I spent the day in the yard mowing and weeding. My husband got the weed whacker going so I was able to clear the path most of the way down to the creek before it ran out of gas. Talk about a sense of accomplishment. After a shower, I went back outside to sit on the porch to watch the sun set. When the mosquitoes started biting, I was inspired to light the citronella candles. Their glowing flickering flames wanted company, so all the decorative candles joined them. I sat on the porch, rocking gently, listening to crickets and frogs, watching the sky shift from light blue to dark purple as the stars appeared one by one. I breathe deeply smelling damp earth and cut grass, feeling the air cool off as darkness falls, bathed in the warm yellow glow of candle light dancing on the porch.
Yummy, Yummy! Tall green stalks, dark green leaf buds on top, growing straight up from the dark fertile garden soil. Each stalk breaks with a crisp snap, water dripping from the broken ends. I crunch the delicious thick green shoots between my teeth, the taste of fresh picked asparagus bursting through my senses. After eating several stalks, I manage to pick and collect enough for tonight’s dinner vegetable for my husband and I. Eating the first fresh asparagus from the garden is a scrumptious spring ritual that I look forward to every year.
This morning when I stepped outside onto the porch, I noticed bat dropping on the wide rough boards under the spot where there is a deep notch in one of the roof beams. Looking up, I wait for my eyes to adjust to the dim light above me. There in the crevice, wedged in where no predator can get to it, is a tiny furry brown body, wings folded, eyes closed. A small sleeping Little Brown Bat. I like having these creatures taking daytime shelter on the porch. I think mosquito control! As I am examining the little bat, it shifts around a bit and I realize there are two Little Brown Bats nestled close together in that narrow dark space between the boards. Wow! Sleep well little ones, and may you fill your bellies with many biting insects and grow strong and healthy over the next few summer months. I am always excited when the bats come back.
Sitting on the porch in the evening, watching the sun sink lower in the sky, listening to the outside world wind down into the blue time. The song birds are making a last dash to the feeders before nestling into their nests for the night. I’m rocking and spacing out when a flash of red catches my eye, a red breasted grosbeak is sitting on the feeder, trying to munch seeds, black wings flapping to keep its balance on the swinging feeder. Looking down I find its mate brown and tan strips to blend into the background. As he thrashes on the swaying feeder, seeds rain down around her. She is content to peck them from the grass, while he puts on a hilarious show or flashing red black and white feathers. Eventually he find purchase and calm enough to crunch the black oil seeds open. I sit and watch them until they eat their fill and fly away into the twilight. Another sure sign of Spring being finally here to stay, now that the grosbeaks are back!
Early morning sunlight seeps through the trees, filling the forest and my tent with soft blue and purple shadows. I stretch and roll over with the intention of quickly going back to sleep. One pure sweet high note sounds out high up and far away, it shifts into a melodic scale singing joyfully through the forest welcoming the new morning. Those notes are quickly joined by others, as all the birds wake up and join in, harmonizing in a gleeful chorus, a spirited cacophony enthusiastically celebrating the rising sun. The blue shadows subtly shift to muted green and yellow as the sun crests the hillside and sunbeams radiate through the tree tops. I groggily identify several calls: chick-a-dees, eastern towhee, cardinal, veery thrush, chipping sparrow, phoebe, maybe a hermit thrush. I hear squirrels and chipmunks squeaking and rummaging in the leaf litter and several woodpeckers hammering on nearby dead birch trees. As I was drifting back to sleep a midst this wakening woods, a pair of loons flew over calling their haunting tones in the brightening morning. This raucous lullaby puts joy in my heart as I slip back into a peaceful slumber.
Fun trip down the River today, good group of people in my boat. Active paddlers with entertaining stories. We were near the end of the trip, floating along close to shore, relaxing, hanging out, when a loud rapid hollow knocking rang out from the trees, echoing across the river corridor. The pounding starts out fast and furious, then after a few moments, the intensity peters out. Half a minute later the knocking rings out again. My guests turn to me with a question on their lips, my eyes lights up as I smile with delight. I think its a pileated woodpecker! As the raft slid closer on the currents, the hidden bird took flight out over the open water right in front of us. We were entranced watching its characteristic wing beat pattern (flap, flap, flap, fold, dip, flap, flap, fold dip), large black and white body flashing in the sunlight, dazzling bright red head a beacon as it traveled to the tree line on the other side of the river. As it disappeared into the newly green branches, its playful laughing call trumpeted out like a monkey in the jungle. Everybody in the boat cheered with the sheer joy of experiencing a simple wonder of the natural world.
Golden yellow morning sunlight streaming over the tree tops, a vague humidity haze hanging stealthily on the periphery, insects humming, a droning buzz just above the threshold of consciousness, the flowing water, gurgling over rocks, reflecting the blue of an infinite cloudless sky turning white in the already oppressive heat. I sit calm and still on a shady rock, feet dangling in the cool river watching the sunbeams dazzle blindingly off the small rippling waves of water rushing over and around rocks. Water, trees, sun, and sky, feels like Summer is here early! Glorious and free, I am in my happy place.