Somewhere in the dusty recesses of my noggin, the passage of these sultry summer days is being marked, and ever so wistfully. There's a cosmic clock ticking away in the background, and I find myself pondering the lessons held out by this golden interval that is passing away all too swiftly. The other three seasons of a northern calendar year are splendid of course, and there are surely other fine summers ahead, but this summer is waning, and its days are numbered. The summer solstice has just come and gone, and we are already sliding gently down the hill toward autumn, shorter days and longer nights.
Thoughts of coming and going are ever inscribed on summer's middling pages, and they're unsettling notions, making for restlessness and vague discontent, a gentle melancholy concerning the transience of all earthly things. A heightened awareness of suchness (or tathata) is a midsummer thing for sure, and for the most part, one goes gently along with the flow, breathing in and out, trying to rest in the moment and do the gardeny things that need doing.
Old garden roses are a perfect metaphor for the season and most bloom once in a calendar year, but what a show they put on when they do. Their unruly tangles of wickedly thorny canes and blue-green leaves wear delicate pink (for the most part) blooms with crinkled petals and golden hearts. Each rose is unique, and each is exquisite from budding until its faded petals flutter to earth like snowflakes. At midsummer, antique rose fragrance lingers in every corner of the garden, and every year I fall in love with old roses all over again. It is nothing short of a miracle that creatures so beautiful and fragile thrive this far north.
Once in a while, I catch a glimpse of the Great Mystery while hanging out in the garden, and that is surely what this old life is all about. I wish I didn't have to keep reminding myself of that, but then, there are my roses to remind me.