Late afternoon (which comes early this time of year), sun is starting to slide down toward the western horizon, and the day is as warm as it will get. I’m dozing in the hammock, soaking up the serenity of the brilliant autumn afternoon. Rocking gently, gazing up into the sky, eyes following the contours of the leafless trees on the hill behind the house, bathing in the serendipity of endless possibilities. I notice a dragonfly darting back and forth way up above me. It must be huge to look as big as it does being as far away as it is. I watch it’s astonishing sky dance as it swings, veers one way then suddenly lurches in another, randomly swiveling in all three dimensions. Maybe there is a swarm of small insects up there invisible to me down here. I watch this astounding acrobatic creature for quite a while, as long as it is within my sight. I realize it may be the last dragonfly I see this year as winter is just around the corner, already nights are cold, the song birds have left, and insects are few. However, I am so impressed with that dragonfly that I lay back and wait for a long time to see if it flies back into my presence, falling back into a languorous drowsy haze.
Once again I am lazing in the hammock soaking in every second of this Indian summer. It seems like this fall has given us more warm and sunny days than summer actually did! I’m not complaining, I like having all the time in the world at my leisure to nap in a hammock, walk up the road, and enjoy the golden radiant sunshine. I was half asleep when I noticed a gaggle of small flying insects hovering around the corner of the porch. I woke up and watched. Their shape, color, and style of flying reminded me of ladybugs. Curious, I go up to go investigate. Yes, it’s a swarm of ladybugs looking for a suitable place to bed down for the winter. I have seen these swarms before. Every fall, they congregate and search for a protected crevice to crawl into for overwintering. I stood on the porch while the tiny red bodies flew around me, buzzing and flitting, landing momentarily, and taking flight again. They covered the railing, the floorboards, the posts, the bush beside the porch, and me, hundreds of ladybugs everywhere. I stood inside this fluttering enigma until it moved away from the house into the woods. Only a few lost ladybugs were left crawling around. I tenderly picked one up to closely examine its spots. I set it free to go find its friends.
It is another glorious warm sunny Indian summer day. I am lounging in the hammock gazing out at the trees and sky desperately trying not to think about the cancer in my left breast. The surgery is soon and I am scared senseless of it. So for right now I let my mind wander into the endless bright blue of the cerulean sky, I soar with the excited birds through the tree branches, chittering with glee, ecstatic with the freedom of movement through the universe. I lazily drift in and out of consciousness, drowsing in the fall sunshine. I love life, I am happy here in my element, glad to have time to just relax and enjoy the forest, the creek, the birds, and my home here in the hollow.
Dozing on the hammock again, soaking up the warm afternoon sunshine. I have been spending as much time as I can outside enjoying this warm Indian summer because I know it will not last. I bask in the heat of the day, making this sunshine memory to keep close when winter’s fury is scouring the mountains later. Open my eyes and soar into that vast expanse of sapphire sky, golden sun light bathing the landscape in gilded glory. I rock myself, watching the treetops swing back and forth, when a butterfly flits into my field of vision. Orange and black, flittering up, flitting down, headed in southerly direction. I follow its path with my eyes until it is out of sight. There are a few flowers left still growing, but it was not interested. A few minutes later another butterfly flutters by high overhead. Curious… Then come several more, flying in butterfly fashion, heading south. As I lay there, over the next half hour or so, many butterflies float by, singly or a few at a time, their delicate wings pumping furiously, carrying them to unknown places. Although I never got a close up look at any of them (why terrorize a helpless butterfly on a mission) I hypothesize they might be migrating Monarchs. If that is the case, this is the first time I have seen this phenomena! Amazing!
I think one of the best ways to recuperate from an illness is to sleep in a sun warmed hammock in the lazy afternoon. I was supposed to working on the River yesterday and tomorrow, but bronchitis had other ideas. So instead I am lazily gazing up at a bright cerulean sky, small fluffy white clouds floating merrily by, with golden sunlight bathing me its healing heat. Eyes closed just experiencing the glorious day, just being. Eyes open, drowsy and content, sleepily watching clouds, trees, leaves, birds, insects drift through my line of sight. Rocking ever so gently, really barley moving, in the warm breeze caressing my skin. Half asleep in the hammock and enjoying every minute!
It feels like summer, sunny and warm, still trying to get well, dozing in the hammock on this fine and glorious afternoon. Watching the trees on the hill above the house branches full of tired leaves turning yellow and brown wave gently against a clear bright blue summer sky. Brown leaves rain down, floating aloft on the breezes, spinning, drifting, sputtering to the ground. A gust of warm air rushes the leaves along the road, they rustle loudly and scuffle against each other as the brush down the road surface, scarping and bristling in the stiff breeze. I am immersed by the feel of the warm air and warm sun on my skin and surrounded by the sound of crisp brown leaves rustling on the trees, blowing in the air, tumbling through the grass, and scraping along the road. Fall and Summer all rolled into one lazy hammock day.
I woke before the sun was above the horizon, although the sky above the trees is alight with sunrise pastels. I am curled in my camping hammock, bundled in heavy fleece and my warmest sleeping bag. I know know its cold out there. When I peaked out from under the covers, skin on my face tingled, and I can see my breath as I breathe. Unfortunately, as comfortable as it is in the hammock, sometimes you don’t have a choice about getting out of bed. I lay there as long as possible in the cozy warmth of my sleeping bag. I planned every step of the maneuver out ahead of time to minimize my exposure to the cold morning air. Groaning, I fling myself out of the hammock, find a tree, do what I need to do, grab some warm neoprene paddling clothes from the dry bag, and get them as a quickly as possible. Anybody who has ever worn neoprene knows how slow putting it on can be. Brrrrrrrrrrr. Do some jumping jacks to warm up and head over to the camp kitchen to get breakfast started, stopping on the beach for a few moments to gaze contentedly over the quiet lake enjoying the sunrise. In the kitchen area, I get the stove going and go to put the pot of water left over from last night on the burner. I notice that the water in the pot has a cover of ice on its surface. Wow! I laugh out loud with amazement, I guess I was right about it being cold this morning!