It had been a miserable Connecticut summer.
The rains stopped in July, and everything was dying. Every morning was spent praying for any droplet of water to fall from the sky, and yet, every morning was spent watering whatever thriving green existed within the confines of my marginal yard.
My kingdom was raided by raccoons, possums, deer, and thankfully one fox that cleared out a few squirrels which had decided to consume a few of The Woman's precious tulip bulbs. The People fought several species of wasps, a horde of grasshoppers, and the Japanese Beetles from my neighbor's yard. Little grew or survived except for one misshapen eggplant and their precious cherry tomatoes. Everything else was destroyed as each day, the sun and heat bore down upon the innocent greenery and sucked the moisture out of the ground.
And then Julie arrived.
Taking it upon herself to make her home amongst the lights of the garage, she was politely moved to wooded forest behind the house. Within forty-eight hours, she returned, only to weave her web again near the garage, but using the wall of the house and a neighboring shrub rather than the lights themselves. This arrangement was more suitable for the both of everyone.
It was large, circular, perfect shape and Julie could be found every morning and afternoon, sitting in its center, waiting for her next meal. As August wore on, Julie rebuilt her web three times, and maintained constant vigilance over her corner of the yard. When September arrived and I return from my consitutionals, we exchanged greetings as I went to and fro, and she remained ever alert to the happenings of the garden.
October came and Julie vanished.
Her web, nothing but a few strands of silk, she faded overnight as the intense heat ended and the Harvest moon quickly chilled the overheated soil. Autumn had finally arrived and with the season, came the rains so desperately needed two months before. Green returned to the grass and the leaves of the more delicate plants unfolded as moisture became available.
But with Fall, the garden's custodian disappeared. No longer searching for slow flies or a lost ant, Julie's post remained empty. One of the few pleasures through such a difficult summer had now moved on along with the plants that disintegrated in the heat. I still leave every morning and every evening for my constitutionals, and look to see if she has returned. I am always disappointed.
The garden, and its guardian, has officially passed until next year.