July 4th is not my favorite holiday. It’s always a shock to us yearrounders when suddenly the highway is clogged to a standstill and we have to estimate travel even to the pharmacy as taking twice as long as nine months of the year. We can no longer park anywhere near the store we want to enter. Woody has to plot any trips from his office carefully because the lot fills up with people eating at A popular restaurant. Sirens announce nearby accidents; we read about ones a bit farther down the highway. Bicyclists clog country roads riding four abreast. We come round a curve and a car is stopped invisibly so we almost hit it because some tourist got out to take a selfie with a turtle or a brook. Summer people and tourists drive too fast around the curves. We thought all the great white sharks might keep some away, but it sure feel overcrowded. Twelve were seen off Wellfleet; six in the Bay, where last year it was safe. It also has turned hot and humid, weather a lot of people seem to enjoy but not me.
On the Fourth itself, we holed up on our land and did not venture off for anything. We could hear the parade in town, a gentle playful sound across the marsh. When Woody was a selectman, I always went as he had to ride at the read of the parade and throw candy out to children. He ws always afraid he might hit one in the eye but it was tradition. A couple of times I took part in groups that marched to protest some current evil or danger. Now with my ankle, I couldn’t march if I wanted to. Which I don’t. I I could, I would have taken part in the cigils against the shameful and ugly treatment of immigrant children, and immigrants in general. I’m afraid my arching days are finally over. Silent vigils are mostly for the people in them, to feel as if they are doing something; but marches are much stronger. The bigger, the better. During my life, I must have marched in at least seventy-five and organized and led some.
The heat and humidity get me far more than the cold. Summer is not my favorite season any longer or maybe it hasn’t been since childhood, when it meant liberty. Now it’s the opposite. We can’t go to a restaurant until after labor day as the lines are too long. We can’t go to any of our favorite haunts as p there’s no place to park, even illegally. Going shopping for anything means getting up extra early to be there when they open and when the highway isn’t at a standstill yet. However, summer is the time for bounty from the garden, even more than spring. We still have lettuce although I had to pull some of it this week that had bolted into tall towers. We getting plenty of zucchini, yellow squash, pattypans, cucumbers, garlic scapes and herbs. The garlic is just beginning to brown a little. Soon we’ll harvest it. We got our last oysters until fall this week. I love oysters and clams but not mussels. My digestive system has decided it doesn’t like mussels, a pity. I used to cook them frequently. I planted arugula this week and some more rosemary. Weeded my garden and the herb bed. To work in the garden now requires going out before breakfast as I discovered when I almost passed out from the heat and humidity after working too long picking and weeding. After a very wet spring, we’re now into watering season – hot, humid but no rain.
I’m working on the 14 book mss. from Marshhawk for their contest. I have to say that they get better mss. than many of the contests I’ve judged in the past. I’m impressed with the quality and range of the entries. It’s a slow process.as none of them are shorter than 60 pp. I’ve read four so far, including one that stood out from other good ones with its power. I’ve also begun printing out poems for my proposed new poetry book. I have a lot of poems, too many for one book, so I will have to be ruthless in selection. I’m not anywhere near that point, just printing out candidates – the first pass through.
I don’t understand why mice are coming into the house. In winter, I get it. It’s bitter cold and less to eat. But now? Willow and Xena have killed two mice this week. The boys are useless. Mingus, the tiniest and oldest, is incompetent. Schwartzie, the goregeous long haired black, is a pacifist, just as Sugar Way was. He doesn’t believe in killing anything. Xena not only kills but eats. As a street kitten, her mother before she was killed told her Never waste food! There might not be any more. She even eats moths that have been coming in. It’s high summer for bugs of all kinds. Ticks, mosquitoes, flies, little shiny black beetles that move into the upstairs bathroom, earwigs, sow bugs, Junebugs – everything. The rabbits are eating the pole bean plants in the lower garden. We have colonies of rabbits this year. I haven’t seen the fox we called ours.
I’m a surprised how many poems I’ve written since MADE IN DETROIT and the poems in MY BODY, MY LIFE . I thought I’d slowed down. Guess not. I have a huge pile of poems that made the first cut, far more than Knopf or any other publisher would consider for a collection. After I finish reading the mss. for the Marshhawk book contest, I’ll start on a second cut. I’ve promised them to make final decisions by the third week in July.
Woody tried to drive to Orleans last evening to do the shopping but had to give up before he ever reached the highway as town was clogged to a standstill and nothing was moving. There are more people here than there are room for and it’s deadly crowded. It’s very hot and humid today. Even the cats are zonked. I have turned on the airconditioning in most rooms so we can stand it. A cold supper tonight.