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“Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” 

From The Messenger by Mary Oliver

This season tempts me backward into sighs of nostalgia… wisps of memories of long, lazy, barefoot and happy-go-lucky afternoons, skipping through sprinklers with friends, sunburnt nose, skinned knees, remnants of mosquito bites dotting my legs below the hem of my ‘pedal pushers’, grape kool-aid lingering on my tongue and marking my upper lip with a purple- stain mustache.

Now in mid-June, drenched in saturating spring rains, the endless-horizon plains of Oklahoma are more vibrant green than I have ever seen them. All nature is bursting with the glory of life!  Birdsong at dawn beyond my bedroom window, the scurry of squirrels in the branches, blooms in every hue dancing in the soft afternoon breezes, sparks of fireflies at dusk.   Summer grabs hold with bright-hot sunlight, clear azure skies, baking pavement, deep beckoning shade.

The doves hatched in their cozy planter basket nest on my back deck, and fledged exactly two weeks later.  That a helpless, tiny baby bird can unfold as it emerges naked and blind from its fragile eggshell,  and only fourteen days later leave the nest with fully feathered and coordinated wings, ready to face the world alone… astonishes me!

A few days after the fledglings headed for the blackjack limbs, I stepped again upon the bench intending to remove the old basket.  Reaching over to the hook, I looked inside to discover that the parents were once again fluffing and arranging their little hanging home with a fresh layer of soft leaves.  It had served them well before and so, I still could not remove it.  Today, two more precious eggs are safely tucked beneath the resting mother.

I kick my shoes off and walk through the cool evening grass, savoring the feel of damp earth under my feet.  The scent of honeysuckle mingles with the delicious aroma of a dinner on someone’s grill nearby and a pair of timid rabbits hide among the neighbor’s azaleas…

Yes, I miss those carefree summer days from my memory…

…but this one, here and now, offers up even more than astonishment, it serves contentment.