Early morning, birds cheerily singing, slanted sunbeams dance through the trees, green and yellow wavering light. Sitting up with the blankets pulled around me against the morning chill, I look outside the screen tent windows to find those wicked noisy birds. My ears tell me they are everywhere, but not to be seen. I glance up at the softly tinkling wind chime hanging from the tarp overhead and notice a perfectly formed geometric spider web spun between the tarp and pole holding it up. Sunlight glistens and shines through the silken strands making the gossamer threads shimmer. If I were a spider, I would make my home in such a place to catch the first light of sunrise so that I could live suspended in a house of dazzling sparkle sliver sunbeams.
Darkness, seems total and complete until you actually look at the darkness and notice a slight lessening of the darkness between the tree branches and leaves, where the night sky barely peaks through. I have groggily woken to a quiet dark world outside the tent windows. A breeze stir and whispers through the leaves, then almost imperceptibly, a hooting sound hauntingly echos far away through the forest and is answered in turn by another owl nearer, but still far away enough to seem dreamlike in their singing. I fall back to sleep with the barred owl lullaby.
Evening, sun has set, fading light in the western sky overlooking the road framed by newly green trees. Standing at the kitchen sink gazing out the picture window, dark grey, heavy, ponderous clouds are accumulating far out over the horizon. The last of the sunlight shines defiantly blinding silver rays radiating from behind the storm front. The edge of the storm is roiling, undulating, angry promise of thunder and lightening to come. Here over the house all is calm in the darkening evening, save for a whisper of wind that soon will whip up into a fierce frenzy, and a faint hint of impending electricity in the air. Impressive summer thunderstorm is brewing!
I woke up too early, listening to the rapid roar in the twilight. Climbed out of my, no so gracefully, to go pee, the woods were misty and mysterious in the half light of predawn. Afterwards I lay awake wish I could go back to sleep as the light grew steadily brighter. Giving up, I took my sleeping bag with this time and went down to the beach to lay in a raft between the thwarts on top of some fife jackets. This position had me cradled and rocking in the calm eddy with the rapid surging by just feet away. Curled inside my cozy blanket, I peeked out and saw a large sparkling bright blue white star just above the ridge where the sun was still hidden but obviously on its way to light the day in dazzling sunlight. I rarely get to see the morning star. Where I live, the eastern horizon is hidden behind the forest behind the house, so although we can see the sun through the trees when is rises, there is no way to see the morning star. I feel blessed and fall back top sleep for a greatly appreciated two more hours.
Today is my birthday. I am now 47 years old. Today is the start of my first overnight rafting trip of the season. We paddle in, set up camp in the gorge, and paddle out tomorrow. Overnights are a lot of work, but spending the night in the gorge is worth it. This group is all women about my age and looking for wicked fun outside their normal comfort zone. Perfect! It was an amazing day on the water. I guided the paddle raft and a colleague (the only male on the trip) took the oar rig down with all the gear. We made camp in the on a sandy beach in the middle of a mile long rapid; so we had the roaring river in our ears and hearts all night long. We all went swimming (yes the water is still to cold but we did it anyway) before dinner and watched to moon come up over the ridge across the river. Its almost full and made the white water of the rapid glow iridescent against the blackness of the night. Dinner was cooked over the open fire and everybody slept soundly and peacefully. Year 47+ is off to a good start!
The early spring flowers have faded and other late spring flowers are emerging. The apple blossoms are gone replaced by minuscule bright green orbs that will grow into apples. The peach blossoms are gone as well, but I am watching the tiny, hard, dark green oblong nodules on one tree and the fuzzy pale green ones on the other. I hope the grow into peaches and nectarines, but having sprouted from pits in a compost pile, who knows what fruit they will bear, maybe they will be like crab apples, small, malformed, and bitter. For now, I am enjoying the slow exploration of watching them get slightly bigger every day, incrementally small changes that can only be appreciated through time and patience.
Standing on the cobbled, muddy edge of a lazy section of the Hudson River in the Adirondacks, watching the clear tannin browned water slip quietly by through the cool muggy morning air, I glance down and notice a dragonfly who has just emerged from the husk of its nymph form. Bending down close, I gently pick up this delicate helpless creature, its gossamer wings still unfolding and not yet stiff enough to sustain flight. Holding my finger up, it clings with all its tickling feet, I admire its sheer tenacity, its life force, its being. After many minutes of careful fluttering, it takes its first flight, low over the water and out of my sight. I then notice others taking off from the reeds and grasses around me. On closer inspection I realize I am standing in the middle of a huge dragonfly hatch. Squatting down I see dragonflies in all stages of emergence from just starting to break free of the nymph shell to flying away on the almost imperceptible breeze. Life is amazing!