I walked down my driveway and along the gravel road as the sun sank to the west highlighting tree tops, translucent leaves glowing golden green. As I approached the fields and gardens of a neighbor, I felt as if walking into a painting. Everything vibrated green, green, green. Gray green timothy twizzled in the breeze, oak leaves and maple, poplar and pines, grasses and new growth each held it's place in a patchwork rainbow of greens as I stepped quickly and turned my attention to listening. Birds. So many songs, mostly familiar and I thought how sad it was I couldn't match a one to it's owner. My youngest brother would know the birds that belonged to the songs.
In a second, barking ensued, a flash of black bounded through the break in the stone wall and circled me in the road with his hackles up. I could hear the call from within the house. I didn't recognize this dog or his name, but I knew she would come for him. Sure enough, "Get over here! Come on!" and an appology for the nuisance. Her own dogs were accustomed to foot traffic and came out to greet me often enough, but in a more friendly manner than this visiting canine. "No problem!" I waved and walked on. A constant and unwavering buzz soon overwhelmed me, the Chestnut trees were in bloom and it seemed every pollen jock in the country was here buzzing from blossom to conical blossom among the three grand trees.
I stopped a moment to watch while one of the big black bumbling bees went about his business of pollination, and as I resume up the hill my mind wanders to an image of my kiddos scouring the ground below the trees for prickly shells cracked open with mahogany nuts peeking out. The smooth nut inside makes a lovely childhood treasure, and they often fill coat pockets and bike baskets at our house come fall.
For a while, all I hear is my own breathing, as I make the most of this hill. Then, I think of my promise, "Be back in half an hour!" and I turn around to head back home. To the right, past the buzzing chestnuts, I hear the "glump. glump." of the frogs in the pond and I wonder as the pond leaves my sight if the heron was there tonight stalking through the tall reeds. My feet take me out of the warm sun set into the cool shelter of trees and past another barking dog. This guy is tethered, straining against his leash and breathing raspy, thick breaths between barks. I wonder if he just wants his ears rubbed. . .
Around the corner running water wooshes down a spring stream. This one will be dry in July, but for now it rushes down the mountain, under the road, through a culvert and splashes quietly through the woods on the other side. I don't linger to throw stones or send sticks through the culvert, the bugs are hungry. I head up the hill and up my driveway calves burning just a twinge and I meet my husband on his way out of the house. "The kids are in bed." When I get to the boys room, Charlie told me that when I opened the door to come in, the clock hand was exactly on the 12, exactly one half hour since I left.