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The sky is overcast and has a gloomy sun-burnt orange hue that is irksome. Too humid for a fire even if the winds have risen. These are the comforting words her treasure of a neighbor tells her when he comes by with a bag of lemons.

Not an elf, but spry and helpful, even now in his eighties, the dear man helps her remove the large eucalyptus branches that crashed into the jade plant behind her bedroom sometime during the night.

They look up at the tall dry tree up above and discuss her options but all the choices seem rather hopeless in her present mood.  The tree must go or be kept but neither one of them can fix the problem.  Best stick to the things one can improve.

She is resigned to spending the day in the weeds. This is the month in which the garden is either hers or theirs and it looks as if the weeds have it.

Her only salvation is the intoxicating perfume of the honeysuckle fairies as they surf past on rough and noisy gusts of wet wild breeze.

If you find your enthusiasm for the Topanga garden survives midsummer, then you are no long an amateur.

At four o clock, the sun has come out just in time for tea, so Fairy goes to visit her friend who has four little children and no money for a nanny. The table is festively decorated with little tropical comforts from the ninety nine cent store.

A pitcher, tall plastic glasses, brightly colored umbrella straws and plastic swizzle sticks with the animal heads on a linen tablecloth; perfect for entertaining fairies and children in the garden.

A small plastic pool with a soft under inflated rim so if the baby tilts over a little his big head won’t bang hard before she sits him back up. His mother sits in the pool too, feeling like a giant beached whale, wondering where her firm thighs went.

A blissful afternoon, everyone in the house waking up rested, having had a good nap, even the dog and the cat. The lovely mother is jolly as she recounts how she was just on the phone with her college friend who has no time for children, when the middle girl brings in a handful of green frogs for the baby to eat on the kitchen floor.

I fear she thinks I’ve gone mad, she tells Fairy with a laugh as the baby sucks on her chin. Reluctantly, and under Fairy’s supervision, the little girl takes the frogs back to their sun-dappled watery home on the brambly side of the creek. Otherwise, there is nothing to worry about for the rest of the day except for dinner, baths and bedtime stories.

Fairy eyes the homemade coconut cake set out for tea and asks the cicadas to please go tell Elf to fly over at over at once or he will miss out.

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