July 2011

summer patchwork

It seems a long time ago since I took these first several photos…
…in the flower-gathering, porch-breakfasting, weeding-in-the-morning, resting-in-the-afternoon, early summer days.
…days abundant with rain and sun and energy and movement…

The more recent weeks of heat and stillness have woven their spell of inertia, with the white-noise hum of the air-conditioner much of the day and the weeds growing apace.
But my family still gathered at my mom’s beach house for rare days of togetherness, as we do every summer….tho’ “how much longer?” we wondered. I returned home to my husband’s story of the little swallows leaving-of- the-nest. It would seem that two of them simply took flight one afternoon before my deario left for work. He just happened to see them, so he got a chair and sat down to watch (through the glass of the front door) the last young one leave the nest. Instead, he watched as the young one sat and sat, and the parents flew around and chattered and coaxed (one imagines)…to no avail. A parent bird even went so far as taking the reluctant ones wing in its beak and stretching it out…and still, the young one would have none of it. My husband left for work with the last fledgling still unfledged (may I still call it a fledgling?) and found it still in the nest in the morning…but not for long, for it flew later that morning, when it was good and ready.
Good and Ready. I didn’t know that it worked that way for birds as well as humans. Not that we always have the opportunity of feeling good and ready for what comes our way, but those are the best times. I don’t know, as a mother, if I ever feel so when it comes to my own children flying the nest, but they fly never-the-less. Thus far, they aren’t away for long….rather like the three young swallows who swoop through the porch a few times a day now, blessing our home and our hours with cheer and remembrance.

So we have had only good bird moments here lately, I am glad to say. And how much I appreciated all your loving responses to my last post.
I knew you would understand.
As I know you understand the gratitude I felt for the bird that sang in the dark hour one early morning this week, just after we said good-bye to our eldest son as he left on the long drive that was only the beginning of a two-week adventure in the wilds. As the sun would not hurry up and bring me light, to ease my worries, song is the next best thing, and I was soon asleep.

And the summer continues to unfold…with the lovely re-discovery of a river beach from my courtship days (more of it to come…it is my new spot to pass some of my town hours).
…a precious visit from a dear friend…
…not just rests, but little naps and the reading-of-good-books in the long and quiet afternoons…
…and every spare moment I can grasp spent creating my new venture online. It is the right time. I am Good and Ready…and also Determined, after a few months of dreary stuggle with the nuts and bolts part of it, to bring it to light in the near future.

Until then, I hope your own summer patchworks are
bringing you moments of pleasure and joy.

the infinite thou art

Frail new-born wings, 

Small voice that sings,

New little beating heart,

Dread not thy birth,

Nor fear the earth —

The Infinite thou art :

The sun doth shine,

The earth doth spin.

For welcome — enter in

This green and daisied sphere.

Rejoice — and have no fear.
-Richard Le Gallienne 
 Tonight, as I was walking back to the house after putting the hens
to bed, I heard a commotion by the kitchen garden gate. In the
twilight, I could just make out our black and white cat and two
swooping mockingbirds. As I came closer, my hands full of hen's eggs,
the cat came towards me and I saw a little fledging bird hop
unsteadily into the garden. I couldn't tell if it was hurt or not,
but didn't stop to discern...just scooped up the cat in one hand,
the eggs were in the other and got back to the house. I deposited
the cat on the porch and the eggs in the fridge, checked on Mom,
took up the flashlight and strode back out towards the garden.
I was going to check on the little one and possibly put it safely
on a branch in a protective bush (what we have read to do in the past
when this has happened). The parent mockingbirds seemed to have moved
across the garden to the fruit trees, so I assumed the fledgling had
made its way there. But I was so wrong, just as that thought went
through my head, I heard and felt a sickening little crushing sound.
In despair, I swung the light to where I had just lifted my flowery
boot...and yes...there was the little body, its life quickly draining

In only seconds it was still and my quiet sobs filled the gentle
darkness, then my apologies were flung out to the two mockingbirds,
somewhere in the garden, mockingbirds that sweeten our evenings and
early mornings...mockingbirds that must be confused, concerned...

As I stumbled back inside I struck the fence and then the steps with
the flashlight, then wiped away my tears so that they wouldn't upset
Mom, then tried to pretend that I was watching Wimbledon, when all
I could sense was the place on my foot that had felt that terrible
and tiny pressure.

There will be no one here to tell until the wee hours of the
morning, so I came here to tell of the little infinity that seemed
to end tonight, through the unlucky placement of my foot...or the
dratted cat...I just don't know. I just know how much the winged
things mean to our lives...we give them water and food and shelter...
we chronicle their daily lives...our eyes are drawn to them over and
over from morning to night...they are our dear companions...and I am
so sorry for what happened. And I shall be doing everything
possible to protect the three tiny swallows now nestling, closed-eyed,
in their wondrous muddy home on our front porch.