As her closing act, June ushered in the clouds. An entire armada of them sailed in from the west, as if they had been lined up and waiting for her call.
We watched in awe as they dwarfed the landscape, covering the sky from one end to the other, casting vast swaths of shadows on the forests, hills and fields.
The air cooled as they swept over us, and the wind that drove them was moist against our arms and carried the scent of rain.
Finally every inch of the sky was covered and the world was dark and alive with lightning.
We drove home through rivers of rain and crashing thunder, amazed that fireflies still glittered in the trees. We drank cups of green tea to honor June’s final day. “What a show!” we said. “Wasn’t that magnificent? Wasn’t it grand?”
To the old man, there was no such thing as too many flowers. He tucked them everywhere that they could possibly grow, even in the alleyway, beside the blue-painted walls of the garage.
It didn’t matter that few would wander here, that the children who wheeled past in their play wouldn’t even see them.
It was enough that they sang their cool colors into the air, that their lavender perfume rose in the sun.
They fed the bees. They fed his soul. That was enough.
After the long awaited rain, the air smelled green, and daisies, thick as snow, danced in the field.
The clouds gathered themselves into mountains, and blue sky flowed like rivers from their peaks, spilling on the trees below.
Birds sang as if it were morning, and barefooted children, finally freed from the confines of their homes, drenched themselves in the lakes that shimmered on the sidewalks and in the low spots of the lawns.
Even the grown-ups came outside, and they sucked in the moist, fragrant air as if they were newly saved, their eyes closed, their faces soft and deep with smiles.
A cloud of crownvetch dusts the hills beside the highways. Whizzing past at 70 miles an hour, the cloud is all you see.
It’s like one of those photos of an intersection thick with pedestrians taken from 20 floors up in some city. You see the whole mass at once.
Only when you take the time to zoom in do the individual faces become clear, with all their exquisite details and stories. And then, when you look deeply, they take your breath away.
There’s something so innocent and pure about roses.
Perhaps that is why we trust them so fully to convey the deepest sentiments of our hearts– our friendship, our sympathy, our wishes for another’s healing, our pleas for forgiveness, our thanks and congratulations, our pledges of love.
Perhaps that is why, when summer unfolds the petals of the roses in my garden, the memories flow so clear and free, of bouquets on my grandmother’s table, of the laughter of a friend when we walked in a garden full of roses the summer that she died, of the way my first born’s fingers curled around mine when my husband placed a pink rose on my breast.
They carry our love to one another and write it on our hearts as poems that endure, and return, singing of sweetness, and comfort, and joy.
This green-studded marble that floats on the far edge of space is a long way from heaven. Five minutes of the daily news will tell you that.
Still, we dream what heaven might be. We take our best and push it as high as we can imagine and say to each other, “It must be something like this.” We paint it with our finest and fanciest words, our hearts’ deepest longings, hoping to touch its fringes somehow.
We fail, of course.
But there are moments when beauty falls around us so rare and fine that it transforms our perception. And peering out from minds that brim with sudden peace, we read in our surroundings love notes, written in light, and know them in our hearts as postcards from Paradise.
It’s hard to be blue when there’s so much yellow going on.
Let the world be upside down. Yellow doesn’t care. All it knows is joy.
So the play takes a tragic turn. It’s play nonetheless.
Meanwhile, the sun shines, rain falls. The earth turns on its merry way.
In the wings the Great Yes sings even when the curtain falls.
Here, it says, flashing its golden smile. Have some yellow. Let it mellow you into glad.
The creek, inky in the shadows, writes its legend on the rocks below. Its history is long and winds back into time’s mists. It carries the footprints of forgotten civilizations, lost now, but living within these waters nonetheless.
They sing of their rhythms and rituals, of the customs of their daily lives, which, in their essence were much the same as ours. Except, of course, in the degree of reverence that they held for the water, the way they clearly saw the sacredness of its nature, and gave thanks for its life-giving power.
And that is why the creek still sings of them to this day and writes their legends on the rocks below.
The hot haze grew transparent as the day wore on.
Still, the air is heavy.
Except for this saving breeze, even the butterflies
would be grounded by its weight.
Along the roadside, parched weeds wilt in the heat
and pray for rain.
The high clouds that drift overhead offer only passing shade.
Nevertheless, this gentle breeze blows, and white butterflies
tumble in pairs above the purple flowers.
Summer arrived with her sizzle and her palette of deep blues and greens.
The colors are meant to make us think that we’re cooler than we are. But the beads and rivulets of moisture that decorate the children’s faces give lie to that deception. It’s a hot one.
Still, when we walk beside the pond in the deep piney woods, the air is pleasant against our bare limbs, and our eyes dance with quiet bliss.