Here in the May valley, fullness is at a peak. All the plants are fully leafed, but intensive insect damage hasn't begun. The leaves are fresh, whole, and perfect. Light in the sky is clear, unfiltered by haze, and the sun hasn't yet withered the grass.
Dillard is describing a perfect scene. Perfect plants. Perfect light. Perfect sky. Perfect grass. Of course, she is not a pie-in-the-sky kind of writer. She knows that, in a little while, the insects are going to show up and eat the leaves. The sun will transition from May to June and July, and the grass will shrivel up, turn yellow and brittle in the heat. Perfection is a mirage. Beautiful and fleeting.
I took my son to see The Secret Life of Pets tonight. A cute animated feature that he's been talking about for about a month. I got my buttered popcorn and Diet Mountain Dew, settled in, and listened to my son laugh his ass off for over an hour. It was, dare I say it, a perfect way to end the work week.
Then I came out of the theater and discovered that a bird had shit all over my new car. I'm not talking one little spot. It looked like the entire avian cast of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds had decided to use my vehicle as an outhouse. There you have it. Perfection giving way to reality.
Let me give you another example. After the movie, my son went to play with a neighbor boy. After a little while, my son came inside, near tears. It seems his friend, who is a couple of years younger than him, was riding a four wheeler by himself. "Not a baby one," my son said. "It was a big one that needs gas." And just like that, my son's perfect night of movie and play was ruined by the injustice of the situation. A little kid could ride a four wheeler, but he couldn't. "And he has his own phone, too," my son said.
As Dillard points out, perfection is illusory. There are always clouds of insects waiting to swoop in and devour the trees and bushes, brutal days of sun to dry up the green of summer.
Saint Marty is going to try to have a perfect night. Say his prayers early. Maybe read a good book. Of course, he'll probably end up dozing off on the couch and wake up with a severe case of gastrointestinal distress. Reality's a bitch.