SunflowerSeason

SunflowerSeason
" …a glorious season progressing a scant fortnight per step."

In theory, a season should last about three months. In practice, a season's duration varies considerably depending upon location. Somewhere in middle America and perhaps Slovakia, spring lasts three months, everywhere else, it persists longer or less. Should one manage to stay in the same place they grew up in for the rest of their life, one would instinctively sense when a season changed. The rest of us fumble with the obvious differences between what the calendar insists and what we're experiencing outside. Here along the Colorado Rockies' Foothills, to this recent transplant, seasons seem to unpredictably lead and lag. Winter weather will probably infringe upon both autumn and spring, sometimes even summer. Even summer, though, near the middle of its advertised presence, varies from day to day, even hour to hour, leading me to propose that the traditional notion of three month seasons might have never been terribly germane. Seasons seem conveniently subdivided into better-suited sets.

Two short weeks ago, Sweetgrass Season reigned; now, SunflowerSeason.
The Sweetgrass has headed out now, casually leaning into a drying breeze. Roadside sunflowers have come into their own. Invisible until they blossom, I never suspect their approaching time. One morning, I'm heading back to The Villa from a morning's errands and find them everywhere. The deer and elk care nothing for their lizard stalks or their scaly flowers, for they stink and offer no sweet mouthful. They seem to command the verges, sharing their space with a few surprising prairie mallow and an occasional rose-colored wildflower. They seem brighter even than the first of August sun, amplifying the part of the day where the sun actually holds sway. They make my day.

I had not noticed their emergence, and never do, though their presence confirms an essence finally arrived. I believe that every season should properly surprise, only coming present somewhat after it's appeared. It stood tacit and unacknowledged for a week or so before my consciousness (such as it is) could finally register its presence. Shortly thereafter, I can start the countdown until they're gone. They will accompany our passage into the yaw of autumn, some holding on until first snow if first snow comes early this year. Even after, their scarecrow stalks will sway in chill wind, the sweetgrass by then bent and bare-naked of seed.

Even summer days here seem easily sub-dividable. Mornings, soft and cool. Midmorning's, bright and clear. Early afternoon, sometimes sweltering. Late afternoon, most often giving way to curious cloud banks, pop-up storms emerging before evening to drop the daytime high twenty or more degrees along with an inch or more of furious rain swept through on gusts that slam doors after tipping over picture frames displayed on cabinet tops. Overnight, the skies clear and the earth absorbs her latest drenching, prepping for another soft and cool morning. We have no endless desert days or sweltering city nights, but five rather distinct stages to each day's passage during SunflowerSeason.

SunflowerSeason shows the fruits of Springtime's blind speculation. Those seeds, planted with haphazard care, have risen with consequent haphazard beauty. Petunias which seemed unlikely to ever amount to much have overwhelmed their containers, cascading all along the deck railing. The backyard I've been patiently nurturing back into deer meadow featured an actual browsing doe this morning, and a wild rabbit making his rounds. The grounds are as they will be this year, with gouges glaring but unaddressable until sometime next year, when hope will once again spring as if it could finally be eternal while spring fumbles winter's awkward forward pass. The wild lupine have gone to seed, their whitewashing cover fading to buff beige, the non-color every season eventually fades into here. For now, green persists, fringed with sweetgrass seed heads and Sunflowers, a glorious season progressing a scant fortnight per step.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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