‘And the Voice of the Turtle is Heard in the Land…’

Summer stuttered at first but finally flared into life. I think it happened that last week in June, when that real ‘school’s-out’ feeling filled the air. Even the rabbits were putting an extra shimmy into their gait as they hopped and paused across the twilit grass.

“Have you NOTICED all the rabbits lately?” the man at the auto-body shop said as he banged my tail-light back into place. “They come for the clover,” he added, nodding toward a wild patch of the stuff growing next to the asphalt.

I picked a few of the bunchy-headed blossoms and we took turns inhaling their scent. “Now for the first time in 25 years I GET what they were saying in Bambi!”

Later that day, sitting at a stop light, I saw a carful of bare chests flash past trailing laughter: teen-aged boys, every one with his shirt off.

Just then, a lone goose began crossing the road and it was at this point I began to feel that new thing in the air.

I pulled into the lot adjacent to a grocery store  to sit a while and see what else might pass before me. parking beneath a tree whose leaves were rustling like taffeta petticoats . Dark green and heavy with chlorophyll, they look so different now from the way leaves look in autumn, thin and dry, and scratching at a cold grey sky.

A bee flew in the car window and settled a moment on my knee. He regarded me calmly with his shiny compound eyes, and then, with a sorry-wrong-pew kind of nod he flew off, resuming his jagged journey.

Two women came along, one of middle years and one much older and stood a long time studying a stand of willows, pointing at it and talking.. They wore hats against the sun, and held aloft two large black umbrellas.

“Well, these two represent ONE attitude toward sunlight!” I thought before heading homeward, passing as I did the diametrically opposed point of view: five high school girls in bikinis lying on the flat roof over a house’s wide front porch. I only saw them because their knees jutted up. Then they swung side to side. Then a head appeared here and over there a torso. Then they all stood as if by one accord and arranged themselves anew and lay back down.

They looked to me like some complicated structure made of silk that a breeze was causing to billow and subside, billow and subside. They were loveliness itself.

Then I was home and sat for a spell in my driveway, looking around a little more.

On the radio the music stopped and a man began speaking with that soothing Public Radio voice. Just done with the news, he ended with the weather: “Rain arrives by evening, slowly from the west,” he said, and the phrase seemed like poetry with its near-majestic cadence. I looked at my windshield, stippled sure enough with a few fat raindrops.

It rained all that night and the next day too. But then the sun returned, bringing our first hot days. I felt, then and now, a silky relaxing of my own limbs and I think of another fine and cadenced phrase, this from the song that is Solomon’s:

“The flowers appear on the earth. The time of the singing of birds is come.”

And not a moment too soon for most of us.

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