An Artist's Quest

Ode to Late Summer

The long light of the late August evening is shortening, my post dinner dog walk was a wee bit darker, the colors of the sunset more muted, peach turned to purple, as I stood upon the hill over looking the valley, fog that drags up the river each evening had stretched her arms closer than she had the night before leaving me wishing for a sweater.  The days are hot still, giving color to the tomatoes in the yard but for the most part it has been a very mild summer here at The Bishop’s Ranch.  My husband and I have had to declare the corn that we planted (a bit late I’ll admit)“decorative” since they have not manage to grow taller than 4 feet and at this point just add to the late summer ambiance of our yard.

Last week I was trying to hold on to just a bit of the lazy days of summer but there is no turning back this late summer tide, the bustle of the harvest is all around me and I must dive in.  Here in Northern California, school starts early, and my son along with all the rest of the counties children tromped of to school a week and a half ago.  The local apple festival was a few weeks back and the trees are bursting with apples and pears, and wine countries biggest bustle “the crush” has started in the vineyards.  Now is a time of great industry and productivity, after all these summer months of planting, and pruning, watering a waiting comes the object of all this commotion, the literal fruits of our labor.  There is no time to wait one must do something with this beautiful bounty or it is wasted.

I decided to embrace the hubbub around me with an Ode to Late Summer.  When we moved to this house 15 years ago we set up a corner of the house to be a rotating altar space.  I had such a space in my flat in San Francisco and wanted to dedicate a space here too.  But over the years the corner has lost it’s focus and become more of a curiosity corner, holding treasures and novelties, found birds’ nests and books propped open to favorite poems.  The corner lost its intentionality its sacredness.  So in all this bustle and buzz, hustle and hum of harvest I want to pause and dedicate a corner of my house to this moment, before I start the canning jars rattling in their hot water bath I will sip my coffee just a moment longer, let labors lounge and pay homage to the harvest.

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2 responses

  1. doug wade

    Thank you. It’s a beautiful corner.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:26 am

  2. Jane

    With no children at home, a month away in July and cooler than usual temperatures, I feel that my summer has just started. Yet Like Lisa, the fruits and colors are telling me we have in deed reached late summer according Mother Nature.

    In homage to this bounty I have spent all morning chopping fruits and vegetables for jams and chutneys. The cases of jam are now cooling and three large pots of chutney are sitting peacefully permeating the kitchen with their acid aroma. Tomorrow after they have rested overnight and each ingredient absorbed the flavors of its neighbor they will cook and overpower every space in the house – despite the attempts at containment with closed doors and extractor fan on full – with their spicy, vinegary enthusiasm.

    Over the next few weeks the bottom shelf of our cellar, the only part that I, rather than Nigel’s wine have been allocated(!), will become my altar to nature’s bounty. As wonderful as that is too me, and to me alone until its contents are consumed, I am thinking that does not seem adequate. I am inspired by your words Lisa to create a more public and communal altar somewhere else in the house. I want more than just the vinegar to permeate throughout our house. Hmm… I’ll let you know how that goes!

    Lisa, your abundant creativity always increases my harvest – thank you!

    August 26, 2011 at 1:38 pm

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