Monday, June 22, 2009

Watching the Seasons Change

Yesterday was the solstice. It was a busy day - being Fathers' Day, we had hosted a family steak cookout in the afternoon - but, by evening, everyone had gone home and I was free to relax. Remembering what day it was, I walked out back and simply stood, watching the sun go down and listening....

The sun was just above the horizon when I got to the edge of the draw and could see the whole of the western sky. The colors were blues and pinks and purples, bounded by rich lavendar-gray clouds above and the fast darkening edge of the Earth below. First I noticed a mourning dove calling, then a bobwhite, joined by cardinals and eastern meadowlarks. Fittingly, the first cicada of the season started buzzing, echoed by others near and far over the next 30 minutes. A bullfrog croaked in the neighbor's pond, and a few chorus frogs grated nearby. The wind was riffling through the willow and cottonwood leaves, rustling.

After a while the colors washed out and the wind seemed to die down too. The quail and mourning doves quit calling, although I saw the doves fly, presumably to their evening roost. Robins started to join the bird chorus, and I noticed red-winged blackbirds calling too.

Soon I saw a single firefly signalling from under the trees in the draw. Then another. The wind started to pick up again and the sky, between the horizon and the clouds, started glowing a soft gold. The colors of the leaves and grass began to fade, with the dance of the tree branches becoming a graceful silhouette against the golden sky. The bird chorus faded out, while the crickets and chorus frogs took over and other insects, whose songs I recognized but couldn't name, joined in the harmonies. By the time I walked back up to the house, the fireflies were dancing a visual symphony over the draw and through the trees, echoing the golden glow of the sky behind them in their shining, pinpoint, aerial displays.

As I stood watching and listening, I felt I could sense the Earth turning. Spring seemed to fade out and summer slowly take her place. The pinks and blues in the sky changed to gold, as inevitably as the pastel flowers of May give way to the vivid displays of July. Calm and peaceful, but unstoppable. Life, ever circling and ever changing.

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