We’ve had several rainy cool days, back to normal for June. I drove into town this morning for the farmer’s market, and knew enough to have my camera at my side as I travelled the cut-across road along the head of the lake. I must take this two-lane, 70 mph highway every time I go into town, and this time of year, the scenery is so spectacular that it can be a dangerous trek. The sun rising behind me illuminated white sails on the lake to my left, and perfectly round hay bales on the right. In a week or so, photographers will be pulling off the road with their tripods to capture yellow canola fields beside red barns in front of blue mountains.
I stopped again on my return trip home and pulled into a deserted parking area for the waterfowl refuge on the lake side of the highway. It’s closed until July 15th, but I walked down an abandoned lane lined with cottonwood trees and wild roses. The leaves were loud and clacking as they rustled in the stiff clean wind off the water. I heard an owl. I took some photos but none of them can convey how sweet it smelled, how exciting the cool wind felt, or how hallowed it was to hear an owl close by. All I could think about was Mary Oliver’s poem:
A Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?