The other morning, Sunday, while still sleeping, I realized I was no longer dreaming and the outside world beyond my involuntary imagination was beginning to shine through the window and beckoned me to join it, and so slowly, I did. After coffee I walked to the barn with my posse of dogs under a dark, clear blue sky, thanks to the cold front that had come through overnight, to the whinnies of the mares waiting for their feed. I knew they wanted, and are still expecting me, to bring them pears from the trees in the front yard.
There are still a few pears left hanging but are well out of my reach, and these will most likely drop and get eaten by first finders, and that includes but is not limited to squirrels, the dogs, hornets, deer, butterflies, and raccoons. The horses would be there first but theirs is a life of fences and restrictions from doing such things. Left to themselves, they would sit under the pear trees and eat pears nonstop, until they exploded, or foundered, in no particular order of that. So they get no freedom there, only treats.
These pear trees have been very valuable to me over the years for many reasons; first and mainly, we have planted them on each farm that we have lived on over the decades, because their fruit is the core of the delicious relish that I make each summer that was my grandmother, Miriam’s, recipe, but they have also been the enticer to my young horses to leave the barn when I have first begun to ride them alone and away from the herd. Once they learned of the sweet treats that hung, and lay on the ground under the trees, they willingly marched away from the barn, boldly going all the way to the other side of the house, out of sight of the herd. With frothy mouths they would lower their heads and crunch with undistracted contentment on the fallen orbs. Nothing matters when pears are in season, except for the pears. But now, the season draws to a sad close and the mares, and all listed creature above, will have to wait until next year’s pears, but at life's present speed, that won’t be long.
As I went about my day on Sunday, I meant to make a list of things I saw through the day but never made the time to jot them down. A few that I do remember are, a butterfly dancing with its own shadow, an orange Fritillary, by size looked to be a male. It flitted and flirted with a shadow butterfly below it for many minutes. The sun was above and to the back of the butterfly and its shadow was in hard outline on the pool deck below it, and the dancing shadow was as equally mesmerizing to this guy, as his flitting about was to me. It was charming to me to see how focused this butterfly was on his reality of his moment, that he was courting and dancing with a wonderful dancer who knew and mimicked his every move. Just like Ginger and Fred, they were together in perfection.
Later, I saw a Red Shoulder hawk fly in a rapid whoosh, up from the woods to the edge of the pond where the north wind was rising as it was pushed over the dam. The rising winds lifted the hawk and it quickly rose as it flew in lazy circles higher and higher. The sun shone through its tail showing its handsome black and white bands in clear definition, and once it had reached how high it wanted to be, off on a tangent it flew and was gone from sight.
With the weather’s change for the nicer, our weekend project was to reclaim some of the overgrown trails around the farm. As we worked on clearing the trails back in the woods near the creek, I was stunned to find that so many of our large Sweet Gum trees have been girdled by the large, orange teeth of what must be, an army of beavers. The sap from these poor victims is now oozing down their smooth, bark less trunks, to the chips laying at the base of the trees. These trees will all begin a slow death and will leave new holes in the canopy as they lose their leaves, their limbs, and then fall. The beavers have rarely been this destructive to the Sweet Gums and it makes me wonder, why now, and why these particular trees?
Beavers have never been very high on my list of animals to have around when you have trees and water, both of which we have a lot of, but my tolerance of this new and recent killing of our trees is wearing their welcome thin to say the least. In reality, I know that is a fantasy to think that “removing a few” will significantly lessen the pack of them. No, they only just call in more friends and family up from the bowels of the creek. There will always be, beavers.
After our work reclaiming the main trail down to the creek and cleaning up the camp site, we sat in faded plastic chairs and splashed some rum over some ice. I had sadly forgotten to pack the tonic but we did have limes. We looked down at the still water of the creek which was now divided into long pools of clear as gin water. I could see flat backed turtles rising and falling and an occasional ring perhaps made by a Gar that I could not see.
Then one of those mists of tiny bugs came floating down the creek, a grouping of hundreds of tiny flying bugs that moved as one creature. Inside the cloud of these bugs, individuals moved vertically, up and down, and they too danced like the butterfly in the light of the sun. I suppose someone knows the answer to the why of their behavior, but it was a beautiful thing to watch without being burdened by that knowledge, and they simply became fairies in the gloaming of the afternoon. They danced for several minutes, and then they, too, were gone.
Some things have very clear end and beginning points, like taking the turn out of the driveway to start a fun trip, the turning of the last page that says “The End” of a great book, or disappearance of the last morsel of a really good cookie. These moments are real and have hard edges.
The awareness of the beginning and ending of a lot things, however, can be foggy and aren’t really noticed, until later. A particular date may well be marked on a calendar as the seasonal change but the real change of a season is more elusive. It is hard to tell exactly when the last time is that I will cut the yard, jump in the pool, sweat from the humidity and heat, swat a bug, or pick up the absolute last pear. These moments happen like bubbles with an ebb and flow, and life moves on until the cycle repeats itself again, next year.My apologies for no photos this post. There was a glitch somewhere. Imagination helps