It’s early Friday morning. Rain arrived
late yesterday evening breaking a short
oppressive heat wave. I have one hour
for a walk outside before the rain returns.
Morning smoothie safely tucked away,
I put on my rain gear and open the back door.
The rush of dense humid air assaults my lungs,
my face, and any part of my skin not covered.
It’s mid-summer. No rush of passing traffic
greets me as I turn left from our driveway.
No sidewalk here. Just a curb
and the sound of occasional tires
squishing over dark, damp pavement.
Quickly I turn left down a narrow side street
lined with neighborhood houses,
away from the flow of traffic to and from
wherever people go at this time of day
I hear the sound of my shoes on wet pavement,
a few muffled voices inside a house or two,
and birdsong filling the air. Invisible waves of
of warm damp air magnify the chorus of bird calls
surrounding me from branches and treetops.
At the end of this short street I turn left
again headed toward more open spaces.
I’m now on a sidewalk, next to the grammar
school playing field on my right, and a church yard
just beyond. A white spire and white headstones
gleam beneath towering trees.
Turning right, between the school yard and
the church yard, I walk beneath trees still
filled with birdsong. Leftover rain and dew drops
fall rhythmically hitting damp ground
and empty parking spaces behind the school.
Circling around the school, toward a public park,
I start up the hill through another deserted parking lot.
My pace slows a bit. I notice
the dying hemlock now marked
with a large white X signaling the end
of its long fight against invasive insects.
Will it receive a proper burial?
A gleaming white headstone?
I circle another tree at the top of the driveway
then turn down a small path through
the park, back toward the school.
Tiny drops of water glitter on tips
of fir needles and low-hanging tree leaves,
brushing my face with cool water.
I turn left to walk behind the school, past
the athletic field on my way home. In the distance
I see the churchyard with its lush green trees.
The weeping beech towers next to rows
of white headstones rooted in earth,
soaking in summer’s gift of life-giving rain.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 July 2017
Image found at pinterest.com