This afternoon, an early birthday present from Himself appeared on the back deck: a 10x10 foot shade canopy for vampire-like me to sit under while I keep an eye on the kids as they swim in the pool. And he even dragged out a chaise lounge from the big shed for me to comfortably recline on while under it! (When we redo the deck, part of it will be permanently covered, but that project is probably a ways away yet.)
Then, tonight, I sat on the front stoop in blessed peace for some time, only the dog and a glittering lawn-full (really, an unusually large number) of fireflies for company. A huge yellow moon was rising behind the maple tree in front of me, one of the four along the road at the front edge of our property. And in the gaps between passing vehicles, all I could hear was occasional snatches of conversation from the neighbors' porch and the muffled jingling of the dog's collar tags as she sniffed around in the bushes.
Between this afternoon and tonight, there was a kids' birthday party (indoors, in one of those places filled with gigantic inflatable climbing structures) so loud and chaotic as to make me very happy to be back outdoors afterward. Why live in a place as beautiful as this if you don't sit out and enjoy it every once in a while?