The Neighborhood

The sky had the haze of not-too-distant fires, but the air was mercifully humid. I had stopped by for a Sunday morning visit with our friends who live up the hill. Little Virginia was wearing lavender pajamas and her hair was in a braid; she held up scented marker pens for me to sniff: watermelon, blueberry, even a red one called pizza. I chatted with Margaret for a while. She gave me some chocolate and I got back on my bicycle.

I detoured at the neighbors’ place to check on the chickens while their people are in Paris. I poked around the coop a bit and pulled open one of the doors to find a large brown hen sitting contentedly and immobile on her eggs. I removed one small egg that was easily taken, a delicate and perfect object, and wrapped it in my bandana to carry home like a treasure. The chickens cooed and murmured, and I made a mental note to bring them some treats next time.

A section of the gate was entwined with jasmines enveloping me in fragrance as I stood to unlatch it.  A canyon wren was singing. The ground was a patchwork of sun and shade, grass and gravel, and my wheels were poised for an easy roll home, but I lingered for long minutes, just listening.

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