The first of June and a long, hot summer ahead but today, I am grateful for the signs and sounds of our pre-summer solstice. The back door is open and a baby bird is peeping for her breakfast of juicy worm porridge. Where are her delinquent mother and father? Our cat is slinking around as the sounds of the birds always pick up her pace. A momma bluejay is onto her plans and swoops down to flatten the attacker’s ears as the villain quickly seeks shelter under our dusty trailer. I opt for iced coffee this morning and the glass sweats in the morning air. Now it is cool but I predict by lunch the a/c will kick on if not before. The back of my aging legs are stiff from the prior day of weeding and thinning of a backyard oasis of herbs, perennials and ground cover. The yellow cannas are sprouting up everywhere along with purple salvia and the pea gravel walkway is littered with weeds. But after an hour’s worth of weeding, it is passable again. I have been thinking of replacing the pebbles with a tiled walkway to keep the weeds at bay. Maybe I should tile the whole backyard as sore as my lower back feels this morning. But then I would miss discovering the roly polys and the baby lizards hiding in the undisturbed garden beds all around the backyard. The Japanese maple is bright red, almost pink, in the sunshine and has grown taller than the roofline of the workshop out back. We nurse it through the arid summer with both water from the rain barrel and city supplies. It is our indulgence as every other planting must make it through with far less care. We lost two red tip photinias last year to the drought and passing of old Father Time. They served us well for nearly twenty years only to be replaced with hardier and less thirsty varieties this time around. My tummy is rumbling for breakfast and a hot shower is calling my name to start the day. My to-do list this day is all mine so I plan to seize it. My morning love note to life was first on the list. Check.