August is winding down and we’ve had a couple cooler days here, just enough to have the goldenrod on the hill waving a come hither fistful of pretty yellow panicles.
Since Ollie stole the limelight the other day, Chiquita has been angling for her shot – and for my pillow. This, in spite of the fact that her waggle-dance was the featured entertainment not long ago. She is nothing if not a show-stealer.
She was in a wild mood this afternoon, chasing a ball back and forth in the living room as if it might escape, bouncing off of my knee occasionally to remind me that I was still on the pitcher’s mound. When she tired of that, she waited until I went to switch out a load of laundry to handily co-opt the warm spot on the couch.
Note the “Who, me?” expression.
Still, she is a teacher in her way. Joyous creature that she is, she does nothing
halfway, from ball aerobics to cat food thievery.
And she is a Zen master of sleep.
I could do worse than learn to seize the moment with such abandon.
Readers, I hope there are a few carefree wags in your world. Be well and safe, I am grateful you are here.
I was thinking about funny stuff because … well, because I live with this:
This is Olive, the Plott hound. What she’s plotting is to snitch my pillow and hog my space on the couch if I happen to get up for a minute.
There is a certain cuteness factor here, and it hides a goofy streak and the intermittent inability to hear anything like my voice if there is a deer or a neighborhood cat within sniffing range. Engaging her nose disengages her brain and puts her legs into DefCon 12 chase mode. I have had some interesting go rounds in the neighboring woods trying to get her back when she got loose.
Still – when she settles and goes into her Ms. Placid 2020 mode, it is pretty cute. Now I just need to figure out how to get my spot back…
Readers, I hope a little (or big) cute and funny invades your world on occasion. Be safe and well, I am grateful you are here.
We humans have borders on our seasons, but nature is having none of that. By the calendar, summer runs another month, right past Labor Day and into the latter half of September. By the turn of leaf and earth, the changes are gliding up on us now.
The berries that were just barely ripe at the end of June are gone by, the July wildflowers are all gone to seed, and the fall flowers are coming on. There is goldenrod in the far corner of the slope. The trees have started to loose their hold on their leaves – the greens are muted now and the occasional gold or red has appeared. Sunflowers now feed the birds who planted them.
Hummingbirds conduct aerial exercises over my feeder each day, jockeying for a sip of nectar, and a moment as lords and ladies of the perch. They are feeding heavily, making ready for the journey south.
As for me, the first cooler nights are a welcome shift from the heat. The mornings are muted, dark a little longer, quieter of bird song. This turning is slow and easy and promises the bounty of fall.
Readers, wishing you autumn peace. Be well and safe – I am grateful you are here.
A few days ago I had the kind of day you wouldn’t buy if it was discounted twice and came with a free pony and a pint of ice cream.
It was not pretty.
But I was lucky. That day – like most – had a little redemption baked in.
After having that day, I came home and stepped out onto the deck behind the house. The evening air was still. I was greeted by a patrolling dragonfly, who buzzed around and then lit on my shirt sleeve. The first time, she surprised me and I startled and she buzzed a few feet away.
But she came back. The second time she landed, just below my shoulder, we shared a look at each other; her large, green, all-seeing eyes met my confused human ones. She cocked her head, made her point, then lifted off, and moved on. I felt the whole world shift.
She seemed to release the loveliness in the evening.
After our moment, I was awake to the butterflies on the slope and the three hummingbird zipping in and out of view around my feeder, the cool evening air, the soft rumble of the cat at my feet.
It’s not every day a tiny spot-winged dragon tugs on your sleeve to remind you that there is beauty all around.
Readers, I hope your hard days are few, and do have moments of redemption. Be well and safe, I am grateful you are here.
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.
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.
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.
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:
And in the evening, they close into fluted trumpets, curled at the ends, like babies’ fists.
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.