There is an enchanting time of evening that I enjoy, after I put the little babies down to slumber and my big ones grab fruit bars and head out to the swing set. Some call it twilight, which I think says it just right. A bluish, heavy coat of light covers everything as far as I can see; the temperature dips a bit; and quiet wraps around me like a blanket as I pull out the hose into my garden to shower my raised beds with cool spray.
I could put in irrigation tape like most gardener and farmer friends of mine but then I think I would miss something of my time there. The water droplets sparkle as they shoot through the air. The sound is rhythmic and calming as I give each bed a good soak. I imagine them drinking it all in at the end of a hot day like I sit with my coffee or tea at the kitchen table after we return inside. A refreshing time of rest.
I walk through the paths inspecting each bed. I think night is the best time for catching any pests that might want to make our family’s food their own. I squish a Japanese beetle here and some cabbage worms there while sending a cursory glance towards the neighboring homestead’s felines who seem to think my raspberry bush beds are their own personal litter box. I remove a few yellowed leaves from a Rutger’s tomato plant and check the cayenne peppers for signs of reddening. Though my very favorite thing to do is run my fingers through my chocolate mint and inhale the scent or rub a sprig of thyme on my neck and carry the fragrance inside with me for the night.
I linger there awhile, pulling stray weeds, enjoying the solace and then finally fleeing indoors from what I refer to as the “thorns of twilight” but most folks around here simply call “skeeters”. My two oldest tromp inside with sticky, happy faces and dirt stains covering their clothes and knees from their digging explorations and play in the turtle habitat. Up the stairs we all go and into the tub for them to have a good soak of their own. Tucked into their beds with books; I sneak downstairs, upright an overturned stool or stuff a few dolls under my arm to prop back on the toy shelf. I fold a couch blanket or two and then start the kettle heating for a cup of tea with some of the lemon balm I brought inside with me from the herb bed.
As I sip, I peer out the window at my now darkened garden and smile. Fireflies illuminate sections here and there and I am reminded how fleeting this season is. Before long, harvest will be here and my nightly ritual will become a sweet summer memory filed away until the seed catalogs start appearing in my mailbox and I dream of them once again.