Summer Edition

July third. It rained all night. By morning, I’m at the window, looking out at the strawberries that need harvesting, corn that needs more sun, spinach bolting because of too much sun. Clouds sink with the weight of water. A Wilson’s warbler stutters on one note.

Summer means I’m back at work as a seasonal biologist hiking off-trail in Olympic National Park to study plots where I return each year – familiar places in the middle of nowhere that I can navigate to without a map or compass. I know certain deer trails intimately, read old snags like road maps. Even though some of these routes take two hours to hike, I imagine I place my feet in the exact same spots as the previous years.

I’m 46 years and two days old today, wondering if aging is like hiking off-trail, returning to familiar places, over and over. The rain has stopped. And in the greenhouse, one tomato, the first of the year, is still hesitant to change; maybe in three or four days it will turn red and swell with juice, but for now it remains somewhere between green and ripe.

I open the window. Humid air washed clean from rains blows in. A Wilson’s warbler stutters on one note.

Patrick Loafman 

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