Mike Hall: Savoring the sights, sounds of summer - The Buffalo News
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Mike Hall: Savoring the sights, sounds of summer

It’s Sunday morning in the bright sunshine, with a blue sky and an occasional dab of white here and there. Most of the spring perennial flowers are gone but a few, the hearty ones, linger in vivid color mixed in with the bright faces of the summer annuals. The wind chimes patiently hang, waiting for a breeze so they can sing their tinkling songs.

The cats nap on the sunny side of the deck. You can tell they are still alive by the infrequent twitch of the tips of their tails. A hummingbird appears. He’s a rare visitor to this neighborhood. He calls on every blossom and, after a momentary appraisal of the surroundings to be sure he hasn’t missed any flowers, he departs as quickly as he arrived.

The stream of water flowing from the urn held by the Roman maid in the fountain sparkles like liquid diamonds before it gently splashes into the bowl. A mild breeze meanders in. The entire scene changes from quiet, stationary tranquility to gentle motion and soft sounds.

A few sparrows are encouraged to move from the lilac branches and to float down for a drink of water from the fountain. It seems that they enjoy navigating the gentle currents of air to make their way from the branches to the edge of the fountain for their drink. Perhaps a dozen more now, made braver by the courage of the first few, come to drink.

The rim of the fountain is getting crowded and they chip at each other as if demanding the best place on the rim to get a drink. There has been some silent unseen cue and in unison, with a great flutter, they all leap into the air and return to the lilac where they perch quietly on the branches and start preening their feathers.

The cats are awake now, aroused by the chirping and the flutter of wings. Their heads come up and their ears pop to attention scanning the scene, listening and sniffing the breeze to see if there are any aromas that might warrant caution or stealth. There apparently are none.

But the breeze has diminished the warmth of the sun that they had collected in their coats and now it’s time to go inside and find the patch of sunshine that always appears about this time of morning on the seat of the living room chair and that never has a breeze to steal the warmth they have collected. It’s plain to see by the way they move that they are peeved at having the breeze snatch their warmth, forcing them to move inside.

The flowers, which before were just spots of color amongst the foliage, are now moving gently from side to side in the same rhythm as a hand waving goodbye to a departing friend or the pendulum of a wall clock. They could be colorful brush strokes on a multihued green canvas. The breeze brings the scent of roses with it. The combined smell of sweetness and warm tea is unmistakable.

The wind chimes feel the breeze, too. Their songs pour forth in a random four-note profusion. Rich bass tones from the copper tubes and edgier trebles from the shorter, thinner aluminum bars. The variety of sound is intriguing.

A sudden glint catches the eye. A single strand of cobweb marks the passage of a spider from one railing of the deck stairs to the other. A sunbeam races from left to right and back again along the thread as it oscillates in the breeze. It’s a good morning to be alive.

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