Together we pull weeds, Bethi and I, with only a comment or two, perfect comradeship without words, because we are both doing something we love together. A gentle breeze blows just often enough to make the heat almost unnoticed, and centipedes travel rapidly past our fingers, unafraid of our invasion of their territory, unlike the timid pill bugs. We are gleeful over the simple facts that the lettuce is still standing, the bell peppers have finally shown their tiny leaves, the tomatoes which were wilting are now standing straight and growing in height from careful attention. "I don't know why, but I think I like weeding the best out of gardening," Bethani muses. The straight rows rising out of what was once chaos is satisfying.
The sun is beating down almost unbearably on anything that dares to show it's face to the out-of-doors; the sun is so bright, it is almost dizzying. But the garden is a friend, and it needs a helping hand even more on such a day as this. The carrot tops, feathery, abundant, thickly green, hide many weeds under canopies formed by intertwining plants, beginning to think of needing more room The squash shows little buds, the promise of fruit for our attentive care. Mental notes to transplant that pepper and stake the top-heavy tomato plants; the ground is hard and dry; it doesn't feel like anything could live in it. But the mist of water spreads it's beautiful prisms of color across the enclosure as the sun glints off it's surface, the gentle drops of liquid soak into the earth, and the ground is transformed into a life giving home for these spears of green.
I'm called to the window to see the little bunny that is nibbling clover under our double dining room windows. He's promptly named Timmy; and almost as quickly called Tiny Tim, for even a bunny is not exempt from having an endearing nickname. He seems to know we are watching, ready to run if the noises he hears turn out to be alarming, but he's not truly afraid, and seems to feel that the half hour of twilight is one to be enjoyed. He nibbles some more, and then lazily hops across the yard, and enjoys a long stalk of grass. Then he ambles and hurriedly hops by turns to the wooden yard fence, to creep along it through the bushes to his home in the woods. We expect to see him again; he has shown up just enough of late to make us feel as if we are a regular stop.
A light flashes in the dusk; it grabs my attention and I stand riveted at the window rather than hurrying past as I intended. Another and another blink on for a lingering moment, and then fade to be replaced by another. The display is simple and beautiful, reminding me of being seven years old and sitting out in my grandparents yard after a Fourth of July party, watching the fireflies put on their own light show. They are just as vivid and special this night, and their fairy sparkles over my garden fill me with a strong feeling of whimsy not often noticed, but cherished for it's briefness. I step out onto the deck, rid myself of the confining, distancing glass door. Here I am a part of the gentle night noises, the quiet stillness, surrounded by the twinkling lights that show the creativity and love for beauty that my Father not only created, but placed in me to love.
Summer is here in full in South Carolina, and though the moment it arrives is difficult to tell, for often it feels it never truly ends, these little things are proof of the change, and a reminder that the simple moments can be breathtakingly beautiful and a gift contentedly taken is always a joy to the one who receives it.