A dragonfly hovers above the birdbath, skimming in a flurry of silver and aquamarine. Such compact elegance. I’ve never researched it but to hover in midair like that must take a lot of effort. Those wings which turn gauzy with the sun must move at over a hundred beats a minute. The water churns slightly, as if a sigh has arisen from the depths of the garden and the dragonfly, startled, flies straight upward, pulled on a string. In under a minute he is lost in the sky.
A cockatoo flies into my neighbour’s mulberry tree, scattering fruit. The ground is stained dark purple-red. My neighbour will be furious. She scrubs her tiles with salt and lemon juice to keep the stains at bay. She cleans them at least three times a week. Sometimes the smell of salty lemon is so overpowering I have to go indoors. It is worse than peeling onions.
The cockatoo closes and opens one eye, winking. He is cheeky. The feathers below his neck are stained with mulberry juice. He holds the fruit with one foot while he nibbles with his beak, as dainty as if he is attending a garden party. His little tongue darts in and out, sucking out the sweetness. Every now and then he sings contentedly.
Two geckos bask in the sun, close as lovers. Their tails touch at the tips. It is a gecko first date. They look at one another and open their mouths as if to speak, then settle down onto the warm ground. They breath in synchronicity, heads leaning in together.
Three butterflies come. Small and white, playing follow the leader. They are ballerinas dressed in silk, so perfect I can hardly believe it. They pause on a bright orange hibiscus and for a moment their tutus are sprinkled with gold.
The clouds are stretched out, flossy and thick. I dream of a dress the colour of the sky, so remarkable it would make people turn and stare or stop for a second look. I would float a little in that dress, my imperfections forgotten.
If I was able to put the true meaning of a prayer into words then this sunny afternoon would be it. Wild, precious, vast, rising gracefully into night. I could be wrong but this sunny afternoon could be my own personal heaven. I wouldn’t mind living in a garden if it could always be like this.