Joy Lessons

Greetings, dear readers.

It is no secret that I share my everydays with a crew of fur-folk and that they are a source of endless entertainment.

This evening Chiquita found her source of entertainment in one of the six or eight toy balls floating about the living room.

That she is not just perfectly content, but completely enthralled with rolling on, mouthing, and wiggling around with this toy that she has played with countless times before is adorable. That she thinks I should be similarly entertained and keeps bringing me the ball, too, is hilarious. When I toss it for her, she is overjoyed.

I could probably do worse than to follow her rules: play with what you find, ask the human for help, be joyful in the moment. Have a nibble, take a nap, do it again.


Readers, I hope a little joy creeps, or wiggles, into your days. Be well and safe – I am grateful you are here.

August Walkabout

Greetings, dear readers.

After several weeks of hot, wet weather, we had a cooler afternoon to go walkabout. I wandered my customary haunts up the hill and found the stands of oddball yellow asteracea that I had the devil of a time keying out. After cycling through several possible names, I finally landed on large flowered leafcup, Polymnia uvedalia. One of its other names is bear’s foot, I would imagine for the out-sized leaves. However we call them, they are blooming and attracting a whole host of followers.

Like this little native bee:

And a tiny dark skipper (possibly a Dun Skipper, they are notoriously difficult to ID):

The final visitor, too far away to photograph, was a well-worn female black swallowtail, blue skirts flashing. Her hindwings were still showy, but the forewings were tattered and almost see-through. It is amazing how something so delicate can be battered and still flit from flower to flower and then lift off into the woods.

It certainly makes me stop and think about the whinging I’m willing to do on occasion. What can there be to whine about when there are still butterflies and flowers to learn from?


Readers, I hope the season brings treasures where you are, too. The comments are always open, they are moderated and I read every one. Be safe and well, I am grateful you are here.

Holding Pattern

Greetings, dear readers.

I am in a holding pattern right now. That term came from aviation, meaning the repetitive flight path of an airplane staying in the same airspace while waiting to land. It is taken to mean a waiting time, going in circles while not really going anywhere.

I  think there can be a different meaning. Holding the pattern can also mean getting into a routine and jiving with it. Waking up at the same time, the same coffee in the cup, the same chores every day, the same drive to work. When I’m lucky – It’s a groove not a rut. Holding the pattern leaves some thought-space for other things, the creative spark has a little tinder, a few dry thoughts tucked under the branch of familiarity, ready to burst into flame.

Suddenly, what was routine becomes the soil for creativity and being in a consistent pattern means time at the end of the day to capture the spark.

Having some space inside that routine, the spark will catch. You never know what’s hiding behind familiar moment, suddenly new.

 

TV Test Pattern By Denelson83 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1067498


Readers, I hope what is holding pattern for you is a place of contentment, with the occasional sweet surprise. Do keep well and safe – I am grateful you are here.

Leaning Toward Simplicity

Greetings, dear readers.

I am leaning toward simplicity today.

IMG_6443That space where attention is not divided, where one thought can hold space for a time and bloom, unshattered.

Where paying attention leads into growing deeper and defter and more alive.

Where breath is enough because you have time and space to breathe.

Where the taste of a peach lasts all afternoon because you actually tasted this one for the first time all summer and it was sweet.

 

I did taste a peach today. It was sweet. It is a gift to have the time and the space to be in that moment.


Readers, I hope a pure simple moment gives you joy today. Be well and safe – I am grateful you are here.

Glories

Greetings, dear readers.

Now that summer has taken over the weather, we’ve had another kind of take over on the deck behind the house. As it does every year, bindweed has erupted up from underneath the slats and across the decking. It is a vigorous vine, fast growing, abundantly green, and – as I will ruefully admit – beautiful in bloom.

Bindweed is also called morning glory for a reason.When the blooms are in their prime, they open every morning and close gradually during the day.

If I go out early enough, this is what I see:IMG_6369

And in the evening, they close into fluted trumpets, curled at the ends, like babies’ fists.

closed BW

 

Perhaps it is part of their evolutionary strategy that somewhat noxious weeds are far too pretty to remove without regret. The human puts up with having to step over vines to step out the door because destroying beauty to avoid a small inconvenience is beyond what is bearable to do.

A longer stride is a small price to pay for a little extra beauty in the world.

 

 

 


Readers, I wish you that extra bit that keeps you going. I hope you are keeping safe and well and I am grateful you are here.

Small Wonders

IMG_6424Greetings, dear readers

The last few days have been special here around Heresaquarter because, along with July heat and some pop-up storms, butterflies have arrived. After weeks of wondering where all the large butterflies were, I have seen five species in just a few days, most of them right behind my house.

It is lovely to see fritillaries, monarchs, and swallowtails flying again. In the heat and a dry wind, they often move too fast for me to photograph. I have managed a few lucky snaps, like this one, showing the brilliantly patterned underwings of a fresh Black Swallowtail.

Less difficult to photograph, a delicate Queen Anne’s lace presented this sweet umbrella, fresh and white. If you look carefully, you will see this throne is not unoccupied. Like nearly all QAL I have photographed, there is a tiny crab spider hiding among the flowers.

IMG_6410

Nature never disappoints.


Readers, I hope there are hidden wonders in your world. If you haven’t found the spider – look at “9 o’clock” . I hope you are well and safe – I am grateful you are here.

Grace notes

Greetings, dear readers.

gracenoteThis has been a taxing day, in multiple ways. It felt like grace was hard to come by.

I was gifted an overabundance: Too many Zooms (4) over too many hours (also 4). Too many outside appointments (3) requiring driving too many miles (36 mi). Too many tasks (5) over too few hours (2). Too many emails (14) to respond to, dealing with kind people (6) and annoyed people (7), some of which were the same people (2). And I still have to finish my taxes (WAY too many numbers). I actually love numbers and I’ve about had it with the numbers. It feels like the number of the beast will be next.

At least the actual beasts who live in my house (4) are happy enough to share it with me. At the moment the two dogs are sleeping in their usual stacked position next to me, the younger cat is washing his face in the window seat, and the older one is lounging on his favorite blanket. I am content to breathe a minute before I go back to wrestling with tax software and fencing-by-email.

People are doing the best they can, including me. The taxes I am asked to pay will go at least in part to make sure some number of my fellow persons are housed, and fed and safe. That’s grace enough for this moment.


Readers, I hope there were grace notes in your day. Be safe and well, I am grateful you are here.

Wishing On

Greetings, dear readers.

Do you have those days when you aren’t sure what you‘re looking for and you look around for a lens that might help you find it? For me, that lens is often a quote, usually found by chance in some random corner of the internet or in something I’m reading.

Today I was in a wishing mood, the kind of wishing that involves alternate realities that aren’t this one. It’s easy to do, there are any number of aspects of the Here-Now that are a degree or two (or thirty) off of perfect. And then, I came across this:

You’re wishin’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Well, that yanked the chain a bit.

Sachem

The quote was a reminder that if I intend for things to be different, it’s time to stop wishing and start doing.

Like this tiny Sachem Skipper, time to brave the porcupine, find a flower, fly.

This is the first Sachem I’ve found this year, as the teasel have come into full bloom. Now that I’m finally looking in the right places, perhaps other treasures are next.

 


Readers, I hope there are treasures in your days. Stay well and safe, I am grateful you are here. Your thoughts are always welcome – they are moderated, and I do read them all!

Notable Quote

Greetings, dear readers.

I saw a quote sometime ago that is sticking with me – sort of the way an invisible splinter does: that poke under skin that you can’t quite see or grab and can’t get rid of, can’t let go of, can’t forget.

This is it:
Go to where the silence is and say something. – Amy Goodman, investigative journalist, columnist, author

Oh.
There are so many ways to understand this simple sentence.IMG_4709
Go where something needs to be said and say it.
Go to where someone or something important can’t speak for themselves and say it.
Go to where no one has said anything before and say it.
When no one else will speak up – say it.
Be willing to be heard and say it.
Use your outside voice – say it.

What is it you would say if you just said it? There’s someone waiting to hear it.


Readers, I hope you use your outside voice. I, for one, will be glad to hear what you have to say. May you all be safe and well. I am grateful you are here.

Roadside Ruler

Greetings, dear readers.

On these heated July afternoons, there isn’t much that will get me out onto the road beyond the promise of finding the first of the season’s large butterflies. I haven’t seen but a few this year – a fritillary here and there, one red-spotted purple, one red admiral, a comma. Finally, now, as July jump starts more showy flowers, I am starting to see more activity.

Among today’s finds were Silver-spotted skippers bouncing through the teasels and one tiny Delaware skipper on milkweed. Skippers are twitchy little things and don’t often light long enough to get an image. However, I was lucky enough to encounter a spectacularly bright and fresh Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton) fanning its wings, probably in its first day after emergence.

This beautiful creature sat in the middle of the road and let me play paparazzi all around it. First showing off its marbled underwings.T emperor under

And then the brilliantly marked uppers:

T emperor top

This is one of two Emperor species we have here, and the less common one, so it was a delight to be able to spend a few moments appreciating this lovely visitor. Especially since, true to form, I was kneeling in the middle of the road to do it.

There are probably sillier things to do on a summer afternoon than apply knees and elbows to asphalt in pursuit of the perfect closeup of a rarely seen friend.


Readers, I hope your summer days hold some rare surprises. I hope you are keeping well and safe and I am grateful you are here.