The day after the Fourth of July was always a wee tad melancholy for me. The hot dogs, watermelon, firecrackers were over, and the rest of summer promised only broiling heat, steamy canning of garden produce, and the stocking up of shoes and notebooks for the coming school year. The Fourth nudged us and reminded us that not only was the summer now half over but so was the once new year.
This past June’s two weeks of intense heat made summer seem to arrive early. The grass has a crisp, yellowed look at the edges, and the less hearty flowers look limp and weary, falling down over the edges of their pots looking like wrinkled hosiery gathered at a grandmother’s ankles. I went out for a short drive to see if I could find pretty wildflowers. The pretty ones were on roads too dangerous to stop for photos. On country roads nearby, the ditches had been cut or sprayed to kill the unwanted weeds taking the bright wildflowers with them. What was left looked prematurely dry from the heat. I did see some of my favorite Queen Anne’s Lace, pretty and airy like the tatted edge on a great aunt’s hanky. Although considered a weed, I have always loved the way its head waved in a breeze and was a sign of summer just as May Apples were a signal of spring.