It’s that time of year when the yards are scraggly with the riotous growth of grasses reaching for the sun, and dandelions that began as golden ruffs, but are now a misty gray gauze supported on pinkish hollow stems. Even in the most unkempt gardens, I can make out peony and iris, carefully set out long ago and since sprawled far beyond the confines of neat borders. A single mourning dove calls outside my window from the oak, and he sounds unlike any dove I’ve heard, clipped. It makes me wish I knew more about birdsong, and I wonder if he knows he’s different… if he’s lonely. Mourning doves mate for life. The trees have foregone their sculptural starkness, and staccato rasping of naked branch on branch, and have donned Rococo ruffles in tender shades of green. They whisper and chatter. The unbroken azure sky takes on a less jarring shade, muted and hazy with the exhaled breath of a thousand maples, birches, and pines. And when the creatures of day have withdrawn in the gathering dusk, and sapphire dips into indigo and rosy violet light, the peeping chorus of frogs rises into a crescendo with the appearance of the Milky Way. In the dark, my hands are gritty with earth, dark lines beneath ill-treated fingernails, heady with the aroma of fertile decay. Relentless drifts of snow have mixed a sweet elixir of last year’s life and mineral-laden water, enriching the soil with spring’s samsara. Rebirth. Inside, the dregs of hibiscus tea have evaporated into a claret-colored mandala on the bottom of my cup. I smile as I rinse it away, brewing perfectly glossy mahogany coffea arabica, taking up my book, and filling my lungs with exuberant vernal air.