A feeling of change in the air

Published 8:44 am Friday, August 2, 2013

Shirtsleeved afternoons

turn toward leather as the trees

blush, scatter a last

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few bright, weary wisps across

the great bruised heart of the South.

The spirit cup drifts

down the pond’s moon-sparked highway.

Far laughter, shadows.

Love or poison? Your turn. Drink

to the star-drenched latitudes!

~ Rita Dove, from Crossing State Lines [Shirtsleeved afternoons]

Languid, steamy August strolls slowly into Saluda: lush green summer shadows guard blackberry vines arching alongside tendrils of dripping vines, verdant grass stretches, iridescent June bugs, flitting butterflies dancing through flower gardens. Already, thoughts turn to school bags and pencils, road trips, picnics and all things August. As ever, there’s that feel in the air that change is coming; a hint, a whisper in the slow afternoons.

In the kitchen on one of those afternoons, I chop emerald-green earthy cilantro, inhaling the scent — remembering how I once disliked it immensely. Now, I love it, especially in fresh gazpacho, which explains the chopping and dicing of cilantro, vine-ripe juicy tomatoes, bright yellow bell peppers, avocado and more delicious things. Once upon a time when growing up, I thought the only salad dressing was Thousand Island.

Luckily, tastes can graduate to higher levels. I now much prefer variations of ginger, balsamic vinaigrette or something equally tantalizing. It’s always amazing how we expand our tastes in life; maybe a few points of view, as well!