Be here now

Summer is slipping away, like minnows slipping through his fingers. I’m trying not to pine already for the easiness of it all, for the way we can just slip outside in bare feet, hop on bikes (not in bare feet), pick dinner vegetables directly out of the garden — Isaac eating a carrot after carrot, getting mad if we cut off the green frond tops — throw them on the grill. I’m trying not to pine for Rob, who is here for only four more days of his four weeks with us, for our communal dinners and games of chase and water fights in backyards and adult conversations about writing in broken moments. (And babysitting. I’m trying not pine for the free and easy babysitting, even as Rachel and I prep for the second of the two overnight getaways Rob’s presence has afforded us this summer; two whole nights away, dinners out and sure, let’s split the whole bottle of wine, because we can sleep in the next morning. Nothing like the luxury of a hangover with no one to care for.) I marvel at Rowan, riding his bicycle as though he’s always known how; now we head out for an hour to the school playground after dinner — “I wonder who my teacher will be,” he muses, looking through the glass of the locked doors of the building — go around the block a few more times before bed. I forage for back-lane raspberries as though they will somehow save my life, taking Ziploc bags on walks and Tupperware in my bicycle panniers, just in case I happen upon a patch or two on my way somewhere, anywhere. We’re harvesting beets, and Rachel and I steam the greens with the idea of freezing them to sneak into sauces through the winter, but end up eating them directly out of the pot. We walk through the farmers’ market at the moment and there’s very little to buy that we don’t already have growing in the boxes I’ve built at home, and what we don’t have the kids are already trading with our neighbours across the street (“We’ll sell it to you for free,” Rowan tells Relia, whose kids were this age 20 years ago, as he picks yet another zucchini to add to her pile and then can’t believe his luck when she takes each kid by the hand to her garden across the street and they return with cucumbers, Swiss chard, peas.). No, there’s very little to buy that we don’t already have in abundance, all around us, and so I’m trying to remember to enjoy it now (and maybe not write about it so much) and to remember just how much I love the smell of autumn air.