Gray, green, and totally magical...why cloudy mornings win it all.
There's nothing that calms like a still, gray morning.
So often the beginning of the day is anything but quiet, with the accumulated sounds of creatures both awakening and shuffling off back to sleep. The early softness of the day is always magic—there's nothing but opportunity. Yet, on mornings when fog hangs low and pregnant clouds paint themselves all over the horizon—those are the mornings I find myself all dopey, smiling incessantly as I consider myself at the center of a very special universe.
Perhaps the discoveries we make on our gray days are in truth no different, no more precious, than the findings on hot, sun-beaten days. But I think they are.
How else do you explain this little treasure I found while thinning a basil bed? Lying on a surface of soil and compost, surrounded by 3 inch high plants, a beautiful shard of some long-forgotten pottery. Where did it come from? Who held the teapot or plate this once belonged to?
And on that same basil bed, ladybugs populated every other young plant. As I moved along the 100 ft bed, hordes of little gals scurried every which way. It felt distinctly like herding. Small time ranching.
Then there was the hardy soul who decided to volunteer and brave another hot, long summer in our thirsty, rocky summers. Even though we had decided to give he and his ilk a pass this year.
(This watermelon volunteer was found—you guessed it-- in a basil bed.)
Days with heavy clouds not only muffle all the chirps and chitterings that are our normal soundtrack, but they muffle the reach of the sun as well. The gray allows our spring crops the freedom to stretch their limbs and enjoy a little longer the dwindling days of a cooler season before summer heat rolls in. And keeps rolling.
The new head lettuce varieties we planted for their touted heat-tolerant qualities looked lovely in the gray light of this morning, in all their furled, scalloped and succulent glory.
On sunny days, the moment a crop is harvested we have to get it in the shade immediately lest we desire limping leaves and droopy roots. On a glorious cloudy day, we get just a bit more leniency while, say, harvesting pounds and pounds of carrots for a restaurant's delivery the next day.
And then there was this.
Perhaps I do a disservice by claiming gray mornings own all the magic. Of course they can't have it all.
Although there is a certain something about those cloudy mornings--the quiet fogginess of it all--gifts of quiet occur all throughout the life of a day (I've always been a dusky kind of gal).
I believe their particular magic comes from allowing us a stretch of moments where time slows down—the weather is calm, our brains are cool. The animals and plants feel the sensation as well, and the morning seems to tunnel under our typical flurry of hustle as all us critters aim to get morning chores done before midday, lunch and high sun.
We receive something special, on those gray mornings that stretch into gray days.
We feel sprightly, we feel like we could shout into the wind and it might sing back.
We listen more. We hear more.
We sit on our haunches to retrieve a forgotten trowel and look up to find ourselves surrounded by a coreopsis forest that is absolutely humming with lovebugs. Doing what lovebugs do. It seems like this is all they do.
We stay, haunched, for minutes on end as we soak in the activity of beings so different from us and our two-legs and big-brains.
Then, I look a little closer and find, not only do the lovebugs use the coreopsis flowers as their own personal loveshacks, but there are other patrons here, too.
A crabspider, with a recent catch in its jaws, lingers on soft yellow petals—amidst all that love, a different hunger and a very different means. Whatever their activities,I'm certain the bugs were grateful for the quiet gray day, too.
We're all grateful. For the gray, the sun, the bugs in love and the bugs in hunt, and the continued bevy of surprises and gifts of calm that give our routine with the earth that much more magic.