Baby pink camellias. Butterfly bushes. Bradford pear tree blossoms. Tiny leaves on the weeping willow where two weeks ago the limbs hung, bare. Daffodils. The temperature has risen above 50 degrees every day for the past few weeks. Beware the ides of spring. The geese forage for food. The geese swim in groups of three to five, little armies on patrol. The breeze cools my face, flushed from the knowledge of last summer’s heat wave. I mourn winter.
A couple poses for photos, probably for their engagement. I feel my eyes roll. Her dress is too small for this weather; she tries not to hunker down into herself, looks like she wants to suck the chill bumps in with her breath and practiced smile. I hear several birds calling but I’m still unable to identify them by sound alone. I wonder about all the mulch they put down under the willow oaks and why. Won’t it just wind up in the pond? Sediment.
There’s a solitary white duck making his way to the geese. I wonder where she came from. I don’t know why I assume it’s a female. She follows close behind a group of four -the last link in the chain, dangling. A tow headed child wobbles toward the pond. Another group of geese scatter. I miss my quiet, rainy days here. There will be more and more people coming as days mount into warmer months. They’ve already turned the fountain back on and for a moment, I understand that cantankerous old Ed Abbey. Just leave me be. In the woods. To the woods. With the birds and the squirrels. But I won’t abandon my car or live in a yurt, either.
A large goose sits down about twenty feet away. He preens. His neck bends impeccable shapes, reaching everywhere it needs to. Another dries himself in long strokes of beak down feather and simple shakes from head to tail like my dog the minute water hits him in our porcelain tub. Their heads glisten dewy black. The sitting fellow tucks his beak for a moment, then comments on the two that are either trying to mate or trying to fight, it’s hard for me to tell from this angle. He repeats the pattern. I wonder if he ever gets rest.
The couple snuggles on a bench across the way. “Dude, this tree’s kind of badass,” she says, and climbs in.
It’s a crepe myrtle. I’m allergic to their pink and white flowers. They bloom all summer. I’m starting to dislike them. I’m grouchy that way. The goose’s tail feathers catch the breeze, tilt up. I long to run my hand over his neck and back. He moves further away.