Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hints of Summer


Today was an almost perfect summer day.

I don't discriminate based upon the fact that it's still technically spring. As far as nature is concerned, spring hit about a month ago and is at least halfway over. Everything, suddenly, burst into bloom in early March. I love that part. I love the seasons as they go by because they are always perfectly spaced. Just when I'm finally getting tired of one, the next one bursts upon us. Fall brings beautiful, darkening changes; the daylight hours contract into a twilight of falling leaves, breazy evenings, and red-tipped chill. The trees turn brilliant colors. And then it's gone, faded into the cold, stark beauty of winter. Trees lift barren hands skyward in Job-like worship, drifts of dead leaves crunch beneath the feet, and rain and dark clouds bear down and shut us into our cozy homes with the wet pitter-patter of cold, cleansing drops.

And just when I'm getting tired of it, as much as one can in the face of the gloriousness of it all, color bursts into life around us. Flowers that I didn't even know lived there are suddenly smiling up everywhere and inhabiting every spare corner. Trees are bursting with green, just in time to shade us from the bright, clean sunlight, shining happily in his bright blue sky. Morning doves and other songbirds sing their contented lullabies and sparrows hop through the grass happily.

Today, summer hinted at its beginning. The fields aren't shining with golden light and the heat isn't raising the warm, sluggish smells of the chapparal brush--not yet. But after a beautiful, joyful shout of warm sunlight in the morning, the day set itself to work heating up past 80 for a hot and lazy afternoon. Now it's settled down into evening, a perfect summer evening: warm and breazy, well-lit for hours after sunset, buzzing with insects (but not the biting kind yet), and covered with dappled shade. No over-heating, no fear of sunburn; it's the perfect time to be outside. The smell of barbecue is everywhere, mixing with the smell of sun-warmed pine.

I thoroughly enjoyed today. I took an early picnic with a friend and her two dogs; we sat in the grass and ate and talked and enjoyed the shade and the birdsong around us. I blared loud Irish music on the way home to keep myself from noticing that it was already heating up, and kept myself busy indoors during the hot afternoon. But by 5:30 I went out on my usual walk, enjoying the last and not-quite-as-hot vestiges of sunlight; sometimes it's fun to work up a sweat. The walk ended with a visit with another friend and her dog. And now here I am, gazing out at the still well-lit sky, trees sifting softly in a low breaze. I feel like gardening. And then sitting outside to read a book or write some more on my own.

It's a perfect evening. What do you do with a perfect day like this? I can't help but treasure it.