Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mud Bath

Over the last few weeks, we in the Mid-Atlantic region have become accustomed to rain, rain, more rain and the mud that goes with it. Most people prefer to stay indoors when it is raining. But for me, the threat of a weeks-long stretch of dreary wet weather is an almost irresistible invitation to explore stream behavior when things are in flux. When was the last time you sank to your sternum in thick, black mud? You step, you step, and then, “voila” you are stuck up to your waist in heavy, boot-sucking black molasses, and realize that you are essentially immobile! There is a bit of consternation, a wondering if I will ever see again these precious boots, and a little space of time in which to fully realize the benefits of loss of control. Suction! The seemingly impossible physics of it all injects a thread of panic, but there is no need to become too alarmed. It just takes time, and twisting and a hard pull on the heel, and perhaps a bit of mud-surfing, in which you really—no REALLY—come face to face with the black thick cement. It has the odor of mud, the clean fecundity, the decaying leaves, and after Herculean measures, that extraordinary sound, the voice of the earth giving up its secrets! I suppose there are those who have never been completely inundated by the deep black goo, and I feel for them...but there is always time to branch out! Run toward the rain, sink deep in the flood, enjoy your second birth! Of course, there are certain barriers that must be overcome. In ALZ world, there is always the threat that one will wander off...I know that fills folks with fear, and for good reason. But frankly, and not to suggest a dangerous endeavor, it all depends on where you are on the continuum. I’m still here. Others that I know, are not. Apparently, I will cross the next threshold at some point, but today, I am able to wander to my heart’s content, just as I always have. I stay rigorously in contact with my family; as often as not, to just report an amazing bird sighting or an unusual rock formation...the cell phone is always charged and with me...but of course I don’t rely on it. More likely, I will be found meditating on the bank of a stream or an unusual nest left from last year...and I try always to file a flight plan with my spouse. So far, it’s working. Hic finis est: DONO

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Observations of Nature

I would be remiss if I did not mention the extraordinary habits of the ruby-throated hummingbirds and the jewel weed cups their orange flowers offer, and create the need for the deep dive for nectar, as these amazing little irridescent foragers dip voraciously over and over to put on the weight of sugar that will enable these intrepid travelers to return to the sub-tropical realm for a long and richly deserved reward. I should hope to have occasion to follow these brilliant friends down the coast, hopefully all the way down to the tip of Florida, where the Ding Darling and Corkscrew Refuges await the sun bird…hoping to see the Frigate and the red-shouldered hawks, the warblers returning to the sub-tropical, the occasional bobcat, and the rare but possible black bear.  Just to put a point on it, from the vantage of my swampy meadow, I heard this past evening the whinnying call of the screech owl…not an unusual sound to be sure, but one that always brings a joy and a hope for the existence of healthy habitat and the subtle waning of day length. The motion of the spheres claims all as its purview.