The Jupiter’s Beard is fanned-out pornographic in our front yard, exposed to the root. And the grass is so dead, it’s what Gregg Allman’s beard must have looked like before he died, the same gold-straw color, drawn out thick. It’s the low, they say: the low pressure system that makes us feel this way. We sat in a conference room for six hours and got a fair amount done but it’s not as much as you’d think, for having sat there so long. We booked our flights to Europe and mapped out distances in London, then scanned for good rates. I’ve had bad luck getting there so I’m not going to get my hopes up, though we’re supposed to leave in two weeks for Dublin, London, Amsterdam, Stuttgart. Things change too fast for me to believe it will actually happen until it does, and I’m there. But we have fresh hops at least, this time of year! The local brewery kicks them out every week by strain type and species and my friends Mike and Anthony start text chains describing the flavor notes and what they’re “getting,” and I have to laugh. This is what Starbucks did to us in the ’90s! We all want something served up for us, in limited supply. I went back to the Whole Foods and spent $89 on just one bag, got a scarf for Dawn I thought she’d like, a small pumpkin by the checkout as a peace offering for Charlotte, for all our morning/evening fights of late and because I love her, thought it might help. The low’s moving out and the sky’s gone Maxfield Parrish with the brilliant blue, the puffy white clouds tinged with peach. I went back to Scotland on my walk to the lake, the moody tufts of fog across the water, two years now since our last visit there but not too long before I’d be back. Now on my evening walk it’s the smell of wood-fires in the air that beats back the damp and gives us a reason to be again, for the season.