Last night I dreamed about my cat who was dying. It was my cat, but not my cat (in the ways that dreams work). She was Toby, but not Toby. She was curled into a ball on my chest and was shaking and heaving. And as much as I tried, I could not remember her name.
I woke to the sinus ache of dry hot air, another night of the “Santa Anas,” yesterday’s temps peaking at 104 according to my car’s thermometer. I immediately stepped outside to check the progress of the garden. The peas that I planted a few weeks ago are surviving the dryness, thanks to a regular dousing. The Siberian winter tomato varieties that we planted a few weeks ago are thriving. We’ve never planted winter tomatoes before, but it seemed worth a try and the horticulturist at our local nursery was insistent that they would set fruit. I wonder if they are as acclimated to dry desert winds as they are to the shortened days of the season. They already have several blossoms apiece.
I am barefoot in the garden though I probably should not be. We’re rebuilding our back house and the ground around the garden is covered in splinters of wood and screws and small sharp things. But I take my chances anyways, today.
I sit on the pavers in the sun, near the plants, and marvel that it’s fall and yet it’s hotter than the summer. Though this happens every year, it always feels strange and new when the dry winds blow.
My son moved home this week, for awhile. It’s a strange thing to have my kids around–it is so easy to share with them, everything. Yet I struggle with parenting them, as adults, never knowing how much to guide, how much to let them do for themselves. We went grocery shopping together yesterday afternoon and as he put the shopping cart away he deftly lifted the entire thing over the parking lot median, as if it was as light as a gallon of milk. I am jealous of his easy strength, and am reminded of my middle age. The time when I carried him on my hip feeling more than two dozen lifetimes ago.
For lunch he and I have a salad of spicy mesclun lettuce from the garden, picked at midday. The leaves are wilted and limp, but have so much flavor that they overpower the small grape tomatoes that I’ve added into the mix.
The house is full of the smells of fresh bread, as Stijn is baking his next round of sourdough. We watched Michael Pollan’s “Air” documentary a few days ago and ever since I have craved bread, remembering all of the dark and rich loaves of Scandinavia. Little else is as interesting to me right now, as that.