Sunday in August

A cloudy day and misty evening punctuated by fat lazy raindrops has made this morning fresh and clean and fragrant with the scent of pine. The unrelenting August heat has been temporarily suspended and the day is shaking its shoulders to toss off the clenched fist of the parched earth. The neighborhood is stirring, too.

My neighbor, Gina, drops in to recount her first-of-the-month errands that took her from the bank to Walmart to the grocery store to the 99 cents store. “I had to wait to go to Walmart because there was a wedding on my soap opera I didn’t want to miss.”

She has watched the soap for nearly forty years and this day would mark the marriage of a couple who had wed and then divorced, and now many years later would be remarried. In an aside she adds “It’s a long and complicated story so I won’t go into it.”

In a rush of words she relates that the groom came up the aisle in a wheelchair but stood up to say his vows to the astonished delight of his old/new bride. “He had had an accident, you see, because he was texting on the phone while he was driving his car. So now he can’t walk. I learn all kinds of things. These stories are so educational!” she concludes gasping with admiration. I have to love her for her openness and sincerity.

Meanwhile, the lady and terrier who wear matching outfits wheel by rapidly, she on a mission perhaps from God while the aging Siamese cat follows in their wake. The little Japanese lady scampers on by slippered feet, bobbing head murmurs encouragement to the white Shih Tzu who stalls and stretches his neck to sniff at entrancing spots along the sidewalk.

The Russian couple who live upstairs descend, loaded down with pails and trowels and bags to tend their patch in the community garden. Sweetie Pie the cat bows her head with regal condescension to the “Kitty, kitty,” they coo as they stretch out their gnarled hands.

The old man with the baseball cap rides his bicycle swiftly past, his back straight and erect as a heron’s leg, his eyes forward as a new soldier’s gaze. Round and round he circles the drive, white knit chest pumping in and out as his legs piston up and down in time to a cadence heard only in his inner ear. Round and round, a one-horse carousel, he winds up the morning like a clockmaker.

The gentle delta breeze glides inland over ripening fields and drying reservoirs traveling northward after its night in the big city that lies south and west, a painted lady by the sea lapped by pacific shores known for their cosmopolitan tolerance. Turning this way and that the air pirouettes within the cerulean sky like a coquette showering kisses on a generous patron.

What heavy promises lay waiting now in August harvests near bursting from juices made in sun’s sugar rays. Soon, next week, or the week after, a snap will be heard as the sun spears the horizon and autumn signals its imminent arrival. Overhead nine Canadian geese honk on their way to a nearby pond.


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