This is a month I've gradually come to love here on the eastern shore of MD. It is so thick with heat, so teeming with life that one is forced to slow down, to listen. When the nights finally cool down at the end of this month, and the windows can be opened, there is nothing so amazing as the symphony of bugs in the evening. They give everything they have, and I am reminded of the orchestra that kept playing as the Titanic went down. These bugs sing knowing it will be their last summer, that the chill of fall will soon silence them. But oh how they sing. From the heart. From every sinew. A harmony no human band will ever attain. So loud and boisterous some city dwellers complain when they come to visit. But that is because they aren't really listening. Give it a few days and they are lulled by the spell. They take that deep breath and give in.
I am Ben Ames, Aunt Lisa’s nephew. The boy on the left is me. I am 10 years old. I live in Catonsville, Maryland, near Baltimore. Aunt Lisa is inviting me and my two sisters, Ella (7), and Josie (4), over to her flower farm. My mom, Nicki Ames, is my Aunt Lisa’s sister, and so we get to sleepover at her house for a few days in August. We’re going to be here for three nights, and so we always do all kinds of crazy things. On Saturday, our parents dropped us off at the Chestertown Market where Uncle Don was, and then we went with Aunt Lisa to Betterton Beach and swam in the water. The algae levels are too high and the water has a lot of bacteria in it. Anyway, later that evening, we ate at the Sassafras Grill. The food is wonderful there. Today, Sunday to be exact, we went to Rolph’s Wharf and swam in the Chester River. They also have a pool to swim in, and we got to swim in there. Tomorrow, we’re planning on going to the Sassafras River and canoeing on the river. Were going to swim in the water also, and have a picnic. On Tuesday, our Nani and Papa are coming to pick us up. BYE.
Look closely to see that amazing colorful worm attached to the fennel. I wear my reading glasses now when I harvest, the bugs so closely mirroring the flowers, holding on for dear life. It's what we see when we look closely that is so amazing, that takes our breath away. So much missed in this precious life as we rush through our days. I remember a writing mentor at VT College once said to me, that it is a mistaken belief that nothing is lost on a writer--as if we walk around filling our minds with everything that comes into view. That isn't the case at all: it is that one miraculous thing that comes into focus, that alights our imaginative fire.
She was a typical young girl, it said in the paper, who loved music and dancing, but her love for the Lord was unusual for someone her age, a wake tossing her body from a power boat into the river where my husband and I now sail.
Surely, then, she is in heaven, with her Savior; surely, then, we have no right to grieve.
But it is hard not to notice the heavier cadence in the movement of the river, blues tinted more by grey, and the sun making its final splash, leaving us in the dark.
I teach Fiction Writing on-line for Union Institute out of Brattleboro, VT and co-own and operate a specialty cut flower farm on the Eastern Shore of MD. I am a published poet and short story writer and am currently in search of a literary agent to represent my first novel, "We Were Here." Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org And please visit our website at Galenablooms.com