Last Strawberry Season

Strawberry season arrived at last.

We knew that with a wet spring, strawberry season would be delayed. It came along in July instead of June, and I’ve noticed stragglers through the neighborhood all August. There’s one last hurrah for the crop between now and the autumn rains, which I’m waiting for with frank impatience.

The turgor pressure in tree branches is low, the lemon balm is beginning to turn golden at the edges, the hop vine is making noises like it might fruit this year, and it even smells like late summer. A particularly dusty, auriferous scent distinct from petrichor, especially in the early evening. We’re about to have a spate of days with decent, reasonable temperatures, but no rain. Not yet.

It’s all right. The strawberries need the heat more than I need sky-drops; after all, I’ll have the whole winter. And the birds are gorging at our feeders, some of them in preparation for migration. Others are simply fattening up for the lean months, and the squirrels romping in the cedars are no longer kids but lithe adolescents. Even the rabbits down the street know the change is coming.

Have a lovely weekend, beloveds. Fall (and pumpkin spice) is what I’m waiting for.

But for the strawberries, I can wait a little longer.