This morning the world is a blaze of sunshine softened by fall’s cool air, the sky an indigo canopy soaring wide and deep. A wedge of water ripples behind a boat’s slow drone, and through a screen of leaves I glimpse the clear round shoulders of mountains sloping gently toward the distant shore.
We might take out the boat, or kayak, or walk, or sleep, or read, or do all this. The day stretches in easy promise, beckoning us with its lack of an agenda. I worked hard this week, did a few kind things, prayed, loved a little, read the bible, but nothing to come near deserving the day grace has bestowed with such beneficence.
A hummingbird tries to fly through our window, a window that soars from floor to ceiling, cathedral-like in this house designed by my husband to maximize our view of mountains, trees, water and sky; a view that sparkles with blues and greens at midday, paints crimson brush strokes at dusk and fades to charcoal when night tiptoes across the lake.
The hummingbird buzzes to the safer territory of treetops, then darts beyond my straining vision. A great, clumsy turkey buzzard, its wings frayed and ragged, swoops into view, wobbling slightly, hindered by its bulk. Sometimes a flock of buzzards land in our trees, branches dipping in protest. They perch, a brooding presence, until some invisible signal sends them off at once, a chaos of flapping wings.
The first time my husband saw one he thought it was an eagle until I convinced him with my Google evidence that it was a buzzard, black and rough without the eagle’s grace and plumage.
“I’ll pretend they’re eagles,” he said, watching a buzzard loop higher and higher before disappearing behind a bank of clouds.
I think the hawks more closely resemble eagles, confident in their fluid flight, gliding and plunging, soaring again, riding air currents with scarcely a stir of their broad, brown wings. I only saw an eagle once on this lake, and it was so far away I wasn’t positive it wasn’t a buzzard.
Last night moonlight streamed into our bedroom and seemed to frost the trees with silvery snow, but today leaves are verdant and green, trembling slightly beneath a radiant sky. In a week or so the leaves will turn, their red and orange and gold mirrored by the lake.
Maybe today we will feel the cool drip of water from our kayak paddles, see the silver flash of leaping fish or watch children swim, sun-browned bodies slick and glistening as young seals. At day’s end we might climb slowly from dock to deck, watch a sunset flame, then dim to soft pastels until trees are dark silouettes framing night’s approach.
Sometimes God suprises me with joy. It can be in the smooth glide of a hawk, the splash of a swimming child or a sunset’s dying flare. Suddenly I feel like flinging my arms wide and dancing for the sheer unexpectedness of it. I wonder, is it a travesty to feel such joy when bad things happen, when people suffer and die in the world, when I have my own problems lurking like shadows behind a prayer, or is it a testament to the human spirit and God’s grace?
This story is a response to writer’s prompt #12: Describe something using a much intricate detail as possible.