|Celosia or Cockscomb|
Laced in a ribbon of perfection was this gift of unbelievable proportion that can only be appreciated by those who have been given so many gifts in their gray-haired days and this afternoon it fell in my lap. Reading a P.D. James mystery, which requires some work on my part as my short term memory is challenged with the introduction of each new but well-described character, I took a glass of white wine out on the deck with the book in hand and fell into the chair sighing as I leaned back in the dappled shade of a late autumn afternoon. Chores were done and party plans for a volunteer who was departing had been completed.
As I rested my head, I looked high in the clear blue sky directly above and saw between the dance of still-green leaves two osprey playing in sweeping lazy circles, perhaps getting into a Zen mood for their long journey south in the coming weeks. The angle of the sun caught the soft snowy white of the underside of their wings with each circle they made. Their dance had been well rehearsed in years before and it was a synchronized ballet of love and friendship as the steady breezes of changing weather caressed their backs and lifted them higher.
I turned back to my book, but soon was distracted by three red-naped flickers whose rusty call demanded my attention. They were thrilled at the full larder in some dead tree limbs high above or perhaps they were just joyful at the perfect weather that had finally arrived after a hot summer. They hopped from tree top to tree top in noisy joy acting like teenagers given an early break from school.
Before I could return to the story of the novelist who had hung himself (or was it actually murder?) the ducks in the river started laughing like old men as if some dirty joke had been told. Their flat quacking laughter carried all the way up the river. I could just see the Vs cutting the surface of the green water through the tree trunks as they moved back and forth calling names and laughing.
The final gift on this precious afternoon was the lilting song of the common house wren perching on the snag of a nearby tree to celebrate sunset. The call was so pure and sweet and phenomenal because it came forth in such silver song from such a small brown bird.
Who needs pearls, rare orchids or Swiss chocolate when my neighbors provide this talent for free?