the summer storm and a dionysian blessing

There’s a delicious darkening that creeps in ahead of a summer thunderstorm: a heaviness, slightly warm, that has the comfort of a blanket tossed over shoulders. The first time I felt it this year was a late spring morning in April on the west coast of Denmark. I was tuning a grand old Bechstein piano, and watching fish dry on the clothesline of the neighbor’s back yard.

Windows were open. The light changed and the breeze died. The rain arrived about fifteen minutes later: straight down, soaking, thick.

But the summer here is holding back. There’s been a storm hanging over Red Meadow for days. We see glimpses of it on early mornings or late afternoons, but then it gives way to sunshine or slacks off with a cursory sprinkle. Last night there were Breezes of a Stormy Nature, and even some heat lightning, sulky flashes after dark low in the sky, but no more.


I went out to the garden to fetch some oregano and some basil, because of pizza, and I discovered that the lettuce that the woodchuckerfuckers decimated is growing back (!) and that there are blossoms on a few tomato plants. The watermelon vine was drooping, so I watered it, and decided to fortify the fences tonight because I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose another round of green things to the woodchuckerfuckers. I haven’t seen the WCF’s for a few days. Wondering if the foxes ate them. (Wishful thinking?)

Inside it was time for some Naked Olive wine. I went with a couple of glasses to the closet where the giant carboys are stored, deep in shadow. I said as I went, Let’s see if I can do this, or if I’m going to make a disaster. (I was dissembling. I was sure I could pull it off. I spent two years at technician school, and you might be surprised how often piano fixing skills translate to other worlds.)

I fiddled with the siphon until I got a couple tablespoons of wine to come through into a glass. All right, a little slow, but no sweat: we’ve got a working system. Then without warning it was a whole lot more than a couple tablespoons. Wine splatter on the walls, on my feet, on the door. I jammed a thumb into the siphon and yelled for assistance. Disaster after all. (Or an offering to the gods. You have to give some back.)

This afternoon I saw the dark and stormy clouds again. Hours later, it’s early evening, and the darkness has backed off a little but the storminess has not. I think tonight may be the night.

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