Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Second Day of Summer

I love waking early, especially on weekends, when there's no need to leave my pillow, my blanket of cats, or the soft snorings of Ken and Duncan. Because it was cool last night, the windows remained open and a cacophony of perfumes have crowded into my little space, a collection that wakes me better than even the smell of the tea that simmers in my mug: the fading Russian Olive, the long grass––wet and bent––that rises along the edge of the golf course, the green depth of the pines and junipers, the first powdery, sweet traces of the Lindens. On mornings like this you will find me standing alone in the living room, my eyes closed, my head tilted back, just breathing, long and slow, with perhaps a faint smile curling the corners of my mouth.

Duncan and I walk quietly in the mornings, moving from one shady spot to the next, where the light is scarce and the grass underfoot is still dark, the drops of dew catching my ankles and gathering up Dunc's skinny legs like silver, iridescent ticks, fat and undulous with each step he takes. I wish I knew the names of all the birds that sing around us for I would construct a collection of their dawn songs and the way they muffle and echo across the wide fields: the robin, the chickadee––which I like to mimic––, the meadowlark, the sad lowing of the mourning dove. On cool mornings the air-conditioners are blessedly silent and each line and note of the bird chorus is clear and crisp, a garden of sound as rich as any planted in the earth.

After playing in the park, tossing the ball in the shade of the cottonwoods, greeting each of the workers who know Duncan by name and wave at me as they drive past in their little carts on their way to adjust the sprinklers or repaint the baseball diamonds, after rolling in the wet grass, we headed home, the sun higher than when we'd arrived. On the edge of the street, the curb before us, I paused to watch a single sparrow chase a hawk away from its nest. The hawk hardly noticed, content to spin slowly on the thermals rising up from the golf course, its wings fanned out wide, barely flapping as it rose higher and higher and coasted in the blue. The sparrow was frantic, though, flapping and calling furiously, diving and bouncing off the larger bark brown body of the indifferent hawk. On and on it went and I stood a long time until their silhouettes were lost in the glare of the sun and the traffic on Bowles began to pick up, drowning out the birds and the chikka-chikka-chik of the sprinklers behind us. There was some sort of metaphor there, I'm sure, but I didn't care to ponder it and thought only of getting home where I could enjoy the last of the Russian Olives and the tease of Linden outside my window, where a single hummingbird graces me with its presence at the feeder on my patio, where Roo could eat his breakfast and then rest his chin against my foot.

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