Today, from my vantage point on a loungechair in the backyard after a swim, I watched a young woman push a stroller up the path beside my house. The stroller was covered with a blanket, and the young woman, wearing exercise shorts and sneakers, was looking at her phone while she pushed the stroller. She passed me four times.
I watched a grasshopper work up the courage to leap from the loungechair next to me. I worried that he was going to leap onto my chair, in which case I would have to yelp in fright, but he leaped over it instead and landed on the deck on the other side of me, a miraculous feat.
I watched delicate white butterflies flit from flower to flower in the garden.
I heard shells falling through the leaves as a squirrel, sitting in the big elm tree at the back of the yard, ate nuts and dropped the inedible bits onto the ground beneath her.
I watched a young man walk his bright green bicycle next to the fence separating the path from the golf course. I wondered why he wasn't in school, or if maybe he was an adult. I was too far away to tell. But he was wearing a helmet, so his age was indeterminate. (Helmets save lives, they say, but I am too old to wear a bicycle helmet.) He was looking for something, lost keys, perhaps, or lost golf balls. He picked up a large stick, dropped it, picked up something small, put it in his pocket, took it out of his pocket, threw it sidehand down the path in front of him. Moved on.
I watched another young woman push a stroller up the path, slowing down as she approached the young man with the bicycle. The stroller was streamlined for speed and the young woman was breathing heavily. Her strides became walking lunges. She disappeared up the path, working her glutes and quads.
I watched my cat appear out of the woods, mrrow a hello, whisk her tail and lie under the loungechair next to me in the shade. I watched her lick her paw, run it over her whiskers.
I heard the steady electric hum of hidden cicadas and the chirrup of crickets and the gentle rush of the wind through the branches of the trees.
I felt the heat of the sun on my chest and legs, the cool of the breeze on my bare skin.
I watched an older couple walk their dog, who found the stick the young man had picked up and dropped. The dog was pretty stoked at this discovery, leaping and bounding and wagging his tail. I wondered absently what it was about sticks that so excited dogs. Nature or nurture?
I watched golfers drive by in their carts, enjoying the warm nearly-autumn sun. I hoped for the young man's sake that they lost some golf balls.