This Moment: Side Deck - 8:27 A.M. 23 August 2012

The morning air feels like an over-starched shirt. The days of summer are numbered. A man lumbers down the sidewalk in his green shirt, hauling his body as if it were a load of cordwood. The small dog is on the bed, his hind leg striking repeatedly as if it were rock on flint. Now he has settled into snapping at a fly. In little less than a month, the vibrant blooms of my flower gardens will darken and shrink into themselves. Soon the world will turn the hue of embers, dusty khaki, withered cornflower, then a stark bluish white. Yesterday, an enormous crow double-hopped across my back lawn to my back door. It knew I was only a few feet away, yet it advanced. I've read crows recognize human faces. I wonder if it knew me, if it has watched me the last few months as I planted and weeded and picked. If it hopped up my sidewalk every day, would I then be able to distinguish it from it's fellows when flew overhead? I am reminded of the dove that stood its ground as I approached last week. It did not fly away, even when I stood only inches away. The peach tree is bent with the weight of it's fruit. Three geese call out as they fly overhead, then disappear into the sun. A cluster of red tomatoes in the tangle of green vines, resemble grapes. A police siren wails, then suddenly stops, clipped. The jets have begun their assault on the morning's silence. I think to shake a futile fist at them. The old dog watches me from the sidewalk. The black fur around her eyes is streaked with white. Her eyes are alert, despite the blurry cataract light that dims them. The small dog curls it's warm body into my arm and sighs heavily. He shifts, scratches, then commences his elaborate bath, licking his fur clean, until he breaks off and meets my watching eyes. If I were to describe his expression, I would say guilt-ridden. Of course, in reality, it is an affect of submission to me, the alpha of the household. He rolls to his side and offers his small, warm belly. If I were able, I would enter the secret world of animals, I would roll on my back and offer myself up to a careful and loving hand.

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