Sunday, May 31, 2009


It’s a sunny, storm-washed day, with nary a cloud in the blue, but last night’s clouds poured forth some damaging hail and a lot of rain. Caro called just as she parked at work. “Can you HEAR THAT?? The rain is blowing sideways in sheets, like when a newscaster is standing out on the seawall, waiting for the hurricane---I keep looking for him to blow sidewise like a flag holding onto a pole.”

I glanced up the stairs and saw a still-light day through the leaves of the big backdoor tree, and it was so absolutely still that I listened carefully to see if I were imagining that not a leaf was moving. Over the phone, it sounded like she was in a ship tossing on stormy seas---all the susssshing and crashing, and even some really loud not-exactly-pings, but thousands of little hits of hail on the car that translated over the speakerphone into foreboding drums.

She said, “It’s coming your way---I’m just waiting for a break in the downpour to get out and go into the building.” And not long later, we heard the first rustlings, the patter and the stir of the leaves, then a louder patter til it was drowning out everything---the rain and the noise of the wind and the leaves as they swayed in the double onslaught.

And then, the streaks of white and the bounce as the hailstones popcorned off the porch steps, scattering like peas on linoleum. I worried about his twelve tomato plants, ranged round the sunniest spot in huge pots, but they seemed to be made of the right stuff to bend and dodge and just limber-spring back from the blows.

Not so the hostas---I didn’t think of their being damaged, since they’re sheltered under an immense tree, with about sixty feet of limb and leaf overhead to break the fall of anything coming from the sky---it hardly ever even RAINS under that tree, and we have to man the hose every Summer just to keep that section of the lawn from becoming an immense sandbox.

But this morning, in the light of day---the big lush leaf-plates had holes and snips and bites taken out---they’re standing proud, with daylight showing through, unbowed and unconquered, but the beds look as if they’re spread with emerald eyelet. I was so pleased with them, and enjoy looking at them so much; this is their sixth year, and every one was a gift from the children, so they mean a lot to me. But I’m carrying on with my “embrace the moments” philosophy, and so I just say, “I LOVE lace, in all its forms from spiderwebs to wedding veils to hail-knit leaves.”

The hail also snipped beejillions of little leaf-clumps off all the trees and bushes, so the yard, patio, cars, driveway are all covered in damp green. Nothing LOOKS too bad, just messy, so I’d say we did OK. And I’ll take that. Chris is pleased that his tomatoes fared well---he’s got little marbles and golf balls just nursing away on the everyday-taller plants, sucking up all that good rain and Miracle-Gro, and we should have quite a nice crop again this year.

Now, we ALWAYS used to put the tomatoes for the next meal into the fridge Down South---whole or already sliced and plated (the horrendous tale of the strawberry cake is a story for another time). And everybody up here says chilling “just ruins them.” Now I go out and get a couple just in time to cut---I LOVE the idea of that stroll out for the salad, picked just minutes before sitting down---but I wash them and stick them in a special little cubby in the freezer, for just five minutes, to let that icy breath just near enough to knock off the sun’s warmth and make them a cool perfect-on-the-tongue sensation. Not equal to or better than the warm ones, wiped down a shirtfront, salted with a sprinkle from a pocket, and eaten right there between the rows, while the sun shines down and you lean WAY forward to keep the juice off your shirt. Maybe it's all in the posture.

Soon. That will be soon. And tomorrow----JUNE!!!!!


Tonja said...

The poor hostas. I'm so sorry they were damaged. They have become one of my favorite plants in the past few years. Such variations, and glorious color! I still have some at the house we moved from that I have not brought over yet. But, as soon as I get a bed prepared...I'm going to move them over here...but there will still be plenty to leave in the bed for Suzanne and Adam.

racheld said...

Several of ours came from an "old homeplace" as well, and some of them were taken to our Son and DIL's new home when they moved in---he even divided some of the bulbs themselves, so the parent plant is at our house, and the transplant at theirs.

I love that kind of continuity. We did that for years with my Mother's caladiums, but you have to take them up and keep the bulbs dry and cool for the Winter, and that's so much more work.

And I think hostas give a lovely COOL to a Summer garden, with all their shades of green and those huge velvety leaves.

Southern Lady said...

I, too, love hostas, Rachel ... and hope yours will bounce back. And there's just nothing like sharing "pass-along-plants" with your family and friends. It's like "planting memories" of the person who gave them to you.

sparrowgrass said...

I got that storm before you did--and it was a bugger. The last of the big pretty oaks up on the hill got the top knocked out of it--I almost cried. And there is a pine on top of the apple tree, an ancient relic of the orchard that was here 40 or 50 years ago.

I don't ever need to experience such a windstorm again--I was as scared as I ever need to be. Fortunately, the trees that fell were far from the house, and my new blue metal roof is all still right where it is supposed to be.

The swimming pool got a little damage--the winter cover was still on, and caught the wind. The cable that holds the cover on pulled the top rail of the pool and bent it. I bent it back, the pool still holds water, but it looks a little shabby.

racheld said...

Oh, Sparrow, I'm glad you were safe!!

I'm sorry about your pool---any and everything sail-able seems to have flown away from all around here.