Monday, January 12, 2009

Under The Pine Tree

Tuesday, June 24
After supper I saw the sunset falling in golden sprays along the lawn; it was at just the right height to accentuate every lush fold and wave of the grass. It seemed too bad to sit inside when there was all that beauty outdoors, so I decided to go just lay out on the grass under our big pine tree, like a little kid.
It was just splendid. I thoroughly enjoyed every second, every sensation. The grass, just a tiny bit damp, just a little prickly, gathered around my body. The breeze swept gently over my face, like the whoosh from the skirts of a lady dancing in slow motion. Birds chirped and tittered around me, now and then some children’s voices could be heard, the frogs were tuning up for the night, and every so often a bee or fly buzzed over. It was pure relaxation, lying there, and I thanked the Lord that whatever busy, hectic, frightening, or dangerous times I might have in my future, I could always look back to this minute of perfect happiness. I thought of the kids who have grown up in the cities, and never can get away from the horns, shouts, traffic, and pollution. What an absolute privilege to be here, right now.
I opened my eyes, and admired the way that the puffy pine boughs were undergirded by the great black limbs. I could smell the tangy scent on the breeze every so often. My eyes feasted on the colors; dark brown, rich green, bright, gentle blue sky, and pearly clouds. Then, I got caught up watching the antics of the little birds that were catching their supper on the tree. I don’t know what kind of birds they are; I think perhaps nuthatches. They have very pointy beaks that make them look a little ferocious, even though they look like the size of a dollup of whipped cream on a spoon. Very important they seemed to feel, scurrying around on the trunk and branches like little highways, then drawing up short and standing at attention, as though trying to glare someone down. Then, they’d suddenly dig their beak into the bark, and pull up a worm, which they’d munch industriously before hopping away again. Once, one of the birds seemed to tumble off the trunk, drop a few feet, and stick back onto the tree like a ball of Velcro, with a little moth in his beak. Another time, one took a nosedive down toward me, only to flick up and away. I think I saw about three of them busy at the same time. Once, two of them came scuttling along their respective roadways, only to meet and exchange a flurry of titters. I couldn’t figure out if they were friends meeting one another with surprised exclamations, or if the sound was more like the honking of horns, irate motorists each informing the other to get on his side of the road. Either way, they zoomed off momentarily to their respective precincts.
The sun went behind a cloud, the mosquitoes started to circle above me, and the breeze lost its smile. I looked over at the house, and saw Grammy waving cheerily at me. I waved back.
I sat up, looked around, bade goodnight to the sun, which had peeked from behind the clouds in dazzling brightness, and headed inside. The imprints of the grass soon faded from my arms and legs, but the imprint of those golden minutes will last a long time.

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