Despite the mosquito risk, all evening all I wanted to do was sit outdoors and let the cooling air bring me sounds and smells of the changing seasons. The rains were insufficient to prevent more of the wild grasses from drying out, and the smell of herbal desiccation is now pronounced. The lawn, however has been irrigated and smells as fresh as ever. The warming trend has increased the amount of resin being released from the pine trees, but has also intensified the release of the jasmine's perfume. Other scents, some dry and some fresh, drift on the slight breezes. The whole air is redolent of the impending shift from spring to summer.
Dusk quiets some of the louder birds, such as jays and woodpeckers, but there will then come softer and more musical chirps and trills, from species I can't identify. They are species that like to feed in the woods or the open fields by day, I think, and only approach the domestic gardens at evening when they are ready to settle into their nests for the night. Commuters, in other words. Of course it's also possible that some of them may be nocturnal species that nest in our placid gardens and then wake to do their hunting in the various wilder places round about. I guess that would still make them commuters, though.
I don't commute, though my thoughts do like to wander afield as I sit watching the dusk conceal the drying world. It's when spring begins fading that I find my thoughts most likely to be drawn to the sea and when I most miss being within easy travel distance of the ocean. When summer comes then, waking to a sultry day, being momentarily disoriented while sleep yet clings to my mind, I will undoubtedly picture myself going off to Santa Monica for a few hours and then, shaking off the drowse, I will realize that Santa Monica is no longer nearby, nor is any other beach. I'd like the forest better this time of year were salt air among its scents.
On the Sea
by John Keats
It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with it's mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
Often 'tis in such gentle temper found,
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be mov'd for days from where it sometime fell,
When last the winds of Heaven were unbound.
Oh ye! who have your eye-balls vex'd and tir'd,
Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
Oh ye! whose ears are dinn'd with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody--
Sit ye near some old Cavern's Mouth, and brood
Until ye start, as if the sea-nymphs quir'd!