Buckthorn

“See that tree?” My sister motions at a nondescript tree, with leaves – a deciduous tree among the pine and spruce and fir.

We are sitting on the back deck at happy hour. That’s what she calls the afternoon interval before dinner when she drinks a couple of glasses of white wine. Happy hour.

“That tree,” she continues. “Gets covered in little red berries…But they don’t ripen…They take so long…Not even in October…They’re finally ripe…So then the leaves fall off and you can see the berries, dark red, all over the tree…And the Robins come…They must be Northern Robins, because they haven’t migrated and it’s October! The robins come and eat all the berries…which must have fermented in the tree because the robins get drunk and then drop down and splash around in the birdbath like drunken idiots.”

My sister’s deck chair faces the Buckthorn; it is directly in her view. A hummingbird hovers by the Bee Balm at the edge of the garden. It’s high summer. There’s a long time to go before fall.