Here is a miracle. You plant a seed in April. It grows underground for a week or even two and then a little green sprout pokes through the dirt. You water it and keep it warm, give it sun, protect it from late frosts, and it grows more. Pretty soon you have to string up mesh on posts to give it something to climb. It has curly little tendrils all over the plant that just latch onto anything they can reach and the plant climbs as surely as a cat on a roof, as sure as an eagle climbs the empty air. In June you start to see flowers and then pods! Out of nowhere these pods appear and almost right before your eyes they fatten with peas and when you can kind of hear them rattle inside you pick them. And they are the sweetest thing you have ever tasted. You don’t even cook them, usually, because you are too greedy and you eat them straight out of the shell. And you just can hardly believe that it has happened. No matter how many summers you plant your garden and tend it.
Summer brings so many miracles. The winter is so long and so often brown and dreary. Even when the sun shines, as it so often does, you grow so weary of week after week of below freezing temperatures at night, the dusty wind, the dry barren brown fields. You just can’t believe it was ever green or that it will ever be green again. Every flower bed looks like a wasteland. You have to use rocks for mulch because the bark kind just blows away, so your flower beds just look like rock piles all winter. And it seems like every single plant is dead, dead, dead.
Then it starts to warm up and almost immediately perennials poke their heads up in the bone-dry dirt. So you hope again, and start to water. You throw down some fertilizer and water some more. It freezes and the first growth curls up and browns in protest. It freezes again a week later. And always, just when you think it simply can’t freeze anymore, it does, two or three more times. But those plants. Those plants. They are so tough and persistent and they just keep growing. The dead leaves slough off and there is new growth and before you know it, the flowers are blooming in amazing successions of colors and shapes, all summer long.
The sunsets in summer defy description. You take pictures of them and when you look back you can scarcely believe it looked like that. And rainbows! Double and triple sometimes. “Out here the rainbows reach down to the ground. You can get inside the colors and dance around.” That is in a song I wrote. They do. You can see them end to end, right in your own field. There are magnificent thunderstorms, and lightning shows all night long. And the stars. You can see every single one up there. Every. Single. One.
And the whole time you are holding on for dear life to every moment of every day because so soon it will be all over and it will be fall. Which will also be beautiful, but a dying beautiful. There is something so splendid about the summer. It just makes you want to stop. And watch it go by. The days seem longer because you are paying attention better than you do at any other time. You just have to. It’s the greatest show on earth.