My husband Jon needs to practice his electric guitar, so I spend the morning outside, sweeping up the mounds of maple helicopter seeds that cover our deck. I read once that a proliferation of seeds means a tree is dying. I look up at the maple and see the skeletal branches under the leafy ones. I fret. I fret about everything. The dying maple, our cat spraying inside the house, the toilet leaking when it rains, things I’ve neglected to do.
Not long ago, on our way out of the Kroger parking lot, I said to Jon, “I keep meaning to pick up my dry cleaning.”
He put on the brakes, pointing to the dry cleaners, and said, “Well? It’s right there. Might as well do it now.”
I hesitated. He pointed again. “It’s right there.”
“My clothes have been there for a really, really long time.”
I fumbled for the wrinkled pink receipt in my wallet. “Fifteen months.”
“Tell them you’ve been in a coma.”
I fell in love with Jon for many reasons but high on the list was his sense of humor. Now, as I sweep the helicopters off the deck—worrying about flora, fauna, toilets and clothes—I suddenly hear not electric guitar scales but horns and strings. Dreamy, melodic, ethereal. Like a soundtrack for the sunlight filtering through leaves, glinting in emerald. Sweeping the deck feels like a waltz.
The music is Jon, playing with an effects pedal and his guitar, revealing another brilliant layer of himself. He is unaware that it sounds like a symphony from up here, that it stills my shaky hands, that I’m swooning all over again.