Front porch, facing east on a Sunday morning in April.
The lake is shimmering at me, set off nicely by reddening tree buds and spring willows. Lawns are green as green can be, and in stereo surround sound are the birds with all they have to say in these early weeks.
A house finch, purple finch? I can never tell the difference, is insistently telling me something from my nearby flowering cherry shrub. When I do not give the correct response, he moves to the wisteria to my left and tries again. I hear you, Finchy, but I do not know what you are saying.
Catching my peripheral vision, a hawk flaps by on quiet wings. Now it soars over the lake, catching some updrafts that it couldn't find here in the stillness of the yard. It is so nice, for once, to be without wind. My ears grow tired of the sound of it, and its absence is peaceful.
Two water birds skim across the lake's surface, one after the other, while a squadron of iridescent tree swallows swoop and dive among our young trees. Frogs chuckle and sing for each other in the nearby swamp.
As my fingers tapped those words, a huge rush of wings to the south and a single sandhill crane passes low, straight through our airspace, and I am without words to convey its wildness and beauty.
For only a few moments, all sounds of motors fade, along with barking dogs and scolding owners. These are the best moments of all. If I close my eyes, I can pretend that the earth has finally freed itself from our influence and exists in the harmony and balance for which it was meant.