Every summer around this time, a feeling of overwhelming defeat comes over me. It’s a feeling of surrender that is not particularly comfortable. It’s been slowly sneaking up on me, but I got it full blast this morning. I needed something from the barn, so I booted up and went. I hadn’t been down there in a while. As I walked through the calf-high weeds, I noticed the pond was now covered with a thick layer of bright green duckweed. If you let your eyes go out of focus while looking at it, you could mistake it for a neatly trimmed lawn.
The fruit trees, once looking so hopeful and full of fruit, are now a mess. The quince trees seem to have contracted dreaded fireblight and are dotted with rusty dead leaves; the profuse amount of fruit they had only a month ago are now scattered on the ground. The apple trees also have dropped a lot of the fruit, probably due to the dry spell we had in June. The few apples left seem stunted. And the plum’s brown rot has returned with a vengeance. Every plum is gone.
I tried to find some things to lift my spirits–there were the ramps flowers, like tiny white fireworks popping out of the green mix of ivy and jewelweed. There were the small frilly packages of hazelnuts growing out of leggy bushes. But all that didn’t quite carry me out of that feeling brought on by the poison ivy crawling every where, strident and imperious, the gray dogwood arching both into the pond and the lawn, the unstoppable new stand of hazel alders, and the grape vines snaking around absolutely everything.
I know I have to give in to it, but still I fight it. Every year. It feels so sinister, and I can almost hear it whispering to me. I’m not sure why I fight it. But once I give in, though hard at first, it stops being so threatening. In fact, once I stop trying to control it all and instead allow things to be as they are, I am quite calm once again.