Savoring signs of life

DSC_0748Earlier this month, friend Kathy Doty taught me how to spot the difference between male and female Monarch butterflies. Visually, it’s really not that different than humans. I kept hearing that little girl who was a YouTube sensation several years back, her sing-song show-and-tell voice explaining to her classmates, “Boys have theses, see.” I’ve sat through a lot of PowerPoint presentations about Monarchs. I know the right way to hold them as you apply a tracking tag prior to release. But no one has every told me who has what. Kathy also displayed a young Praying Mantis and a viable Swallowtail chrysalis, anchored in place by one tiny gossamer lasso of swallowtail thread. She spotted both eggs and caterpillars in the Red Fox Cabin gardens. The sightings never cease to thrill.

Several days later, a steady stream of visitors to Summer 2019 Family Day watched monarchs, bumblebees and more dragonflies than I have seen since the June 2012 floor wax discharge decimated the variety of dragonfly nymphs one could sample in Riley Creek. It was hot, hot, hot in the sun. Steady breeze and ice water kept those of us anchored to the ground cool enough to take pleasure in flighted creatures who have the wherewithal to catch thermals.

With double-digit degrees less outside, Deb Weston walked the trails with her Debbie and a camera on Thursday. They spotted an Ebony Jewelwing damselfly, a female Baltimore Oriole, a Painted Lady butterfly, a Monarch, and two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, birds I haven’t seen since I picked wild raspberries along the cut-off oxbow to sell at Andy’s IGA in Pandora.

I could wax on. How about I share Deb’s photos instead?

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Virtuous reality, deliver us

I dig deep down to find my soul, or something to revive hope, some days.

There’s an election that lends itself to a soulless outlook, and the loss of a young primate, totally out of place in his life but unsuited to a natural existence–one with an unpromising future anyway. Lots of fingers are pointing.

There’s a disconnect. We, the human sort of we, are a lonely species. Every other living thing of which we are aware speaks the language. They know who is in and out there as well as what each other is saying, even if it’s, “Mine; go away.”

I sat in the dark last night, drank my tea and pointed an angry emotional finger at all the people out there who, in my opinion, are wrong. There was lots of screaming and name calling. Finally, there was a whole lot of sad.

Then I heard a bizarre puffy sort of clicking whine (that’t the best I can do to describe it) to the west outside. With no moon through the windows, it took a bit to find my way to the front door where I could see three dark shapes near the fence line. Something had the attention of the bronze turkeys. Since the donkeys weren’t sounding the alarm and no two-leggers, in cars or on foot, were in sight, I went back to the dregs of my tea, nearer to sleep because of the distraction.IMG_1275

This morning, Humperdink, Inigo and Miracle Max still stride up and down the barrier, feathers puffed and air bladders booming. The geese are there, too. Bob grazes nearby, his dulled tusks not quite reaching the ground. Outside, her long neck poking up from a lavender patch, stands a hen turkey. She sees me, ducks back under the comfrey, lavender, sorrel and whatever else we’ve sandwiched in over the years.IMG_1366IMG_1361

June blooms around the cabin, spring pinks become intense oranges and burgundies. Still pink, yet befitting summer with their Rubenesque excess, peonies.

Below in the floodplain, blues flag the quarry, cricket frogs creak, catbirds mew. A raccoon washes, reaches under the duckweed for larvae, small fry and crayfish.


The sad’s not gone. Because I am human and caught up in our human insular world, there will always be some sort of turmoil spinning around inside. Thankfully, a peace is just outside, my soul a little further up the path.