After the Storm

It’s not yet May and already some of my dandelions have gone to seed.  Maple trees are sprouting in my perennial bed.  Uncertainty hangs thick in the air as we wait for the predicted thunderstorm.  I cut away a handful of lilacs and dogwood blossoms before the wind can snatch them away and dash them to the sidewalk.  I want to preserve the spring; to hold onto the scent of lilacs through an open window. 
The storm comes and goes in a rush and my lilacs have survived and I have just enough time for a walk before dark.
At house number 242, phlox, purple and white, spills over stones in the front garden.  Across the street, a teenager practices his street hockey on inline skates.  His radio plays behind him: a fast-talking huckster is selling something or other.  Two women walk briskly towards me, arms pumping with every step, talking a mile a minute.  Around the corner, a thin man with thin red hair and a matching beard stands and smokes in front of his parked car waiting for his mother and brother to finish talking to the neighbors (spiffed up and returning home from dinner) about Mom who is upset tonight but would really appreciate some company tomorrow; she really needs to talk. 
Tulips—yellow and white, even striped and so dark a red, they nearly seem black—gather to gossip among the dying daffodils.  The colors of spring—the reds and the greens and the violets and the yellows—are so sharp; it almost hurts to look at them. 
Someone’s front license reads Kindness.  Across the street, a bumper sticker reads NRA.  Robins sing, but the peepers haven’t yet put in an appearance.  In a preserved area of marsh and unbuildable land, blackbirds cling to swaying grasses.  A train whistle blasts and the birds alight before resettling, chattering excitedly.  A lost mallard flies overhead, so low I can feel the beating of its wings.
The clouds—thick and dark here, thin and billowing there—birth rays of fading sunshine.  A rainbow arches over a house where a fat Retriever named Buster chews on his stuffed panda.  Through an open window, I hear someone playing The Entertainer.  Parents amble behind strollers, their children lazily kicking their feet.  
There’s a new house on the market.  The sidewalk is littered with white cherry blossoms.
The air is pregnant with the scent of rich, dark mulch.  There’s a gentle sprinkling of rain.  A decorative dog house is planted among petunias.  A squirrel rushes up a tree then leaps to a thin branch.  A fourth-grader shoots past me on his minibike; his brothers pop wheelies on dirt bikes. 
The sun settles itself among the clouds and youngsters are tucked beneath cool sheets and the ice cream truck drives past, its tinny soundtrack calling the children to watch at the front door and beg their parents for a dollar or two.
And as I turn the corner and head up the hill towards home, I see my purple lilac bush cast against the setting sun.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: After the Storm

Thursday, April 28, 2011

After the Storm

It’s not yet May and already some of my dandelions have gone to seed.  Maple trees are sprouting in my perennial bed.  Uncertainty hangs thick in the air as we wait for the predicted thunderstorm.  I cut away a handful of lilacs and dogwood blossoms before the wind can snatch them away and dash them to the sidewalk.  I want to preserve the spring; to hold onto the scent of lilacs through an open window. 
The storm comes and goes in a rush and my lilacs have survived and I have just enough time for a walk before dark.
At house number 242, phlox, purple and white, spills over stones in the front garden.  Across the street, a teenager practices his street hockey on inline skates.  His radio plays behind him: a fast-talking huckster is selling something or other.  Two women walk briskly towards me, arms pumping with every step, talking a mile a minute.  Around the corner, a thin man with thin red hair and a matching beard stands and smokes in front of his parked car waiting for his mother and brother to finish talking to the neighbors (spiffed up and returning home from dinner) about Mom who is upset tonight but would really appreciate some company tomorrow; she really needs to talk. 
Tulips—yellow and white, even striped and so dark a red, they nearly seem black—gather to gossip among the dying daffodils.  The colors of spring—the reds and the greens and the violets and the yellows—are so sharp; it almost hurts to look at them. 
Someone’s front license reads Kindness.  Across the street, a bumper sticker reads NRA.  Robins sing, but the peepers haven’t yet put in an appearance.  In a preserved area of marsh and unbuildable land, blackbirds cling to swaying grasses.  A train whistle blasts and the birds alight before resettling, chattering excitedly.  A lost mallard flies overhead, so low I can feel the beating of its wings.
The clouds—thick and dark here, thin and billowing there—birth rays of fading sunshine.  A rainbow arches over a house where a fat Retriever named Buster chews on his stuffed panda.  Through an open window, I hear someone playing The Entertainer.  Parents amble behind strollers, their children lazily kicking their feet.  
There’s a new house on the market.  The sidewalk is littered with white cherry blossoms.
The air is pregnant with the scent of rich, dark mulch.  There’s a gentle sprinkling of rain.  A decorative dog house is planted among petunias.  A squirrel rushes up a tree then leaps to a thin branch.  A fourth-grader shoots past me on his minibike; his brothers pop wheelies on dirt bikes. 
The sun settles itself among the clouds and youngsters are tucked beneath cool sheets and the ice cream truck drives past, its tinny soundtrack calling the children to watch at the front door and beg their parents for a dollar or two.
And as I turn the corner and head up the hill towards home, I see my purple lilac bush cast against the setting sun.

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