Sunday, July 23, 2017

Summer's cusp #phenology

About this time of year, we can start to watch for local sandhill crane families to begin flocking behavior. Soon, the Canada goose populations will resume training flights. Even though it's going to be a while before actual migrations take place, it takes lots of training to get muscles in shape and be sure flight feathers are working properly. Joni Mitchell has written one of my all time favorite songs about Autumn's restlessness. Tom Rush's version of The Urge for Going gets played a lot around here from September through November.

sandhill cranes Summer gathering
sandhill cranes Summer gathering
Photo by J. Harrington

This morning's cool breeze hint's at Autumn's impending arrival, never mind the 90℉ forecast for Tuesday. The clouds have taken on an unSummery attitude, threatening rain while moving toward the South on Northwest breezes that prevail in Winter. Soon it will be apple picking, and eating, time. Between now and the beginning of December the best six weeks of the year will take place. Soon the deer flies and mosquitoes will be gone. Maybe, actually probably, not all at once, but there'll be the raptor migration over Hawk Ridge, the Fall Color progression, and the monarch butterfly migration South. (I'll change the map in the sidebar some day soon.) Have you ever really thought about creatures as small and fragile as monarch butterflies and ruby-throated hummingbirds traveling as far as they do?

August monarchs
August monarchs
Photo by J. Harrington


Fall Parties



I cannot wait for fall parties.
The invitations have begun to roll in.

I used to think I loved summer parties
until they got this year so sweaty and sad,

the whole world away at the shore,
sunk in sweet and salt.

Goodbye, summer: 
you were supposed to save us

from spring but everyone just slumped
into you, sad sacks 

pulling the shade down on an afternoon 
of a few too many rounds. 

Well, I won’t have another.
I’ll have fall. The fall of parties

for no reason, of shivering rooftops,
scuffed boots, scarves with cigarette holes.

I’ll warm your house.
I’ll snort your mulling spices.

I’ll stay too late, I’ll go on a beer run,
I’ll do anything 

to stay in your dimly lit rooms 
scrubbed clean of all their pity.


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Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Lavender days #phenology

Corn fields in or neighborhood look to be about fifty or sixty percent tasseled. There are a few places, and, thank heavens, only a few, where roadside sumac leaves have picked up some shocking red color. What seems most noticeable though are the swaths and swatches of roadside lavender. Some of it is wild bergamot, some looks like Canada thistle, some is crown vetch, soon there'll be New England aster and there's probably other pinkish-lavender flowers on plants that can't be identified readily at forty or fifty miles per hour, but a predominant color these days is pale purple, with chrome yellow accents.

roadside field of wild bergamot
roadside field of wild bergamot
Photo by J. Harrington

This morning I had an opportunity to help out one of the neighborhood pollinators. A bumblebee, no, I don't know which species, managed to get him/herself caught in the nectar pool of the oriole/hummingbird feeder, despite the beeguards in place. Must have been a very persistent bee. It promptly climbed onto the twig I extended. I placed the twig with its bee cargo on the deck railing. After I finished cleaning and refilling the oriole feeder, the twig, sans bee, was still there. I assume the bee returned home with a Bilbo Baggins scale adventure tale to tell. Do you remember the Loren Eiseley tale that "made a difference to that one?"

In a different bit of serendipity this morning, I came across a charming poem that seems to fit both the season and our troubled times. It was written by W. B. Yates, a long-time favorite poet that I've neglected for a while. I hope you enjoy

The Stolen Child



W. B. Yeats, 1865 - 1939


Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.


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Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.