by J.D. Roth
Summer has arrived, and so too, at last, has the sun.
Kris and I now spend our evenings roaming the yard. She prunes flowers and weeds her tomato plants. I tie up my grape vines or mow the lawn. The cats wander to-and-fro, attending to their cat agendas, stopping briefly to greet us when there is nothing more urgent to do.
The strawberries are nearly finished, as are the peas. The raspberries are bountiful, but their texture is odd: the fruit is small and crumbly. The lowbush blueberries have just begun to ripen — they’re fat and juicy. Our marionberry or boysenberry (we can never remember which) is enormous. It stretches the entire twenty-foot length of the berry trellis, its thick and thorny vine like something from Sleeping Beauty. It has produced thousands of little fruits, which have begun to change from pink to red, and which will soon grow purple and delicious.
Last night while examining the apple trees, I was treated to a chorus of cheeps from the corner of the yard. It sounded as if scores of baby birds were crying out in hunger. I walked over to find their nest (or nests). The birds were in the big camellia at the corner of the house. But they weren’t baby birds. The tree was filled with a swarm of bushtits.
In a fit of orneriness, I spread my arms and ran headlong into the camellia, hoping to raise a cloud of bushtits from its branches. Instead, I only raised a puff: about twenty or thirty of the little birds took wing, seeking refuge in the locust.
Later, Kris summoned me to the yard. “Look,” she said, pointing at Simon. He was crouched lawn in the grass, creeping toward the rose garden. I looked to where he was staring, and there was the flock of bushtits, flitting from bloom to bloom.
Tiff’s friend, Andrea, has been visiting from Philadelphia for the past week. Kris and I have joined them for a couple of meals, once at Mike’s hamburger stand, and once at Nicholas’ lebanese. Yum. Andi is a photographer, and a good one. She earns a living with her images. I took some time to pick her brain, especially about iStockPhotos, where she sells a lot of her work. Thanks for being patient with me, Andi! (Andi’s flickr stream.)
Updated: 21 June 2006