This Day is a Gift

This Day is a Gift
By Laurel Droz

“Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for eyes to see the sun. So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many.” Ecclesiastes 11:7

"Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind." Seals and Crofts

I like these early days of summer when the cottonwood drifts down like snow. I know, I know, it’s murder on the allergies but I still smile at it even as my eyes water.

It seems like such a wonderful bookend to the fat snowflakes of winter that it’s almost like a secret told with a wink: “Enjoy this, here, now, because winter is coming. But not today.”

The warm breath of the season smells like honeysuckle and the heat rising off the sidewalks almost seems to hum the way the wires do when it’s hot out. Plump, fuzzy bees buzz lazily from clover to clover. Ants hurry through their daily missions. A dragonfly whisps by urgently.

My children fly past me, in and out of the house, smelling like sunscreen or chlorine or dirt depending on where the day has taken us. The days are lazy but restless for them, with frogs to catch and trees to climb and trails to investigate. The neighbor boy proudly shows me a garter snake he’s caught and it’s hard not to wonder how reptiles like that survive the winter. How do you live through so many snowfalls to get to the time when you can bathe yourself in a sunbeam as the cotton drifts by? I guess they just know how to dig in deep, to tuck themselves away and trust that these days will come. And look— today those days are here.

I push the snowblower aside as I bring out the lawnmower. The snow shovel leans against the garage wall like a cowboy in an old western. “Howdy partner, be seeing you later I reckon, but not today,” I think with a smirk.  Today the snow is cotton.

This isn’t my first summer here. I know the cottonwood breathes its last sigh not too long from now. The lilacs have already wilted. Most of the dandelion puffs have flown. And in the rush of days between beaches and picnics, concerts in the park, bonfires and fireflies, it can all seem to go by both very slowly and very fast. Winter will return. But today the cottonwood is drifting. Tonight the frogs will sing. It’s summer for the bees and ants and snakes and dragonflies, for you and me, for the old and the young. This day— this moment of humming wires and climbing weeds, the smell of someone grilling in the distance, the laughter of children as they splash through a sprinkler, the gentle clink of ice in cool drink—this day is a gift. Rejoice in it all. Even the parts that make your eyes water.