This has been an unexpectedly rough summer, emotionally. An old friend, a highly competent Renaissance man active in educational, environmental, and artistic circles, is fading away from Alzheimer’s; a longtime acquaintance, a woman about my age, is experiencing serious unspecified neurological problems; a troubled relative in her early fifties, after decades of erratic behavior, has recently been diagnosed with a progressive neurological disease, always fatal and always hideous. Part of my next few years will involve helping this individual die as peacefully as possible. My own good luck—being reasonably healthy, gainfully employed, and happily enmeshed in a web of relationships—seems more and more a kind of amazing grace. All I can do in response, it seems, is to pay attention as much as possible.
- The serendipitous combination of rose "Lady Elsie May" blooming with a nameless bicolor daylily that has accompanied me to three houses
- •Sightings of two of the Black Squirrels of North Parkersburg
- Chipmunks becoming regular visitors to our feeders, and (drum roll, please)
- •The return of the goldfinches! The ratibida, sunflowers, and silphium are blooming just in time.