These going-on evenings.
Evening sets in at about 8 nowadays, and it lasts until about 10:30. Tonight, when my Pilates for Beginners class let out, I decided to cut home across the weedy fen, since it was still well light even at 9:10. The sky was every light pastel, illuminant grey to glowing rose to tender blue. When I reached the little footbridge over the Cam, I heard the telltale peeps of tiny birds; looking down, I saw four tiny ducklings, almost tiger-striped in their markings, following their mother into a nest at the base of one of the bridge's supports. Techno drifted across the fen, coming from some pub or another where some students or another must be celebrating finishing their exams, or something. A woman sat, swaddled in her clothes and wearing dark gloves, on a park bench and seemed to be meditating. Four cows grazed in the high grasses, only their broad red backs visible, and the muddy footprints they left when they wandered across the paved path to get to where they were. When one looked up at me, off in the distance, I waved back.
Ducklings remind me: I am especially fond of baby things these days--baby birds, puppies with their big floppy feet, tiny people. (What I didn't tell you when it happened is that the littlest Lexingtonian is now one and poised on the brink of walking. She and I have spent many an hour kissing each other across the impossible distance of our computer screens while I have lived here; I am still wondering what she will make of me when I turn up again in the flesh. Obviously, I'm hoping that she will like my real being as much as she seems to like my computer-conveyed one.)
In a not unrelated development, I finally checked my class lists for my fall courses and discovered just how many of my students will be people I've taught before. One of them drops in for a visit tomorrow, and I would be hard-pressed to explain how happy I am about this.