The First Days of Summer #sol20


The First Days of Summer #sol20

June 23, 2020

The first days of summer are usually a bit of a struggle for me.  I still have residual projects from the school year along with thoughts about students and teachers lingering in my mind.   Even though I have been here at home for the last ninety days,  I haven’t focused on this home space much yet, except for my yard.

The first official day of summer vacation, Dylan and I spread mulch all day in the hot sun.  I know it sounds like a chore, but it was wonderful to accomplish something, work and chat with Dylan, and stop and groom my garden like an actual gardener.  At the end of day 2,  I was so in love with all of the aspects of my outdoor space.  The lilies were blooming and full of blooms along the drive. The showy light butter yellow daylilies were ripe to bloom around the big rock.  The roses had bloomed once and were poised to bloom again any day.  … and my precious hostas had been groomed and mulched and shaped.  They were a thing of beauty.  I loved every nook and cranny,  blooms and pre-blooms, each and every bit a celebration.

Then we turned on the air conditioner after several days of on or near ninety degrees.  When I got up the next morning, TOTAL DEVASTATION!  Our woodland visitors, most likely deer, had a picnic feast  through the entirety of my garden.  The cheerful lilies along the drive, each and every bloom and bud bit off by a tender mouth.  The large lilies by the rock, also destroyed.  The rosebuds gone.  The hostas… well you can see for yourself.

Isn’t that just the way it is?   You plan,  you work, you’re nearly there… then something unexpected happens.  Well, we knew it could happen… But we really hoped it wouldn’t.

So, what next?  What next, indeed…

I went out that evening as I do every night after dinner.  I watered those plants and the remaining ones that must not be tasty to deer.  I noticed the vases of hosta leaves I had arranged from my trimming a few days ago.  I noticed that daisies are going to bloom any day now.. and coneflowers…and bee balm..  I thought about giving the roses and the repeating lilies some fertilizer along with the hostas.  I moved on…

This reminds me of all the disappointments and struggles,  the work arounds and fixes of the last three months and I’m sure the next eighteen.  We can be disappointed and even devastated, but we can’t allow situations to stop us in our tracks.  I made those beautiful flowers appealing to our hungry, thirsty neighbors.  They were drawn to those blooms.  I am fortunate to have deer neighbors and the fox and mother raccoon and babies I saw this morning.  Perhaps my flowers were the price of that solace.  It feels steep but I still have a peaceful view this morning.

Am I sad because the deer ate my garden?  or am I sad that the garden was keeping me from thinking about all the other things that are making me sad? The deer incident just brought all that other loss back into focus. So today,  I’ll tend my garden and my heart.

5f9e283f-67af-4f49-b354-801430caeed6 I write in the company of my fellow writers in our slice of life.  You can read more at


7 thoughts on “The First Days of Summer #sol20

  1. Thank you for writing this. I have been struggling a little at home since school ended. Most days are fine, then I feel a little down for no clear reason. Reading your piece, I can see that this might be an ongoing “Two steps forward, one step back” period of time. We all need to tend our gardens and our hearts.

  2. I’m so sorry the deer ate your garden, but I can’t help but think about their satisfaction from having such sustenance, and I’m thinking about how robust those hostess will be next year when they return. They are strong survivors. I love the metaphor you till in this wonderful slice.

  3. You’ve captured that end of the year beginning of summer feeling so well. I am so sorry for your hostas! You have a beautiful collection. Deer love them so much. Even though I live in town, we have a big deer population, and I have learned to garden around them to the degree that it’s possible.(I’ve noticed that even the deer-resistant plant, like daylilies, will occasionally get nibbled by curious youngsters who don’t yet know that they don’t like it!). The generous perspective you take here in the end is a powerful reframing and a solace.

  4. Loved reading your post today, Susan. This has certainly been a strange school year and a strange start to summer. This is the first time in ten years I haven’t been working at a day camp in Natick. I’m definitely feeling a sense of loss, but also a sense of excitement at the opportunity to take a little more time to breathe, read and write. Grateful my extra time brought me to your post today. ❤️

  5. My heart was right there with you t through all of this- the highs and lows. Our devastation this week included the sunflower buds on each of our plants. Our garden and yard has given us so much joy and hope. Your reflections help me to see this disappointment (and others) in a new light.

  6. I love your insight about how one sadness can release others. I also find the beginning of summer break difficult, and this is an especially weird one, of course. I have to admit , though, that I started your piece with a laugh, when I saw your photo! (Sorry.) Most plants, like most people, are resilient. Like you say, let’s just keep on.

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