August is national picnicking month, I hear on the radio, in my crazy too-many hours of driving yesterday. I also catch an interview with a female comic whose voice reminds me I swear of all those August afternoons of picking blackberries. It’s not blackberry season yet, but soon will be. August often means the dirt roads have turned dusty.
First, I picked alone, then newly pregnant, then had a baby on my back, then all those years with a fat-wheeled hand-me-down stroller. Later, the children walked or biked. Our baby, on the back of her father’s bicycle, held out a hand and said blacks, blacks, hungry for the berries.
What to do with blackberries? Last August, the girls baked a tart with fresh peaches and blueberries, served it with maple-sweetened whipped cream.
That’s how good was this woman’s voice.
Home too late to swim, my daughter and I walk through the cemetery and down to the community gardens. Only the mist is out and a few women walking dogs.
August 1. We go to bed ridiculously early, because we get up ridiculously early. This morning, I open the windows to let in the gray dawn and its cut-grass scents. As a child, we camped nomadically, crawling out of the tent in the morning and discovering cold dew and trails of mist from the night. In the eternity of childhood, we were hungry for breakfast and whatever the day might bring.
Here’s Hayden Carruth’s August First poem, too good not to read again.