I watched as raindrops fell in earnest, and then I noticed the maple leaves. They were moving in a dance of sorts, but there was no wind. They shimmered and fluttered, and I discovered that the source of their movement was the raindrops. Each droplet hitting the flat leaf surface caused it to move independently of the leaf next to it. There was no wind to move the leaves. Just rain. And lots of it.
There is beauty everywhere, if we will just pause long enough to see it.
On a sunny day, a fluttering shadow seen from the corner of my vision turned out to be a lovely yellow swallowtail butterfly. August seems to be their season, and they love my hanging baskets. I’ve seen then in springtime, too, as they dance upon the late blooming lilacs. Then they seem to disappear until summer is nearly over. I wonder where they go.
An early migrating flock of robins paused for a few days in our yard just recently. They are the harbingers of springtime, and come by the dozens as the ground warms, offering worms for their feast; as they in turn offer their delightful songs as a feast for my winter weary ears.
But this flock was migrating back through in mid-August, and they decided my bird bath was the place to be. They encircled the bird bath, on branches and twigs, on peonies and the soft, green grass. Each one in turn, splashing and playing as they bathed in the cool water. One time, two got in the bath at the same time! I’ve never seen that before. Usually they are fairly territorial, at least at bath time.
On another day, a bright red cardinal decided to check out the bird bath. He stood at one edge, and gracefully leaped to the other side, managing to drag his little feet in the water as he crossed over it. Was he testing the water? It seemed so, as he decided it was ‘just right’, and hopped in for a bath. Splashing and fluffing, once he was done, he glided straight up to a branch above the birdbath to primp his feathers and dry them off.
There has been a fat hummingbird moth poking its head into my little petunias. His wings move so quickly, and his fat little body seems awkward for those tiny wings. But oh how he delights in those purple petunias, diving into each one in turn, burying his pointed head to sip a little nectar while I water the plants in the garden around him. And because I am watering when I see him, I never have my camera with me, so I haven't been able to capture a picture of him yet.
Our little family of hummingbirds returned this year, though I'm pretty sure the patriarch of years past no longer survived the journey. He was looking a little haggard last year, and the little hummers here this summer look very youthful. I hope these young summer visitors know the routine. In years past, my hummingbird friends always came to the window to say goodbye; and I think, maybe, to say "thank you" for the sweet sugar water I've given them all summer. They hover outside my office window, which is on the other side of the house from their feeder, as if they are letting me know they are off to new adventures. It is always bittersweet for me to see them go, as it signals the end of summer. Cooler winds will soon bring great changes to the landscape.
For now, the summer sun beats down, and the grass needs cutting again. My flowers are still dazzling in their summer show, and every day there are tomatoes to pick from the vegetable garden.
Quiet Sunday afternoon naps in the hammock bring a peace that can’t be found in the dead of winter. There is so much beauty to behold. Pause, and breathe in all that summer has for us to enjoy. These are the gifts of our Creator, given for us to enjoy in this world. As summer slips away, I savor the flavor and taste of summer, and I relish the warmth and the beauty of stepping out into a warm summer day.
The morning dew is heavy on the grass now as the nights become cooler again. The seasons seem to change much more quickly now than when I was young. I embrace the change, but also want to hold onto this slice of life that is summer, for at least a little bit longer.