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"I shy away from my shovel, knowing I will barely scratch the surface of this place."

By the last week in May, the sun finally gets around to rising at a decent hour, even encumbered by daylight saving time. By five, it's hardly dark anymore. By six, the sun's well up. The mornings will lengthen for the next month or so before starting to recede back into themselves again. This final month of Spring brings seven hour mornings and eight hour afternoons. Evening arrives just before bedtime. Morning's the choice time through this month. Afternoons can slump into thundershowers, naps, and tedium, but mornings vibrate with promise and possibility.

Aspen and cottonwood finally figure out how to fluff up their leaf cover again, hardly luffing in the languid breeze.
Meadows start sorting out their color bands, yellow first followed by tiny white blossoms while the Lupine begin spreading their waxy little umbrellas in preparation for showing their spiky white columns. A neighbor reports that the cow elk have started staking out spaces, lying in the shadows to calve. Rabbits wander unmolested, raptors distracted elsewhere for now. Grasses visibly grow, greening ever more deeply. The ground, freshly saturated, feels like velvet beneath my boots. Clouds flow like cartoon strips out of the high country toward the endless plains.

Rose The Skittish Spinster Cat prefers to head outside first thing, where she rolls around on the front sidewalk to, I guess, collect a new batch of twigs and dust which she'll spend the balance of the day grooming out of her tangled coat. She might choose to wander around the house, hugging the concrete foundation, keeping as narrow a profile as a widening longhair can maintain. She wants special recognition when I check to see if she's ready to come back inside again. She brings a wild glint with her and quickly sets upon her catnip mouse, which narrowly loses a spirited wrestle, as usual. Rose will stretch out in front of the gas fire until the sun rises fully enough to provide superior warmth. She will sleep in some sunlit corner through the rest of the day.

I will feel unusually energized and optimistic, cool air leaking in through a door I deliberately left ajar. I step outside to peer up into stars I cannot really see. They've become barely smears to me. Tomorrow, I finally visit an ophthalmologist who's promised to check my cataracts to determine if he might improve my diminishing vision. I've grown accustomed to never driving at night in the year since I finally conceded that I simply could not see beyond twilight. The night time now looms like a no-man's land, a territory I dare not enter, a truly forbidding place. I can wait until morning light should I feel the need for anything not already in the larder here. By 6AM, I can see just as well as I ever could. By 8PM, I'm more blind than Mr. McGoo.

I finally feel a feral urge to dig in dirt, though I suspect the dirt here, it not really falling within my former definition of the stuff. It's rockier than regular dirt, neither clay nor loam, but finely-ground stone suspending gravel and rocks, some weighing a pound or more. The ground hardly holds water, allowing it to slip right through or slide right off. It seems an insult to abandon plants in this kind of ground. Few plants will manage to ever make it on their own, but live bubble baby existences at the end of spitting drip irrigation lines or beneath over-saturating sprinklers. I'll cultivate anyway because cultivating is what I do in the last week of May. To do otherwise would be to deny my very presence here, to negate my existence. Hardly anything could possibly matter more. Still, I shy away from my shovel, knowing I will barely scratch the surface of this place. Maybe some of the moss will slip off my back while I'm digging.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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