The Last Days Of August

My mornings often begin
in my garden. I walked
My dog for one hour
This morning. Last night
I dreamed I was walking
Naked down a country road.
I changed my cat’s litter box.
I vacuumed the house.
I toasted an English Muffin.
I put salsa on it. Salsa
That I made yesterday.
The puffy white clouds
This morning are messages.
Signals from Heaven.

Dear Dad,
I know you know this but I wanted to write you a short letter. Do you remember what words were written under my high school yearbook photograph? “Bruce loves clouds.” I still do. I sit in the backyard and watch them float like big balloons of different shapes and sizes. One day I saw a bunny rabbit in the sky. Another day a dog. I was reading in the yearbook how much good I did for the school and students–and how funny I was. I suppose little has changed. Photography is now my ministry–seeing and sharing beauty. And I still have a great laugh and sense of humor. I am who I am. Everyone still talks about you. Misses you. People always say you were so loving, patient, and kind. This is what I wish to say. I am going to be a grandfather. Danielle’s first child is due in October. And she and Mike bought a beautiful home in Simsbury, CT. You would love it. Darlene moved after so many years in New Hampshire to Dallas, Texas and is raising chickens. Chickens! Can you believe it? Darlene raising chickens! Michelle is busy with church and her grand-children. And Dennis? He had a stoke after running one day a few months ago. He was rushed to the hospital and had open hear surgery. He is doing great now. A miracle the doctors say. And he is back to running three to five miles every day. In October he and Debbie are going to Italy. He will be giving a speech on Baptists in Italy. Late afternoon Susan and I often sit outside. Susan says, “This is our paradise. But maybe we should move. But where? And how? You need to get a job, Bruce.” Heaven. Paradise. Home is where the heart is. Right, Dad?

At an art opening. My photographs
Of angels. A guest left and
Went home to get me
An heirloom tomato.
The same kind growing
In my garden this summer.
I cut the blue thistle down
To the ground, filling
Three yard waste bags.
I photographed a Queen
Elizabeth Rose, an orange zinnia
Ablaze in the afternoon sunlight.
A swallowtail butterfly.
A flowering garlic chives.
I fixed my bentwood archway and
I rehung a garden ornament
Lashed to a tree below
A cistern Susan bought
At an antique store. I
Secured the jalapeno plants
Which were heavy with
Peppers with garden twince.
What I most enjoy is
The sound of children
In the distance laughing.
Always planting. Seeing
Beauty always. I planted
Autumn lettuce and Arugula.
Seeds of peace and love.
One plant a reminder of all
That needs to be done, the goals
Written down on paper. My dog
disappears into the garden of
Zinnias, a sea of flowers moving
Gently as he moves through it.
There are days when I do nothing
But sit in a chair and stare at the garden.
Some days I might stand and move closer
To get a better look at the sparrow
In the birdbath or the cardinal
On the fence, molting. It is
The end of August, a change
In season. I pulled
Up some of the basil.
I didn’t have the heart
To pull it all up and
Out of the garden.