Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Simple Pleasures And A Magical Moment

You know what I'm doing right now (besides writing my blog)?  I'm sitting on my back porch watching the sparrows come and go on the bird feeder.  I'm also watching a few butterflies that have taken a liking to the shrubs on the other side of the porch railing.  The sky is blue, there's a nice breeze and for the first time in a few weeks the temperature is a mild 79 degrees with low humidity.  There's nothing earth shattering about any of it, but it's good.  Simple, but good.

The best thing about simple pleasures is that you don't have to go far to find them.  More often than not, they find you.  A little while ago, for example, while I was sitting here quietly, a hummingbird stopped by to check out the petunias in my hanging baskets.  This amazing little creature hovered effortlessly above a flower, not more than six feet away from me, for several minutes.  It wasn't the first time I'd ever seen a hummingbird, but it was a wonderful surprise.

Back in February, when temperatures were in the single digits and it seemed the snow would never stop falling, I promised myself that I was going to enjoy every last bit of summer this year and make the most of all the simple pleasures that summer brings.  As promised I've spent many a lazy afternoon swimming or just floating around in the pool. We've gazed at the night stars from the comfort of our new (older, but new to us) hot tub. I've kept the majority of our plants and flowers alive and looking good. We've cooked on the grill numerous times (though we do that year-round). We've watched movies, eaten meals and listened to music at the bar on the back porch. We've been to the flea market. I've spent hours watching and identifying the birds and butterflies that frequent our yard and I've talked and laughed about things that matter and things that don't with my husband and my children.  I couldn't ask for much more.

But there is more.  Last week was overcast.  We didn't get much rain, but the sky was dull and gray for days.  On Friday night, around 8:00, the clouds started to lighten and the sky took on a pink and yellow cast that was just beautiful.  We stepped outside to get better look and we were instantly amazed.  The light had a magical quality that I can't even begin to describe.  It changed the colors of everything in the yard.  There was a soft, pink glow everywhere.  Flowers that are normally purple were pink.  Our neighbor's yellow house was peach.  Every detail, from the smallest blade of grass to the tallest tree seemed to be standing out in a muted, yet somehow vibrant technicolor.  Remember when Dorothy steps into Oz for the first time?  That's what it was like.  As cheesy as it sounds, I told Mr. Willoughby that the world had taken on the color of memory.  He said it felt like being in a rainbow.   It was softly faded, but brilliant.  Fleeting.  And truly magical.  You definitely can't ask for more than that.


Tracie said...

I'm glad you're enjoying your summer! It will be snowing again before we know it. (Ugh!)

ChristineM said...

What a beautiful post! I know exactly what you're talking about - I love those moments!

You reminded me of when I was on maternity leave with Grace, five years ago...every afternoon at 1:00 PM or so, I'd be nursing her in the family room, and every day a hummingbird would flutter over to the empty feeder on the deck, zip over to the sliding glass door to peek in at us, as much to say "HEY! How 'bout some nectar?!?!" then flutter away. I've loved hummingbirds every since! :)

5thsister said...

What a pleasure it was to come home from work to see this beautifully written essay in my reader! I always adore your writings and this is no exception. Please don't be a stranger!

Joanna Jenkins said...

It doesn't sound cheesy at all, Willoughby. It sounds lovely. You told this story so well.

Glad you are enjoying your summer.

Cheers, jj

Betty said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed your summer vacation.
So glad you're back!

Have a great Monday dearest!
B xx

Chicago Mom said...

Isn't it amazing what the sun and clouds can do to the light? The other night here was a bit stormy and at twilight the haze was gray/green and made everything look ominous and scary. I like your "pink look" better!

Christine Forest, M.D. said...

I join you in sharing the magic of usually neglected precious moments. You captured them so well. I feel so much more relaxed!

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

I would love to summer in Michigan :)
I've been cooped up here in Virginia with all time record heat. It's been insane.

And the light you described? It reminded me of something I saw once in Wisconsin...the light there was amazing. John Steinbeck even made mention of it is his travelogue "Travels With Charley." It sounds like yours was incredible--thanks for sharing it!

I appreciate that you stopped by today--thanks for your encouragement!

The girl with the flour in her hair said...

What a beautiful post. I love the way you describe things. And I'm glad your summer has been so magical... :)

Jenny said...

I told Mr. Willoughby that the world had taken on the color of memory