause. I can sit on the step and lean into the heat, and look out at the space I and my family worked to cultivate. There is something good here, a place and a time in which to rest, and this makes me profoundly grateful.