This summer has been too brief. It always is, but this one has been even more fleeting than most, full of things ending before I have a chance to understand that they’ve begun. It’s telling that the dream I woke from this morning had me standing by the ocean, the waves coming in against the rocks, and saying, “it can’t be over, I haven’t even done everything yet.”
But the slant of light in the afternoon makes it plain that time is turning, whether I’m ready or not. The hummingbirds are busy working the bee balm in the backyard. They can often be seen sitting on a limb that fell from a tree next to the house and created a little bower for them to rest on between sips. Should I saw up the limb? Yes, but not yet. One hummingbird came and hovered at the window screen today, peering in while my family made plans for the day. We do like to watch one another.
This has been the summer of the moose. First, a cow and calf crossing the road as we came around a corner. Moose are so large and so unexpected that my brain is slow to categorize them. First I’m thinking shadow, and then large stump, and then, oh, of course, moose, followed by BABY. I’d never seen a calf before, and she was lovely and almost the exact shade of chestnut as the foal at our friend’s barn, and almost the same level of fuzziness.
A few weeks later, my son came down from working in the neighbor’s yard. “There’s a bull moose up there. Come and see.”
I went, certain that it would be gone by the time we arrived. No, he was still there, head buried in the apple tree he was efficiently stripping. Because the foliage was so lush, and he was so still, it was hard to see him clearly, even though we were only about twenty feet away. Long legs, and an occasional eye peering out. Then he moved, and again, that feeling of not being able to make sense of the sheer size of him. At one point he tipped his head toward us, displaying the massive bowl of his antlers. Eventually, he left, ambling off unconcernedly to some other bit of moose business.
Since then, I’ve seen the cow and calf once more. They trotted out onto a trail ahead of my husband and I as we were walking on evening. They never looked back, just continued down the path for a bit before cutting back into the woods. My husband saw them again on up the hill last week. I’m sure it’s the same pair, making the rounds through their territory.
It’s good to have them in the neighborhood.
So, here we are. Mid-August. All the things I meant to do remain, for the most part, undone. I have not made it to see the Van Gogh exhibit (yet). I have not worked on painting all the things that need painting in my house. Or begun the carpentry that needs to happen in order to make better spaces in our little house. Or read the stack of books in the corner. All those tasks, none completed.
But, I have seen moose. I have paddled in a kayak with my daughter in ocean water. I have hiked along rocks for hours, and watched a school of porpoises swim by. I’ve been still long enough to keep company with a resting hummingbird. I’ve eaten blueberries, and tiny gnarled apples taken off ancient abandoned trees. I’ve watched a young hawk eat a small bird in the maple tree my children swing on.
A little paint to be splashed, a few boards to be hammered–those jobs can wait. One cannot ignore the magic passing by in favor of the eternal mundane, after all.
P.S. For those wondering about the book, it continues along its bookish way. It’s not quite time to share the cover with you, though I can tell you I love it. I have seen the proofs, and the design is beautiful. For any GoodReaders among you, it can be added to your shelf here.