This is a month I’ve gradually come to love here on the eastern shore of MD. It is so thick with heat, so teeming with life that one is forced to slow down, to listen. When the nights finally cool down at the end of this month, and the windows can be opened, there is nothing so amazing as the symphony of bugs in the evening. They give everything they have, and I am reminded of the orchestra that kept playing as the Titanic went down. These bugs sing knowing it will be their last summer, that the chill of fall will soon silence them. But oh how they sing. From the heart. From every sinew. A harmony no human band will ever attain. So loud and boisterous some city dwellers complain when they come to visit. But that is because they aren’t really listening. Give it a few days and they are lulled by the spell. They take that deep breath and give in.

The Guests

I am Ben Ames, Aunt Lisa’s nephew. The boy on the left is me. I am 10 years old. I live in Catonsville, Maryland, near Baltimore. Aunt Lisa is inviting me and my two sisters, Ella (7), and Josie (4), over to her flower farm. My mom, Nicki Ames, is my Aunt Lisa’s sister, and so we get to sleepover at her house for a few days in August. We’re going to be here for three nights, and so we always do all kinds of crazy things. On Saturday, our parents dropped us off at the Chestertown Market where Uncle Don was, and then we went with Aunt Lisa to Betterton Beach and swam in the water. The algae levels are too high and the water has a lot of bacteria in it. Anyway, later that evening, we ate at the Sassafras Grill. The food is wonderful there. Today, Sunday to be exact, we went to Rolph’s Wharf and swam in the Chester River. They also have a pool to swim in, and we got to swim in there. Tomorrow, we’re planning on going to the Sassafras River and canoeing on the river. Were going to swim in the water also, and have a picnic. On Tuesday, our Nani and Papa are coming to pick us up. BYE.


Look closely to see that amazing colorful worm attached to the fennel. I wear my reading glasses now when I harvest, the bugs so closely mirroring the flowers, holding on for dear life. It’s what we see when we look closely that is so amazing, that takes our breath away. So much missed in this precious life as we rush through our days. I remember a writing mentor at VT College once said to me, that it is a mistaken belief that nothing is lost on a writer–as if we walk around filling our minds with everything that comes into view. That isn’t the case at all: it is that one miraculous thing that comes into focus, that alights our imaginative fire.