The sun in the open is very hot on the skin, almost searing, but underneath the big maple, its 96 degrees simply shuts down the activity of the busy, artificial world so that a reasonable quiet takes over – an occasional truck rattles by, an air-conditioner 100 feet away hums – nothing more. I like working in the heat. I am building another stone wall, a coiling serpentine structure to match last summer’s. Actually, I like their excuses for working out here, both the wall and the heat. After this past winter, I cannot get enough of time spent in the light.
Occasionally I sit down and take sips of tea and become very still. The breeze has come up. The birds come back to the feeders a few feet away – flickers with their elongated ‘kriikkkks’, titmouse, goldfinch, so many song sparrows, a nuthatch, purple finches, mourning doves, cardinals, downy woodpeckers. Crows keep watch and come when I go inside; one hangs on the suet cage like a ninja in a cape, pecks furiously and then drops to eat the fragments that have fallen to the ground. We have a brood of five bluebirds in one box and two families of wrens in the other two. Blue jays have a nest in the big tulip poplar next to the road; earlier I heard them calling out and chasing the cooper hawk who hunts our yard. The field that edges our property is chest high and filled with life – big dragonflies hover over the milkweed and Johnson grass, golden rod, purple thistle, and clover. Everything comes to the water in the shade – raccoons, fox and deer at night, birds all day, squirrels and the chipmunks that live in the dwindling rock pile, who will come within a foot of me and watch me out of one eye as long as I remain almost breathless, motionless.
This is luxury of which one never grows tired — the peace that arrives with the heat of living things.