I drink my morning tea while sitting in a wicker chair that was my mother’s. Sunday sun spills itself through humidity so thick I wear it like a tight layer of skin. Morning glory vines—the only thing about this inherited house that I love—hug fence posts and faded shutters; the blooms sprawl lazily in the rock garden.
The neighbors are coming home from church in their Sunday best. Pansy to the left, Rose across the bend in the road—we live on Daisy Drive. I planted Darwin tulips in the fall, and now they are blooming and completely lost in the overgrown lawn. Tulipa Daydream of yellow and orange cascading down the shallow, jungly incline.
Seven months of quiet. Seven months of all things green running an unacknowledged show.
An empty barge glides its way down the river. Hollow thuds on uneven current, calm and quake. A stillness that echoes before the long horn blows. Black snakes, thick as arms, glide Ss through after-ripples.
The muddy banks of the mighty Ohio. Weeds and brambles masking the view.
An Imperial moth, as big as my hand, lands on the faded blue welcome mat and lays her eggs in the engraved W. Blue is a cool color. Sky and water. To say someone is blue is to say that they are sad.
Church inspires song and neighborly love in Pansy. “Want some help getting this yard sorted out?”
I drag the rusted Craftsman out of the shed and she snips away at the tall weeds, with long-handled shears.
The grass under the apple tree is lush in some places, naked earth in others. Apples thud to the ground at the slightest touch. Bruised skins roll underneath grass stained sneakers. The mower hesitates before spitting out the meat of the unripe fruit.
Dandelion seeds do a lazy Bossa Nova in the warm summer breeze, grazing the heads of the five nearly featherless birds living in one of the overgrown plants. Had the mother not left a feather behind I would have missed the sight. A line of gray in a sea of green—a garden pond full of Koi after the algae sets in.
I shut off the mower and tell Pansy about the nest. She nods her acknowledgement while standing amongst the wreckage of her hard work. They are weeds really, these plants. The roots impossibly deep.
I might be blue underneath all the green.
People wade into the river, a group of three with seven keeping dry, singing hallelujah and coughing up amens. A tiny Southern Baptist church with a lovely view of the river and trees, nestled in a dent on the side of the mountain. The parking lot, with its freshly painted lines, mucks up the scene.
Pansy hums, the click of the shears keeping time, while I untangle grapevine from honeysuckle.
“Just this one left,” she says.
I turn toward the words as she cuts the plant at its bottom. Green stems fan out from the center in a synchronized move and baby birds tumble forward from the nest.
River water reflects the falling sun, as the coming night sky tries to choke down all the blue.
I sit in a wicker chair that was my mother’s, and listen to cicada song tear a hole through the humid night air.