A fit of fancy

There’s something pleasing about low clouds over a field in August when it’s been dry, but isn’t anymore, and straw coloured cross hatch grass contrasting sharply with the water colour silhouettes of mountains, even when you know the rainy spells mean the Perseids will be peaking unseen. The rain doesn’t detract as it would in the dog days of coastal British Columbian winter – in fact rain adds a kind of texture, because often when it rains after a long dry spell, the rain comes with a breeze, and the breeze tumbles the clouds along the ground (well no, I tell a lie; “along the ground” is an exaggeration that cannot stand; when I get on a roll I have to watch myself). The breeze tumbles the clouds not far overhead, and if you look down a little to the horizon you can see a mist that does stretch up from the ground, though it can’t be seen close up.

A person could harrow a riding ring on an old John Deere tractor quite comfortably in this weather, let me tell you, while he thinks about how this scene is part of the peculiar story of grass, which doesn’t lose its spirit when it becomes hay (it simply holds its breath; you can hear it exhale when you loose the twine from a bale), or while she thinks about how she wouldn’t normally use a phrase like “there ought” but for the sake of the scene and the sentence there ought to be a story for thistle too, especially scotch thistle, which is magnificent from a non-agricultural point of view. It looks just as good as grass out there under the mountains and cloud, and it adds a bit of colour to their stories by way of its violent purple flowers. When the thistle dies the breath is not held as it is in hay but comes out in gasps at the seed heads. You can’t hear it but you can see this thistle breath. It is fluff light, white to light brown and soft to touch.

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