"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Summer Day

This  summer day starts with a lazy gray morning, at the kitchen table, looking through my bay window onto a freshly mowed lawn and a freshly weeded bird area. Walt is still asleep, the cats scattered like Grandma's throw rugs throughout the house, Toby outside exploring. The bird feeders are a busy breakfast drive-through for Robins, American Goldfinches, House Finches, Chickadees, Juncoes, Towhees, White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and at least one family of fractious squirrels. Coffee brewed from fresh-ground beans, perfectly hot and perfectly mellowed with half and half, provides as much sustenance with its fragrance as with the wake-up-gently flavor. 

Silence. No place to be. No expectations. Just this moment.

The afternoon brings a trip with Walt to my favorite farmer's market just to see what's new. We discover the first strawberries of the season. And peas. And eggs from this farm. And bread that's new this year from a bakery where they grind their own grains. I am a child on Christmas morning in this place, darting from delight to delight, thrilled at the bounty. I pop strawberries from our chosen flat into my mouth  on the way to check-out. I'm nearly moaning with the pleasure of the sweet red explosions that fill my mouth and threaten to burst into the air.

On the way home we stop at a nursery for hanging baskets. We're late this year because of the weather, our schedules, and something else that sits between us in the car - a boulder that no amount of effort seems to dislodge. This excursion is quietly tense with too much time together after so long of not enough time together. The vibrancy and variety of flowers, the task of choosing from the wealth, the easy familiarity of this yearly ritual work together to spin strings of silk connection across the divide of our tired marriage.

Once home, Walt busies himself hanging the baskets while I tend to the peas and berries. My fingers dance along the seams of the peas, happy to be engaged in a task that has always brought a meditative joy. I eat my fill, handfuls from the bowl, sweet green pops of pleasure between my teeth. Then I move to the strawberries, cleaning, eating, slicing, eating, smashing, eating, adding sugar for shortcake later, eating, adding pectin and sugar for jam - finally full and grinning from the inside out. The absolute luxury of selecting the fattest, reddest, firmest berries; putting the them whole into my mouth, one at a time; biting, savoring, juicing, swallowing - there are no riches to compare.

The sun finally arrives in the late afternoon and I join it in the front yard. Pulling weeds is not my favorite thing to do, but the satisfaction of preparing this flower bed for the purple petunias and fairy pink cosmos and  golden coin marigolds and bright blue lobelia that are regular summer renters outweighs the annoyance of whining muscles. 

I reward the job well done with a bouquet of lipstick pink peonies for the house. Their fragrance has kept me company, along with a cat or two, while I was weeding. They continue to keep me company, and to make me happy, from the sun-purpled jar where they sit like a bridal bouquet on my kitchen counter.

The day ends with a long shower, dirt scrubbed away, soreness melted away, worries faded away. To bed between sun-dried sheets in a too big t-shirt with a new mystery to escape into. The windows  are wide open to clean cool air, the protective green arms of my yard and the almost full sentinel moon. For just a moment, I pause, smile gratitude, and breathe life.

Silence. No place to be. No expectations. Just this moment.

8 comments:

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Love the ending, tying up the beginning, and c'mon with this paragraph:

"We're late this year because of the weather, our schedules, and something else that sits between us in the car - a boulder that no amount of effort seems to dislodge. This excursion is quietly tense with too much time together after so long of not enough time together. The vibrancy and variety of flowers, the task of choosing from the wealth, the easy familiarity of this yearly ritual work together to spin strings of silk connection across the divide of our tired marriage.'

The more personal, the more universal.

kario said...

Gorgeous writing. Gorgeous day. I can picture the kitties tossed throughout the house, you looking out the kitchen window watching the birds...

Love you.

Kay said...

Today was the last day of middle school for me, which leaves behind many memories and brings on more to look forward to. I got home from the 2 hour talent show (which I was in), and thought, now what do I do. How do I want to spend the summer? Right now the day doesn't feel like summer, just another friday. Except this time, friends are moving away, going off in their own separate ways to different high schools.

I love how you stated the freedom of summer. I look forward to reading more from you!

Kaitlyn

M said...

Beautiful...I could almost taste the sweet explosion of strawberries in my own mouth. Your gift of words is so amazing, and I'm so glad I've had a chance to join you on this trip into both your past and your present.


Enjoy these days and these moments. All too soon, they pass us by. And continue to share each one with us.

Love

Eileen said...

I love hearing about your birds friends and their visits to your yard. I am just now getting into putting feeders up and enjoying the company. The Hummingbirds are so amazing, sipping the nectar. When I was walking the dogs, I looked up and saw two eagles flying above, with the blue sky as a back drop. It left me in awe and unable to move. Nature has a way, as you so beautifully write, of soothing every inch of my being.

I wrote about strawberries today too. Big, red, juicy ones that were close to perfection. I understand the happiness they bring.

Your summer is starting out so wonderful. Makes me appreciate more, just being present.


XOXOX

Jerri said...

Your descriptions of the flowers and the berries are fabulous, but I want to hear more about "the divide of our tired marriage."

Two of my favorite things: farmers markets and your writing.

La La said...

You are one helluva writer! Seriously. You capture each image, each moment, each emotion with such clarity and grace. Your words as carefully picked as those strawberries! And, I pop your words into my heart and breathe in your talent as if it were my own!!!

Suzy said...

Beautiful writing.
It surrounds the reader.
I can see your day perfectly. I'm there.

Love,
Suzy