When my sister and I were small
we sucked the nectar from the flowers of the honeysuckle vines.
We didn’t know then that in nature
sometimes the sweet is tempered by the bitter;
that sometimes joy is followed by sorrow.
Under the hot Dallas sun, we skipped–
barefooted across the grass,
so dry it was almost crunchy,
and more brown than green.
Carefree, and careless with our youth,
we drew hopscotch patterns on the concrete with stones.
And we skipped some more.
Day were endless,
but gone in a second—
the paradox of youth.
We were a nation of two
with our own games and rules.
We spoke in sister-speak and giggled
in the sunlit yard of childhood.
Later, our bodies sun-warmed
and our curls in tangles,
we watched from our living room window
as the hummingbirds sought the nectar
in those same fragrant honeysuckle vines.
They also embraced the sweetness of life
because their lives depended on it.
They hovered, and their tiny wings beat so furiously
as though they could make time stop.
And perhaps it did,
just for a moment,
frozen on this page.
They were so busy.
We were busy, too,
with dreaming and discovery,
the work of childhood.
©Merril D. Smith, 2014