AUGUST provides that sliding feeling, down into winter. This year it’s a sly slope. It’s hot, so hot, the climate changing, revving up like a global fireball. The afternoon heat is a drug that drags the eyelids shut; the body is heavy and limp, the brain cooked and confused. The garden is sad and lovely, the sedums happy, the bachelor buttons itchy, dry, gone to seed, stems cracking, bending, blown to the ground by the nuclear winds of the sun. The wild prickly pear made their big play back in June. At rest now, they snore behind their barbs, their fat pads safe from every agent except my shovel. Divide and conquer: jab at joints, pull drapes of hairy roots from the sand; dump in the trash can. Relinquish the yellow summer corpses to their destiny as nutrients for next year. The garden is lovely but sad. Summer slides away into a few paradisial hours of fall and then winter crashes down like scenery struck from a stage, the curtain dropped, color gone, the land colorless.
AUGUST is the time of weeds. A sci-fi end-of-the-world month, quiet beyond normal, normally quiet, our town is not much more than a roadside stop in the wilderness. There are two wildernesses here, two dimensions of The West. The desert is nature’s wild child, the other wilderness belongs to man. My house is barely a house, furnishing a hot shower, a cooking stove and electric lights. It’s an old lady camp, with laundry burning on the line, burnt dry, smelling of ozone: purified. The dog creates an animal rhythm in my house. It’s a barefoot house, both winter and summer. My feet love my house.