Monday, December 30, 2019

Some New Year's Philosophy from an Old Crone

The world whirls through space on its passionate journey but makes no noise to get our distracted attention.  It runs reliably like a well-maintained thingamabob.  We are focused on coffee or a bank balance or a small child or the death of someone we love, small things by comparison.  It is a beautiful trip on this sphere even if sprinkled with agony.  We are on a long and circumstantiated history that drops an odd detail here and there into the lap of a scientist in research or a religious person in prayer and they struggle to translate the gem that has fallen into their laps to share/guide the rest of us.  Their excitement can sometimes frighten those of us who were not paying attention.

Common man creates time marks such as Christmas and New Year's among so many other time marks such as the winking of the sun between two monoliths so that we can mark our circumrotation and reassure ourselves that we know our place in time as we journey and pause to count our footprints.  If we can translate the trip, then perhaps we can translate the diffusion that we see or hear in the future from wise men or reassure ourselves that there is an end-goal and reason for our being here and all is not lost.  

Do not be afraid.  Be open as a child.  You are small but your energy is large and when combined with the love and questioning of others it is insurmountable and a good foundation upon which to build.  You are important and where you should be right now.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Peace in the New Year

Another serving of Peace in the new year, please.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Hanging On

This time of year gets really crazy, sometimes. We just have to hang in there! 

Friday, December 13, 2019

Blackbirds but no Pie.

Cackling by the winter fires?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Common for Some to See

Sandhill Cranes are not uncommon if you live in Florida. They are not very wary and that is why it is illegal to feed them...even with birdseed. They are big and can be dangerous if they become too friendly with humans.  That long bill is an intimidating weapon.  The oldest documented bird lived for 36 years and they are considered the oldest living bird species on the planet!  They do look prehistoric and  elegant at  the same  time!  I have heard their call, but only as they were flying overhead.  You can  click on the link and hear that it is not very melodius.

I am wondering if that red bald patch,  which is on both males and females, is  used for attracting the opposite sex.  (Apologies for  the  photo quality as this was  a quick hop out of a car while  with friends.)

They have been documented flying over Mt. Everest at 28,000 feet, so I tip my hat to their stamina and aviation skills!  According to Florida DNR, there are about 5,000 of these that remain in the state year-round, but they can be found  all  over the United States as  some are migratory and there  are six  subspecies.  Maybe one of these days I will be there for their season of dancing.

On my bucket list is to see the mass gathering  of them on the Platt River of Nebraska  in the  spring or to  see them  at  the annual Sandhill Crane Festival in Albequerque  in  November.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Each Day Another Day

How long does it take for a new beginning? How much time to erase the puzzle board or smooth one's hand over a new unmarked white sheet, or clear the echoing sounds from the air? I am relying on 24 hours. A fresh, new, sun grinning as it breaks over the horizon and pushes the cool morning breeze across the marsh grasses racing out to the ocean playing with your hair on the way.  

Another chance has been tossed at your feet with each new wave.  A puzzle of pieces that will fit together...somehow.

Limitless possibilities await on the far horizon even though they may be camouflaged to your eyes in the beginning.  The smell of salt stimulates thought to add spice to the excitement of a renewed perspective.  But as ever with Mother Earth, you are not alone for long.

If he can strut his stuff so bravely, so can you!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Prodigal Sun

The end of autumn is like gazing at the mouth of a dark, long cave on the path ahead. Realizing that you must take shelter, yet fearing you will lose your way and never see the light of day again, you hesitate moving decisively. For months all will be gray and bumpy and filled with a dying slumber. As an elder, we do not like to see dying all around us.  

We work at creating  an artificial stasis of  warmth and light while waiting for the sun  to return and favor us.  We get a bit of joy from the call of the geese at midnight on the water.  They are like  old women arguing over laundry or ripe fruit at the market.  We smile, because  it  is  their energy that  reminds us that life goes on in spite of the dark and cold.  They are a trill of silliness.

In the damp gray morning, we feel a  soulfuless gazing into the  chocolate eyes of the  doe as she studies the edge of our woods with  snow across her nose and with ears angled listening for life.  

Ahead on trail  is a conifer with a low  branch.  We inhale the green of needles pressed between our gloved hands and think of spring.

Winter is  that slow part of the symphony where we can just barely hear the drum and the fade of the string instruments that causes us to lean in.  Then there is the quiet pause, longer than a fermata, which makes us hold our breath, and just when we  must gasp, the sun laughs over the horizon.  Miss me?

Friday, November 15, 2019

She is Pretending

The change in the seasons into autumn pretends that it is going to be just gray and brown with a shroud of wet cold. It is as if Mother Nature is afraid you will be disappointed in the grand finale.  You were expecting the change of jewel tones in the 30F degree air? Go back inside and wait. Every year (and I have seen over 70) the fall comes with a quick or extended late-season surprise.  But it never disappoints.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

There is no more

As I sit at my computer the day is gray and cold. It started with rain and that has now turned to sleet with a promise of a dusting of snow as we go into darkness tonight. It is heavy and wet and not at all inviting as perfect snow would be. It is the kind of weather that one ignores and turns to a Scottish murder mystery on the television. I am going to ignore it and share what it looked like just a few days ago: this was our lovely fall and sadly it is disappearing as I type this post. While the leaves are still on the trees they are changing to darker red and grays.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Fall In Painting

The trees have mostly shed all of their jeweled leaves, but there are still enough colors to make a watery painting of the sentinels that stand in my front yard. Enjoy while it lasts.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Look Around

The sun has moved far to the left as fall arrives. I can follow the seasons by watching where it sets. Now it sets behind a different set of trees that are on the other side of our little finger of the river. It sets early enough that I can hurry down with my camera and see if the clouds are good for a sunset photo. (Yes, I have thousands!) I just have to be sure to dress warmly so that I do not shake! I caught this one below a few nights ago.

I was so focused on the sunset that it was not until I turned back toward the dock I noticed a perfectly glowing fall photo of the shoreline. I must learn to be more observant.

Thursday, November 07, 2019


I hurried out yesterday in the beautiful fall afternoon, and after filling the bird feeders, I decided to cut the last of the mums and roses and bring inside before the frost this weekend. Saying goodbye to summer.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Early November

The days are crisp but only sweater weather. Jack Frost is to visit this weekend if not earlier. I spent the morning gathering kindling from a pile of fallen branches that I created months ago out by the stacked firewood.  I broke them into smaller pieces and put in cardboard boxes which I carried to the garage.  I could hear a hawk high in the sky behind me calling with glee as I snapped each branch. Later in the afternoon, I heard a ruckus of geese as they flew into the mouth of the river on the other side of the house.

And the oak trees are beginning to put on ruby jewels before they send their leaves into the air.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Returning to Normal

It is good to be home with my "good earth". (Yes, this trilogy by Pearl S. Buck came back to me as I toured China and now I want to re-read and wrap its beauty around me once again.)

I immediately took a short walk down our street to greet all the trees.  They were in all their autumn glory.

Our first sunset as we returned was no slouch either.

But the most dramatic had to be the threatening and scary Halloween sunset show as we got tornado and wind gust warnings until midnight!

Lost a batch of branches, but we were spared!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

A Quick Pause in the Whirlwind of Tasks

The Baccharis down at the dock is now beginning to bloom. I am so happy that this is happening before I depart. I thought I would miss it entirely, but I may even be around for a few days as it sends it feathery young ones into the wind for propagation.  It is like watching fairy ballerinas dance off the stage.

And yet some think this is just a weedy bush!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The River Changes

We are approaching the end of September. The nights have fallen into the 60s which brings refreshing, cooler mornings. Since the river water holds the heat of the day, we are now getting a soft fog on the river before the heat of the sun can burn it off.

I notice that almost a dozen mallard ducks have moved into our little plot of grasses to seek harbor in the evenings. No matter how quietly I head to the dock they hear or see me long before I see them heading out to the other side of the river.

The menhaden have moved even further up into our river and when the air is calm and the surface of the water is almost mirrorlike you can see these fish, keystone species in the food chain of our coastal ecosystems, jumping and splashing, perhaps for air? The lowest oxygen is the early morning.

This activity brings in the seagulls flying like acrobats and our resident osprey in search of breakfast. The menhaden are fatter now. The osprey caught his!

It is a wonderful time to sit and wait for sunset with a friend or two.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Mellow Yellow

I posted recently about social color challenges on my other blog. This post is a different take on the color yellow. Fall is always a mellow goodbye.  The tulip trees are the first to begin their packing.

Fall is also the time for those wonderful flowers that take so very long to bloom.  They also are yellow.

Fall is the very final bloom of that wonderful plant that provides so much sustenance to our birds building their fat for the colder days and nights.

Friday, September 06, 2019

It is...That Time

What is Fall here? 
It is the menhaden coming farther up the finger of the river pushing a fan of ripples ahead on the green surface. 
It is the seagulls soaring like streamlined white kites over the river in search of the moving menhaden. 
It is the first of the casual precision of chevron flights of geese heading south just at ember sunset.

It is cormorants communing on channel marker number 14 looking like old Greek ladies in black waiting for their husbands to return on the fishing boats.

It is the striptease of the tulip poplar trees as they throw off the first of their yellow and brown leaves. 
It is the biannual bloom of the houseplant Calamondin lime tree exuding its sleepy seductive fragrance across the back deck attracting a hundred moths.

It is the dripping sound like a soft rain of the Black Gum sprinkling down its blue and green seeds by the hundreds sending its progeny everywhere including the back of one's neck.

It is, as well, the first brilliant blush of the Black Gum leaves that startle like some coral jewelry against the last of the green.

It is dozens of goldenrod soldier beetles eating pollen and wooing each other on the fast track over the fall bloom of the mist flowers. 
It is the orb weavers that have become the size of dimes as they hang precisely in the middle of their magnificent webs with precarious ease.
It is the arrival of more hummingbirds drawn to my sugar water before their migration south. 
It is a fresh red radish salad for our juicy nutrition.

It is the seductive beauty of downy orbs of sweet, juicy peaches. 
It is Chesapeake Bay blue crabs clawing their way into the crab pots for man's mouth-watering dinner. 

It is the beginning of a magnificent moon shaped like a big, bright scoop and hung freely in the early evening sky.
It is my favorite time of the year.