Just before dawn and the early morning breeze floats the sugary scent of the late summer Jasmine through the garden. My mother planted the Jasmine years ago and it has become as pure as any wild thing, stretching wire to wire between the diamonds of the fence. In the distance the train sounds its long, bellowing horn, as my small cat with a white mustache wanders to the Koi pond to lap up the water from a flat, brown rock at the pond’s edge. The orange fish shift beneath the water, flitting between the rocks and one another, their bodies like ghosts shifting though each other, only visible as dim glows beneath the rising sun and moon’s morning pallor. Milkweed grows in bursts along the pond. The long stems stretch to the sky and the butterflies and bulbous bees nurse the flowers between the leaves. Despite all of the beautiful flowers— the fire lilies with bright faces and tall postures and the roses that fall in nodding rows around the large stone bench— the air of this small world is suffocated by the jasmine.
Across the street, the neighbor’s red rooster bellows from a fence post. His call is deep and rich with the function of waking early for years and years, taking his post and giving his bugle call. It seems as if the world is a silent room and then the rooster wakes and everything begins to bustle. My enormous dog Sid and his little girlfriend Pip come from the back barn. Sid walks slowly, still groggy with the night dreams of ducks and little rabbits running about, and Pip, covered in mud from exploring the swamps behind the house, is flitting about like a humming bird, tripping Sid and biting at his neck. She stands by the French door’s of my parent’s house, looking into the orange glow. I can see my mother moving about in the kitchen, feeding the little black kitten and starting the morning coffee. She soon puts on shoes and comes through the door to Sid and Pip, to feed them at the barnyard doors. This being the best start to any good day for any good dog, each dance and skip between one another and around my mother before settling before their large silver dishes.
My mother then takes to the birds. She pulls a ladder from the barn and goes to each of the antique Oak trees that anchor the garden, filling the birdfeeders that seem to hang on every branch and every tree. The birds come about in reds and blues and blacks. The squirrels sit between the shoulders of the highest branches and watch my mother move from each tree to each. Once the feeders are full, she stands in the garden and looks around, but she does not see me. I sit in the grass beneath the orange tree that falls like a willow and slumps silently next to the doorway of my own house. My mother and I are both wearing chambray work shirts, though her sleeves are rolled to the elbows and mine has no sleeves at all. We both have that early morning blonde hair, wavy and light, hers, short like a full halo and mine long and aching. All of these similarities between us and she still does not see me beneath this tree. This is where the world stops acting out before me and I walk over for coffee and start shifting within the late summer scene.