I was standing at Tonk Friday night (excellent honky tonk as ever) and my weather knee fired off. I turned to Veronica and informed her that the weather was changing, right that minute, as we heard the last song. And it was: it had been warm and still-ish when we walked in just after 9, and it was autumn-cool and windy when we walked out around 10:30.
My weather knee is pretty impressive. It’s usually just one dull but painful throb, lasting about three seconds, just before a snow, or a sudden drop in temperature, and then it’s gone. Thunderstorms don’t set it off, but tornadoes sure do. That day the giant tornado came through Raleigh, we were standing outside listening to my favorite band play downtown for Earth Day and watching the radar on our phones, because the skies were ominous. My weather knee fired off something like forty-five times in a row. Hurt like hell, and then stopped abruptly. “We need to clear out,” I told Tate and Lovisa. “Something wicked is coming.” Half an hour later, Tate and I were ducking and covering across the street from each other as the tornado slammed debris into our houses and wobbled around us by a matter of feet.
This week’s weather change has been pretty great, though. It’s cool, blue-sky mid September weather, right here in the mildest August I can ever remember. Sure, it’s likely to get hot again next week, but I’ll take it while I can get it. I decided this was the best possible weekend to dig up the garden, which last year was a blistering task that left me covered in mosquito bites and scrapes. This year it was downright pleasant, with a cool breeze and neighbors and early Saturday sunshine.
There wasn’t that much to pull up, anyway. I was overwhelmed by last summer, and I took it easy this time. On top of that it’s been cool and rainy, and my garden was right under the community sprinkler. Everything just about drowned. My tomatoes were pretty feeble, and I ate most of them fried and green because the ripe ones got mushy. The borers ate my squash, and I got a few okra pods, but that’s about it. Not that productive. I can’t say I minded, much.
There’s a giant zinnia plant which took over the southeastern quadrant of my garden bed. It’s taller than I am, and it’s grown and grown and grown all summer long. Still going strong. It was the only thing I left after the pulling and digging and tilling. I staked it to keep it from falling over. The thing about the zinnia is, I didn’t put it there. Have no idea where it came from. Sometimes the best things just come out of nowhere. Late summer surprise. I like it.
I planted my fall garden, in hopes that everything that went wrong with my cool and soggy summer crops can only help the kale, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. We’ll see.
There’s still a little summer left. I’m having peaches for dinner.