It’s almost the midpoint of the calendar year. The afternoon sun beats through my windows forming lighted squares on my floor, like a flat quilt of lights. Screeching tree chopping machines sing melodies to the grinding harmonies of engine-powered lawn mowers. After a light sink bath with a cold wash cloth, I pat my skin dry and dust myself with powder, remembering the talcum-frosted ladies in To Kill a Mockingbird. I must find new timers for my day because the school buses are now slumbering in the town garages, no longer rumbling by at half-hour intervals in the morning and afternoon. Even Oprah is no long here to remind me it’s almost time for dinner prep.
Summer is here and she’s a deceptive season. All life forms are alive and settled into their warm weather routines. Fledglings have grown and leave behind shattered egg shells in their empty nests. Young squirrels and chipmunks boldly scamper across the roads, still shaky in their courage, but building up experience and speed with each game of road chicken they play against the rolling tanks of suburban cars. Tender, bare-footed kids hop and skip over the asphalt, determined to be shoeless despite the sizzling black top.
The long, hazy days stretch far into the evening hours, holding back the dusk, teasing youngsters at bedtime. Squeaky, plaintive cries of, “I’m not sleepy! It’s still light outside!” echo through cul-de-sacs, filtered through screened porch windows, harmonizing with the evening serenade of bird songs.
Puffs of peach, lilac, and periwinkle begin to streak the lower skies, edging the horizon. A faint symphony of whizzing cars from the freeway provide a discordant and yet fitting soundtrack to the slowly morphing heavens.
So much activity, little and big, it’s deceptive because I don’t expect to hear news of death in times like this. But death will creep in and tap the shoulders of the chosen ones: an intestinal cancer patient–the father of two teenaged sons and a devoted husband; and the shy quiet 41-year-old son whose life suddenly ended from an acute infection one night in an E.R. In one weekend’s breath I heard of the passing of two young men, distant relatives. It was a rude awakening of death amidst the bustle of summer life.
Outside my window the bees and butterflies still dance along the breeze.