We finally made it home, Scamp intact and all dogs and husbands accounted for. Real-home, where my family lives on a little green swatch of farmland in New Jersey. Where we go swimming and pick blueberries and eat splitting heirloom tomatoes off the vine. Where we are our parents' children, and where it is always safe, boisterous, and full of barking dogs and bossy sisters.
The garden was marvelously overgrown with my favorite late-summer hussies: zinnias, raggedy bee balm, leggy phlox and thickets of beetle-eaten echinacea. Barn swallows warbled and chattered above the din of cicadas. The hay wagons were parked in a row, ready for the second cutting of timothy, and the barn floor was cool under our bare feet. This is how it always is in August on the farm. And it's always *really* hard to leave.
P.S. Remember when it looked like little Lemon might not make it? As you can see she's miraculously alive and as healthy as she's ever been in her thirty-something years.