Tuesday early evening. Mike has left for his poker game. Chelsea is alternately lying with her front paws stretched out and crossed daintily in front of her and darting between a game of tag with a moth and scanning the lower gardens from the deck where I sit peacefully observing.
No mowers. No leaf blowers. No airplanes or buses. And especially brilliant, no barking dogs next door. For the past three years the space next door to us, which used to be a wooded lot, has been occupied by a rather unfriendly family and their never, ever silent German shepherds, Grisly and Harley. That's right, not one, but two.
As early as April when we were blessed by the first warm days this year, I began dreading another summer unable to open the windows or dine on the deck. I even began actively searching for get away places to spend July and August, quiet spots where I might be able to read, paint, or write without the constant attack on my nerves.
Not that I wished the family next door any misfortune, just that they'd disappear. You might have heard me yelp with disbelief and pleasure the day in June the for sale sign went up in front of their house. I cautioned myself, "It's a big, big house and their asking price is as big as his ego, so don't expect any action too quickly." And yet, tonight, although the sign is still there, they are gone - moved back to Florida, where they came from and which she loved. I'm so happy for all of us.
The sun is dropping now behind the western trees. The air has lost its almost August edge and a cool breeze is wafting the smell of somebody's grill from somewhere down the ridge. I hear only the rustle of squirrels performing their limb to limb acrobatics. The hummingbirds chiding one another as they hover for position at the sugar water. A mourning dove cooing a soft lullaby. The tap tap of the titmouse determined to open a black oiler. The chirping chorus of four stacked goldfinches swilling nyjer. And finally, the chit, chit of Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal - always the last to feed.
Go ahead, call me anti-social, but these are "my peeps," and in their sweet company, I am once again and always peaceful and delighted.