This is my first summer in the south.
My yard is in its infancy. Newly planted hydrangeas produce antique pink blooms that slowly turn white. Birds have found the new bird bath which still shows $56.99 written in marker on its side. The ferns seem to enjoy my watering skills. (The impatients however do not.) The grass is beginning to fill in but I still side eye its dry patches. The hostas have sprouted purple blooms, as does one hydrangea, a revolt against my wishes of “only green and white plants!”
I have fallen hard for my front porch. I found two antique wood rocking chairs that got painted a crisp black to match the shutters. The metric ton of Pottery Barn catalogs that show up on a weekly basis finally talked me in to two red and white striped pillows to match the flags. We sit outside every evening and watch the firefly show that begins just before nine. They seem to like Sam Cooke and Tommy Emmanuel. (Discerning fireflies, indeed.) (I think they also secretly like that I clap whenever they arrive.)
There’s a pitcher of sweet tea in the fridge. Ceiling fans whir keeping the air-conditioned house even cooler. It’s almost too cool when we come in from the thick evening air.
Stephen’s sister said “the power of the south is strong in you, young Jedi.” I have to agree. I sink into its softness, become lazy from its warmth. We drive around the country stopping to take pictures of old barns, churches, fields full of cows and horses. I eat my cherries in the sunroom because the morning light is just right. I grow quiet. Get creative. We talk of a small little restaurant with exposed brick, white table cloths, seasonal food and good wine. Then both shudder at the work involved in such an endeavor.
Stephen says his family just grew out of the ground in Georgia. And because this place is magical and because he’s who he is, I almost believe him. Roots are deep. Just like the garden, my roots are in their infancy. I wait to see what blooms.