Yesterday was a bit different from other days since my recovery began. I had an unexpected visitor arrive. Despite plenty of books to read, knitting to knit, and writing to ponder, the days are often somewhat boring. And it doesn’t help that I’ve had a minor setback that limits my activity level.
Back to my unexpected visitor. Looking out the large window into our backyard, I noticed the leaves on our vine maple fluttering. If there was a breeze blowing, none of the other trees were joining in.
And then I spied him. A small squirrel bouncing from limb to limb. Stopping here and there to find a nibble of something. Then off he’d go either higher or lower on a branch, all the while bouncing as he went. I found myself giggling with joy. Laughter bubbling up inside me. This little fellow was so entertaining. At one point, he jumped from a branch and it came right back and hit him in the keister. Double laughter!
Tell me God doesn’t know when we need a boost, and I’ll tell you why I know otherwise. Here sat a woman wishing for a day brightener. And into her backyard came a squirrel with a routine at the ready. As he munched and danced his way through the tree, he also performed acrobatics. And all for this one woman-audience.
I felt lighter as he bounded on his way to his next assignment. His little impromptu performance filled me with gratitude.
Yesterday afternoon I took a few minutes to sit in our porch swing on the back deck. Something I haven’t done for quite some time. I’ve loved swings since childhood, but the variety of my swinging delights are many.
Dad put up a swingset in our backyard that had swings, a glider, and monkey bars. Out of all its features, I loved the swings best. To soar through the air and feel the wind in my hair was pure delight.
Swings at our favorite park were even better because they had the ability to go higher. Sundays were a highlight because we’d gather at the park with family. This called for a contest among the cousins to see who could swing the highest.
A friend’s dad created one of the best swings ever in a large tree in their backyard. The harder we pumped the higher it would go. I’m certain neighbors could hear our laughter and screams across their yards. Standing on the ground, the tree made me feel very small. Looking up, I could see the sky through its branches and even up to the branch where the swing began. Oh, how high up it was.
Today sitting in our swing made me think of another swing with many memories tied to it. It was on the front porch of the home of friends of my folks. Their oldest daughter and I were classmates in grade school. Their front porch spanned across the front and down one side of the house. The swing hung at the corner where the porch made its turn. Our joy was to see how far out we could get that swing to go. All the while we giggled and laughed—and hoped our folks wouldn’t catch us at our risk-taking.
Robert Louis Stevenson summed up the delight of swinging in his poem, The Swing:
Summer “snow” is falling. Our patio and drive look as if snow fell overnight. The winds are blowing it here and there. Bob will have a mess to clean up. Our best hope is rain to eliminate the accumulation on the ground and dirt areas of our property. That should rule out the possibility of blowing it around any more with a leaf blower.
The source of this blight on our landscape in June or July? A stand of cottonwood trees nearby. We have seen less of their detritus in the last few years. We thought perhaps our neighbors had cut them down. From this year’s evidence, that is not the case.
Outside Longview, WA, there is a lovely cottonwood tree farm along the banks of the Cowlitz River. Lovely is the best descriptor when the trees aren’t blooming. And these are far enough from home not to bother us.
If you’re not aware of what summer “snow” looks like, here’s a sample for you. This shows the seeds inside the “cotton.” As you think of that blowing hither and yon, also think of all the new trees that will be growing.
At least with the cool temps we’re having, the cottonwood “snowfall” fits in with the rest of the weather.