In the cool dusk of Sunday evening we sat late in our rocking chairs on the side porch.
The afterglow of a subdued pastel sunset cast a hint of apricot over the white walls of the lower farmhouse; fireflies flickered through the rough grass at the edges of the lane.
As darkness fell, cicadas began their rasping tunes from the trees beyond the retaining wall. Lightning flashed in the southern sky, but there was no sound of thunder.
"That storm is halfway to the Tennessee line," announced Jim, 'but the rain is headed this way."
A breeze stirred, the hummingbirds made a last visit to the feeders hanging at the edge of the porch.
Charlie-cat plodded up the steps, his shaggy coat a pale blur; he jumped into my lap, trod about, plumped down for a moment, bounced to the floor, complaining. Willis crouched on the walk, a grey shape in the pool of yellow light spilling through a living room window.
The high pitched bleating of goat kidlets reached us and we noted B's headlamp moving about near the stable as she settled the goats for the night.
A small wind stirred restlessly, sending an empty plastic flower pot skittering across the porch floor. The air cooled sharply and there was the scent of distant rain.
A few spatters of rain fell as Jim headed upstairs at 10. By the time I followed him nearly an hour later, rain was pounding on the roof.
I lay in bed, watching the occasional flash of lightning through the parted window curtains. A particularly heavy burst of rain brought me out of bed to investigate whether Jim had closed the west windows on either side of the hallway. He hadn't--and as I padded toward them I felt the fine mist of rain driven past billowing curtains.
Several cats followed anxiously at my heels as I made my round of inspection, trudged back with me to the big bed where the warmth of a shabby duvet offered comfort.
We woke Monday morning to a heavy grey dawn and the realization that we had overslept.
Sidewalk and steps were slick with water; so much rain had accumulated in the pot of zinnias that I had to tip it out to rescue them from drowning.
The sun broke through mid-morning, although banks of grey clouds loomed in the north.
This is a strange beginning to August in Kentucky. The stifling heat of other summers has visited us in short spells through July, rarely unbearable, though we've been grateful for the A/C units which keep the downstairs cool by day and the bedroom pleasant at night.
The garden has been unusually productive as there has been no prolonged time of intense heat or drought.
Along the lane and in the pastures late summer wildflowers are already in bloom.
Brown seedheads of Queen Anne's Lace tower above the yellow glow of goldenrod.
Short stems of Queen Anne's Lace have revived along the fence in the wake of Jim's lawn mower.
Goldenrod sprawls above a leaning pasture gate.
Joe Pye weed looms in the shade along the wooded hillside.
In a moist corner of the upper pasture--beyond the goats' browsing range--a mad tangle of Joe Pye weed, Queen Anne's lace, goldenrod.
Boneset stands tall against the dark treeline of the ridge.
Jewelweed glows from deep in the afternoon shadows.
Beneath the tulip poplar at the edge of the lane fallen leaves are an early harbinger of autumn.
Tomato plants have responded to the kindly balance of sun and rain, thus far resistant to the blight that usually spoils the crop.
It is the season for sharing and for 'putting up' the bounty of the garden, a time of kitchen counters laden with baskets and buckets of tomatoes, jars, kettles, all the satisfying untidiness of canning.
Life is busy--and I am content that it should be so.