Standing outside, early on a fresh spring morning, sipping creamy coffee from a china mug decorated with gardening images. The mug was a thoughtful gift from a neighbour who shares my bemused headshaking over what thrives or doesn’t thrive in our side-by-side gardens.
The cheerful music of a sparrow grabs my attention. She's on the telephone wire that feeds my house, protecting her nest inside the metal hood that covers the electrical joint box above my roof. Where would we be in the city without sparrow song?
Among the dying tulips, new buds appear on green coreopsis stems, preparing for the curtain to open on their faithful chorus of sunny yellow. Each summer, hundreds of their flowers mass in my front garden, blooming, dying, and blooming all season long.
I hear the chirps of children, two little girls on their way to school beside their tall father, dressed for the office. Each of them clutches a hand as he clenches his arms to lift them onto their tippy toes just for fun.
The younger child wears shorts, tee-shirt and a wide-brimmed straw hat trimmed in black ribbon, its elegance a charming contrast to her play clothes. The older sister wears a peasant skirt and tee, topped by a baseball cap through which her ponytail pops. They each lug a back-pack half their size.
The threesome reach a neighbour’s driveway – a troublesome mess of gravel which migrates willy-nilly onto the street’s macadam. Surprisingly, the father stops to kick some of the pebbles off of the road back to where it belongs. Both girls join in the play. A parent on the way to work taking time for a game - Mmm.
He shifts his briefcase’s shoulder strap and grabs their hands again to head for the crosswalk. The smaller girl runs ahead to push the button for crossing. Behind her back the father pushes the button again to make sure the warning lights come on. He re-takes little hands for safe crossing. Near the school’s entrance the children spy something interesting beneath a hedge. They squat to look closely. The tall man stands still, apparently relaxed, waiting as if in respect of a scientific exploration. Oh, that we all could always parent so divinely. A minute later the three disappear into the school.
I breathe in lilac and lily-of-the valley.
Another May morning has broken.
(Enjoy this favourite hymn, sung by Art Garfunkel and Diana Krall)