Lightning on the other side of the Divide where the clouds are steel grey. A blinding bolt in the dark sky. A mirror image remains for a moment even through closed lids. Holding still, I wait and count and listen for the inevitable thunder. Further away than I would have guessed.
The sound reverberates in a broad booming circle about us, bounding from the hard face of the mountains all around as we stand there in the center, protected in our little fenced yard, holding our spade and hoe. Waiting, awaiting, the certain sound and stirring.
Enwrapped by vibration.
The rain won’t reach us today. I would like to smell the sweetness on warm soil and have the lettuce seeds and newly transplanted rhubarb and bunching onion softly sprinkled. But I can tell. The heavy clouds will loop around and loosen their load elsewhere, always elsewhere it seems. Except for when it’s here, and then it seems we are in the storm forever, forgetting what before and after sunshine feel like when the cold of mountain hail and rain surround us.
Not quite the banana belt. It was twenty five degrees this morning. We’re still a month away before morning temps might remain above freezing. And then, even then, I’d be a fool to count on it.
How does your garden grow?
Talk about an uphill battle, but I’m going to do it again this year. I’m going to try. Lettuce and chard and kale, potatoes, onions and herbs. Seeds spread out on my kitchen table of what I used to plant for spring crops when I gardened in California, here will grow in summer. If I’m lucky.
And this year I’m cheating. My husband brought me home starts from the greenhouse. Tomatoes, peppers and flowers. Geraniums in the boldest reds, so many shades, shocking and vibrant and really quite sexy. Just ask the hummingbird who already found his way through the open sliding glass door to get closer to the brilliant blossoms. Silly little birds. Still seem so oddly out of place in the high country, yet manage just fine, even without the sickly amount of sugar so many humans think they “need.”
The chance of rain passes us by. The dark clouds dissipate, or hide on the other side of the Divide, which is possible, for I would not see them for days if they chose to remain there. And in the evening as the clear sky darkens for the day, the dog and I walk from the yard back towards home, smoke from the wood stove slowly waving like a happy dog tail as the temperature has already dropped to the mid thirties.
The smell of burning cedar. Scraps of the posts pulled up, rearranged, fencing removed and replaced, because nothing stays the same, and we always find better ways. Even better places for the garden, now tucked in closer to the cabin, a little more protection from the extreme elements of the mountain.
We stop to listen, just the dog and me. There is a snipe’s flickering mating call to one side of us, and the bellow of geese on the other. I imagine them there, perhaps no more than a pair, following the black ribbon of the river up to higher grounds until they settle in to the concealing darkness, wait out the night, and celebrate the first of light on the mountain in the morning with broad wings and joyous voices taking flight above the now silver flow of our Mighty Rio Grande.