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Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Summer Evening

Yesterday I worked from about 6:30 am until around 3:30. I arrived home from work around 4:00, changed into some yard work clothes, put on my Ipod and worked in the back yard for just over two hours. Right before I finished for the day, the Lovely Sharon walked into the back yard and looked around at what more had to be done on a future day. After 20 minutes or so, we walked into the house. I showered and put on some clean clothes and she made dinner. After dinner, I walked back out in the back yard with an icy glass of cranberry juice. It was sweet and cold and refreshing after a long day. The yard was more than just shady; it was dusk as the sun had gone down behind the hill west of our house. I listened to the creek that abuts our back yard and to the chattering squirrels leaping from limb to limb, tree to tree above me. I looked up hoping to spot at least one of the squirrels but they were too high in the trees and the twilight time of evening was upon me and so the squirrels remained hidden from my hopeful view.

I slowly walked by the creek for 30 yards or so, watching the fast water roll over the rocks and sand on the floor of the creek bed. I think for most of us the sounding of moving water is a soothing sound, an appealing sound that draws us to it. I watched the water and listened to the squirrels for 10 or 15 minutes. I looked down stream hoping to see the pair of mallards, a male and a female, that spend considerable time in my creek or on the bank next to the creek. They have been there off and on for at least a year. At first blush, the thought of a pair of ducks spending time at the creek rather than on a pond somewhere seemed strange to me. But I have grown accustomed to their presence and I always look for them when I am in the yard. I suppose the spot in the creek is a good choice for them. It is a quiet, shady and protected spot. We have deer in the yard from time to time by I have not seen coyotes or foxes. So maybe the lack of predators is also a drawing point for my ducks. Yes, I claim them as mine. I have developed an emotional bond with them and their presence at the creek is welcome by me. I doubt they have the same emotional bond with me but when I get near them they just look at me and do not fly away.

As I stood by my creek, it was getting closer to the darker end of twilight. I could see my neighbors on the other side of the creek. They were on their deck about 20 feet or so above the level of the creek. We exchanged waives but not words, which seemed appropriate so we did not disturb the sound of the creek, the squirrels and the birds. I finally walked up to the house, past the waterfall, onto the lower patio and sat in one of the chairs. I just sat there for awhile as it got progressively darker. It seemed that sounds of critters and insects got louder as nightfall arrived. I wasn’t thinking about anything; not the day’s work or the yard work, nothing. I just sat there and observed nature with my ears and eyes until it was too dark to see much other than the lights of the neighbor’s deck shining through the trees 60 or 70 yards away.

I finally stood up and took one last look at the yard, at the evening and went into the house. Summer evenings can bring a quiet joy and comfort that sometimes we don’t take the time to appreciate. I did appreciate last night.

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