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The Magical Hours

Water patterns reflect on the tree trunks, illuminating the bark and lichen in a dance of morning light. The wave patterns slowly fade as my bathing suit air dries in the early warmth. Birds and chipmunks fill the air with a soundtrack of their greatest hits. It’s going to be a scorcher today, they seemed to agree.

The house wren that moved into the bluebird house dominates the conversation, but the chipmunks have a lot to say too. Until I stand up and abruptly reset the agenda from banter to assessing the new guy. In the sudden hush I catch the sound of a woodpecker, unseen, seeking a meal in a tree somewhere in the woods. The bass tone indicates deep work.

It’s such a short time, these magical hours spent in outdoor spaces when everything in the world just seems perfect. No bugs, no pollen, no shoes, no problems. That these days exist at all is a blessing. I imagine this is why people live in Southern California, where every day is this kind of perfect. Here we take what we can get while it’s here, and boy do we love it when it’s here.

Early mornings are reserved for the knowing few. I catch a glimpse of a neighbor out watering potted plants as I do the same with my own. We nod a greeting to each other and return to the work at hand.

The garden isn’t the same as Mother Nature. Magic doesn’t just happen in a garden, you’ve got to put the work in. These are the days when you’re rewarded (or punished) for the work invested in a yard and garden. Harvest is still weeks or months away for the vegetables, but we’re entering peak season for the flowers.

How do you know when you’ve reached a peak? When the world aligns in moments of wonder? When everything just seems to click for you? Or do you have to wait until you’ve declined from your peak, when things aren’t going as well and you see, maybe for the first time, just how good that moment was?

I’m past peak when it comes to athletic performance, but haven’t yet peaked in my learning. If fitness is the flowers in your garden, learning and mental development is the fruits and vegetables, often taking until the very end of the season to fully develop. Like flowers your fitness level doesn’t have to stop midway through your season, and like vegetables you can find enlightenment well before the end of your season.

There are no hard and fast rules in life or gardening, but there are seasons to honor and work to do in each. In each day there are moments available to appreciate the blessings that have come your way. Those magical hours that seem to fly by so quickly when life seems just about perfect in every way.

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