Finally the heat breaks, and rain falls, though not enough. But not enough is better than not at all, and in the morning when I drive over the mountain road, my passage through the trees is shrouded in mist that looks so much like smoke that even though I know it’s not, I keep smelling the air just in case I might be wrong.
In the evening after the heat breaks, I count primary ballots at the town hall. There are 42 of them in total. It’s a good turnout. Jig and I sit at a wobbly table and I call out the chosen names and he makes hash marks on a page and at the end we count and see that everything adds up and this is democracy in our little town.
The daylight is contracting, and at an early hour this morning, it was just cool enough to raise goosebumps on my arms. The summer softness hasn’t hardened yet, but you can sense it’s going to, incrementally at first, slowly, slowly, slowly, then more quickly, until the air is a knife’s edge that won’t go dull for months.
The younger boy packs his truck, he’s headed West (of course he’s headed West, don’t they all head West?), and even though he isn’t even gone yet, I feel the impending quiet. And maybe I fear it, too, just a little, all that empty space after so many years of fullness, it’s hard to know exactly how to shape myself to fill it. Or maybe the trick isn’t to fill it, but just to let the space be there, as big and quiet as it wants to be.