Hang on to the good things

Summer has arrived in the western Catskills. We’re at least a couple of weeks behind the Hudson Valley. Just last week we had a frost.

Over the weekend, the crabapple tree was in full bloom. And it was covered with bees. Each blossom seemed to be humming. In just a few days, those blossoms are almost gone.

Today was hot and clear. I’ve finished creating a new flower bed beside the garage, and all the vegetables are planted. It was hot work, and Violet the dog stretched out in the grass nearby, her paws twitching as she dreamed.


I went back outside this evening. It was warm and soft, the first truly summery night we’ve had. The clouds glowed peach as the sun went down, and I decided to linger. The porch swing was beckoning.  It faces north, away from the road, with a view of the meadow behind us. I sat quietly.

I was hoping for bats.

When my children were young, there were dozens of bats every night. They swooped around the yard, and the kids and their friends would dash around the yard, trying to chase them.

We put up a bat house on the shed here. I’ve seen a couple of bats in past summers, and I’d like to encourage them to come and stay. I know their numbers are dwindling.

Tonight, there were no bats. But there were spring peepers calling in the brook across the street. The evening thrush was singing. A soft, warm puff of wind brought the scent of lilacs, not quite in flower yet. across the yard.

I’ve noticed different wildflowers bloom and fade, something I’m not sure I’ve done in the past. I notice birds. I hear their songs and I stop to listen.

I hope I hang on to the good things from this shutdown, this time of stress and sadness. One of them is the rediscovery of the value of slowing down. And another is noticing how incredibly beautiful this world is. I knew it, but my days were so full that I sometimes forgot. I hope I never forget again.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.