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Kate Forrest: Seasons of Salisbury: June

Kate Forrest

 

Saturday June 15th — The perfect summer night. Not many nights can be described as such, but tonight is one of those rare, truly perfect, evenings in June.

 

There is a light breeze rustling the willow oak leaves and the sweet, familiar smell of fresh-cut grass lingers in the air. The 70° humidity feels mild when nothing needs to be done.

 

The patio furniture has already gone to the new house, so we’re sitting on the front stoop, bathed in light from a near-full moon. Live music plays in the distance and the revving of a motorcycle roars nearby, until it mixes with the hushed rumble of late-night traffic. Dogs bark on the next street over, but then there is the quiet of the crickets and sound of the breeze as it dances through the treetops and sweeps around the boxwoods.

 

I catch the sparkle of light from fireflies. Just a few out this late at night. They blink and disappear in the darkness, then flash again once more before they flutter up and away, out of sight.

 

My husband and I talk of what’s next. He plans his course content for the fall — new ideas, new projects. I’m planning the schedule for my next novel and deciding how to decorate my writing room in our new home.

 

It is exciting, but dizzying. Moving, no matter the distance, is chaos — an interruption to a settled routine. I miss the normal day-to-day. Something I always take for granted until the moving boxes start to pile up.

 

That’s why I’m grateful for simple nights like this one.

 

Tonight, the street lamp gives a subtle orange glow to the grass and a dewy appearance to the holly trees, as though a rainstorm has just passed through town. The moon flashes between clouds and highlights the silhouette of our loblolly pine.

 

These pines are everywhere and yet I rarely look at them individually.

 

Tonight, I notice its height, towering high above our holly trees. A few broken dead branches hang halfway up the tree, but near the top the branches reach out, a mix of straight and jagged arms that circle and climb until they disappear, with their needles, into the dark sky.

 

Sitting here now, I find comfort in the shadow of this tall, long-lived pine. It sees so much way up high. Day and night, it’s on the lookout, watching for what’s next.

 

Down below, we don’t see as far what’s coming. But I try not to linger on the uncertainty of change. I’d rather savor this perfect summer night in Salisbury. Even the mosquitoes have bowed out for the evening, leaving us to conversation and whiskey sours in the moonlight as we plan the future and look down the road, like the pine trees overhead. 

[Ed note: Kate and her husband are in the process of moving to Williamsburg, Va. She writes, “I’m going to miss Salisbury and I’m going to miss writing about it.”]

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