Tuesday, July 25, 2017

50 Shades of Green ... Or More

It is officially, quite possibly, my favorite time of the year in Iowa. That long-awaited, much anticipated brief period of rest, sandwiched between the rush to get things done because it's almost summer! and the rush to get things done because summer is almost over! Those two or three days – maybe seconds, maybe minutes, and not necessarily consecutive – when you can look around, heave a sigh of relief and notice just how green everything is.

I certainly enjoy complaining about the heat and humidity as much as – if not more than – the next Iowan, but today dawned cool and clear, a welcome change from the heat, humidity and thunderstorms of recent weeks. Pleasant weather arrived just in time to miss several county fairs and will, no doubt, leave just in time for the state fair.

Before the heat and humidity return (any second now), I am going to relish this meteorological respite and the natural beauty of summertime in Iowa. It pains me to admit, but all that heat, humidity and rain, rain, rainrainrain that we've had lately have turned the landscape into a, well, if not tropical paradise, perhaps a cropical paradise.

This is the summer-green phase, when the grass and the trees and the beans and the corn and the weeds are all a rich, warm, green – almost black-green – lush and fecund. It is a more mature shade than the spring-green phase, when the grass, trees, beans, corn and weed grab the lightest, brightest shade of tangy yellow-green they can find as they rush to break free from the soil.

Looking out at the horizon, it seems we live in a snow-globe of green and blue. The green, green fields stretch up to an arch of blue-gray and azure, which leads back to more green. Flowers toss confetti blossoms of color, which are swallowed by green. Delicate white UFOs, launched by a bumper crop of Queen Anne's Lace, hover over ditches of green.

Soon even the air will be saturated with green, every breath will taste of chlorophyl. Soon I will become bored by the unrelentingly verdant countryside and long for some other – any other – color. There is a danger of drowning in green, of being crushed by claustrophobic greeness.

Just when I don't think I can stand it a moment longer, the green will begin its retreat. The plants will develop a slow leak, and drop by drop the green will drain away. Slowly, subtly, the vibrant colors will fade away unnoticed, until overnight the palatte of vibrant greens is swapped for more sedate, subdued hues of tan and gold and burnt orange.

The rush to get things done because summer is almost over! will be replaced by the rush to get things done because school has started! and then the rush to get things done because winter is almost here!

And I'll be the first to sigh and ask, “remember those wonderful, lazy, hot and humid days last summer when everything was so green?”


  1. Such rich and lovely writing. "Flowers toss confetti blossoms of color" poetry. I love Queen Anne's lace too.

  2. Thank you! It's too pretty to be a weed, isn't it?