A long stretch of newly baled hay adorned the field to my right, filling the air with a heady fragrance. Wind-swept clouds danced across the sky. Traffic abated long enough for me to reach the bridge at a clip. As my front tires eased onto the metal, I glanced at the river. Waves rippled away from the unseen expanse above which I traveled. On the western edge, I took the long slow exit down to Front Street, passing a worker in his yellow vest. He raised a thermos in my direction. I smiled and lifted my fingers from the steering wheel in reply.
I could make this trip on any morning. The field would be tall with grass or ready for harvest. The worker would bear a jacket on his shoulders or short sleeves beneath dusty coveralls. Big rigs would barrel past, heavy with a load or empty, headed home. The bridge would rise, bringing traffic to a stop, or remain steady for workaday folks journeying by land.
Morning, Rio Vista, June 2019; my life in seven minutes, warmed by the summer sun and sheltered beneath a tender sky.
From The Vision of Sir Launfal
James Russell Lowell – 1819-1891
And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there’s never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature’s palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,—
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop over-fills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
‘Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For other couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer’s lowing,—
And hark! how clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!
It’s the twenty-sixth day of the sixty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.