Monday, July 26, 2010
Dawn To Dusk
Here, in the midst of summer, the landscape where I live is painted in shades of green and gold. In the mornings the light spills over the treetops and spreads itself in broad ribbons across the grass, touching a rose petal here, highlighting a daisy there, throwing jade-hued shadows deep under the trees that crowd the lawn. The peonies have bloomed and faded, the tulips and daffodils that filled the garden beds earlier have given way to bright pink phlox and vibrant orange lilies. The yard is dotted with specks of color – crown vetch holds up its mauve colored flower heads, scarlet geraniums spill out of their containers, yellow blanket flowers glow like little suns from their rock-edged beds.
As July slowly melts into August, the early mornings will take on a different tenor. Birds still pipe up the sun but there is less cacophony to the sound, fewer strident announcements about arrivals and territorial claims and more music for the pure joy of it. The air is heavier and calm, laden with a moisture that swirls and eddies into dawn-born ghosts. They diffuse the emerging light, turn luminous, and rise into the bluing sky until dusk calls them back to earth to spend another night among the trees.
Animals are abroad early in the morning when it is cool and the grass is still wet with dew. I hear a doe cough before I see her. Standing still, she can be mistaken for a shadow among the shadowy trees. Beside her are two spindly fawns, their coats stippled with bits of light and dark. Their eyes are huge and wondering, their ears pricked forward, their whole beings focused on signals from their mother. Beyond them, in the meadow, a lithe red fox plays jump and run with a field mouse intent on escaping. Swallows swoop and dive from the telephone lines, their feathers catching and reflecting sunbeams as they cavort. A rust-striped chipmunk, its tiny cheeks bulging, scampers across the drive in front of me and clatters away through the underbrush.
Mid-day brings an intense and humid heat that settles down heavily, making somnolence the hallmark of the afternoon. Bird chatter stills, no breeze stirs the air and the only sound is the drowsy humming of bumblebees as they butt and buzz in the lily cups. It is now that a hammock or the swimming pool look equally inviting, now when I want to spread a blanket in the shade and snooze, or find a quiet spot deep in the forest where tumbled rocks in a sun-dappled stream turn the water to woodland music.
Evening brings a welcome coolness that coaxes the mist from its sleeping places beneath the trees and along the riverbanks. It rises and weaves itself among the tall meadow grasses and settles pillow-like along the still-warm roadbeds. The setting sun pulls banners of scarlet and gold behind it and the evening sky deepens and darkens until a zillion stars light it up again.
Here, in the midst of summer, in the place where I live, everything is as it should be.