There is a certain beauty of a cloudy day in June: The sun shines brightly behind the grey cotton of the clouds showing a thousand different textures woven into a tapestry of pale yellow, dove grey and chambray blue. The light is filtered and softened. There is no squinting on a day like this, and small details that might be lost to the glare on a brighter day are more apparent to the eye.
There's a park just down the street from me, with a trail that follows the river's edge. I walked it this morning, enjoying the quiet.
The river is lower now than it was just a week ago, and the swimming hole accessed of the riverside trail is now calm enough to entertain visitors.
It was too early for the noisy, happy pack of small boys who ride their bikes to the river each day, but a grinning golden lab was swimming back and forth in the still pool, retrieving a stick thrown over and over again by his patient owner. Such boundless enthusiasm! I am quite sure he wanted to continue the game long after his owner had tired of it but, instead, he bounded down the trail to greet me with a mighty shake, sharing his bit of the river with me and with all his surroundings.
Along the trail, the mighty cottonwoods leaned in, their branches reaching down as if to greet me. It rained last night and - refreshed - they sweetened the air with a scent that was almost flower-like. I kept pausing on the path to close my eyes and breathe in the perfume. It is a transient thing, that sweetness, and will be gone as soon as the weather warms, but scent forms the strongest of memories. I'll be able to summon it now, even in the darkest days of winter.
At the edges of the shade, bright shoals of buttercups glowed in the green; small fragments of sunshine that love the damp ground. Cursed by gardeners for their tenacious ways, buttercups serve a purpose here; stabilizing the soil when the waters rise with autumn's rains.
Small, quiet streams wind their way down to the edge of the river, interrupted in places by still pools, their waters so clear that you can see every pebble at the bottom. Small silver trout swim there: fingerlings released from the hatchery nearby. They are irresistible bait to the area's fishing birds. This morning I stood for a while and watched a bright kingfisher make his way back and forth from an overhanging branch, diving sure as a spear throw into the water of one of the pools, and each time returning with a flashing, silvery trophy.
Finally, knowing Monday awaited me with all her chores and busy-ness, I left the trail and made my way back home. I dawdled along the way, admiring rose bowers and gardens and the brilliant blue of a damsel fly resting on a white fence rail and then, having made a pleasant, peaceful start to my day, I returned home ready to attend to my chore list with a happy heart.
I hope that whatever the weather where you are, and whatever your schedule requires of you today, you find a moment or two to put aside your busy-ness and savour the gifts of the day. Have a marvelous Monday.