It’s 5:30 on a warm and breezy March day in my Florida backyard. The air is clear and mellow with that slightly golden look it gets between afternoon and dusk, when the sun begins to lower.
Lying back in my lazy yard chair with a book in my lap, my attention is stolen by the greater story all around me and I’m content to let it unfold. Just a few inches to my right, a lizard holds perfectly still in its vertical position on a tree trunk, nearly invisible against the bark, while on my left, another one rustles through the leaves.
And here comes a fat, gray neighbor cat, just passing through, not even stopping to say hello. I wonder why my tabby is allowing this transgression–she must be off somewhere on business of her own.
Over there on the fence post a squirrel perches as if holding a pose, until another one approaches–and they’re off and running, like Loony Toon characters.
I hear a jay pierce the air, announcing himself before freshening up in the birdbath, feathers fluttering every which way. And overhead, against the milky-blue sky the lacy tree limbs and twisty branches of skimpy old oaks come together in a protective canopy with birds weaving in and out.
The sounds of man are also near. Children, car doors, a mower, and farther off, the dull sound of rush hour picking up. Above, I hear an airplane and then another–smaller and rattly. I never noticed before just how many planes fill the sky. These are pointed south.
And, always, the mockingbirds and jays and bright red cardinals. And the small-headed doves. And was that a woodpecker that just flew through?
Now the air feels cooler, no longer mellow and golden, and the trees are getting a shadowy look to them. I close my unread book and call for my cat. Time to go inside.