The so-called “polar vortex”—
Arctic air dipped way south;
the same phenomenon that brought
much cold and wet to the U.S. last winter—
is back,
now, in July.
And now, as then, for us, there is unusually mild
weather, while the coasts
get the extreme weather: cold and wet in the winter,
hot or wet this summer.
Here, it was 57 degrees at dawn
mid-July. And we’re still getting
intermittent showers. And the lingering hot
has not come yet. Unheard of, to my memory.
So, while astonishingly wonderful,
it’s strange.

And there are strange things about.
No wheat crop,
so fields full of short, weed-infested wheat
is being baled.
No sunflowers—well, none to speak of,
and they are short too.
No ragweed!
Lots—even more than usual—
of Johnson grass,
now being baled as well.
Hay, there is.

DSCN4536

And drought,
there still is, even with the rain.
The soil is very dry.
Pond waters are evaporating, again,
even in the cool summer.
There is an algae bloom in our Big Pond
and the fish we brought in as fingerlings
a year ago,
to replenish life in the pond
after it was dry for five months,
are now dying.

DSCN4533

Even on the coolest mornings,
songbirds bathe in the bird bath.
And shadows of Turkey Vultures
flying over the house
finally draw me out. There are
five of the beautiful fliers,
circling
for more than an hour,
which is a bit disconcerting—
until I notice two
down in the hayfield,
where, I’m certain, mice
are hiding
under the windrows of Johnson grass,
drying,
to be baled.
Because I know
mice are legion this year: Ann trapped 50
in the high tunnel during winter months.
They are thick in the pastures,
scurrying when we mow. One farmer
told me he saw something strange
on the roadside and looked more closely:
a pile of mice
covered something spilled along the road.
Strangeness.

DSCN4497
DSCN4501
DSCN4507

DSCN4515

So,
we are not to be taken in
simply
by cool air,
rain. Revel in it,
yes; pay attention
to all that’s happening
in your bioregion,
yes, indeedy.