Several weeks ago I heard the first indication of the turning of a season. It brought on feelings of melancholy--a tinge of sadness. When I hear the first katydids strum up and placing blame of who did it I know in my heart that the shift has begun and that the summer is starting to forwarn us--to let us know gently in its own way--that it will hang on for as long as it can but that its time is coming. Its tired...its the dying of a season. And for the next few weeks it seems hard to believe its true, but I realize that these dog days of summer are just summers way of venting its fury to having to let go and its way of preparing us for being ready to let it go.
This morning when I stepped outside at 4 am I felt the tiredness and weakness of summer and its voice was thin and frail. The moon was full and bright, there were thin, wispy, and back lit clouds and soul searching stars. I felt the stars, the ether air and the moon glow as I slipped into a light overshirt. Summers song has been replaced with a hint of fall song--crickets--who had the stage all on their own. They are gently pushing out summer and gently ushering in fall. Life being what it is I know we have to accept it, learn our good-byes in a way that we can still look forward to whats in the next season without any feelings being hurt.
All the signs are here--butterfly bushes loaded down with a profound number of different butterflies and skippers on waning blooms, all ports full on the hummer feeders, and nighthawks moving over in numbers. The air is turning thin and crisp. The night skies appear different. And there is only an occasional flicker now and then from a lightning bug that cannot yet let go.
At 7:12 am the full morning moon was still vibrant and clear with an airy-ness of mystery shrouding it in the forms of cloud fingers in front of it. There was a grimness associated with this picture as there is with death, but yet there was a feeling of calm and sereneness that came over me with the view...there was a promise of rest and re-newal, for both body and soul and also for nature in all its forms...
"I love you," I whispered into the ear of the ocean. Ever since I've known you, I've loved you. I must see all your marvels, know all your beauty..." And the ocean listened and snuggled still closer to me.
Even during our working hours there is always still time and space in our hearts and minds for studying, wandering, observing, and enjoying the many natural wonders of the world that surround us. Even in our every day and sometimes too routine lives can we take time for the intricacies that have been gifted to us. I have proved this many times over and evidence can be seen in the jottings of my daily journal of the simplest of observations that I make as I go to and fro just in my work. There is always time...we are surrounded.
The field that you see above was my work location for a week as I endured the sun, the heat, the humidity, and the rain. This field is my office for one week every year. Just by simply being there in the outdoors I am already "observing" nature. This once a year show gives me ample space and time in my working mind to see, to feel, and to hear nature. It is like a stress relieving seminar tied in with my working hours at the same time. It is proof that we are never too busy to enjoy Gods every day gifts to us. I am "in" these surroundings from sun rise to sun set for one full week. So is it really work? Oh yes!! There is a lot of work involved...strenuous and otherwise so I am thankful for this picturesque office!
As I am setting up I am listening to the upbeat chatterings of the barn swallows that zip up and around all day long. Now and then I have to just stop what I am doing to simply watch them when they find a swarming bug cloud. They swoop in tighter and tighter circles as they feast. They remind me that summer is not yet over. There is still time...Across the ways my ears pick upon the bouncing beat of field sparrows in another "office" while the cicadas actually seem to drone on and on--bearing down on us the fact that these are the true dog days of summer. In silence, but on high, the turkey vultures along with a single black vulture stroll on by. I wonder, is it any cooler up there in the ether and beyond? At times they flap and hold their wings descending in a short dive--are they playing? Dragonflies, mostly black saddlebags, patrol the perimeter. A stray ruby-throated hummingbird occasionally zips by--all business--no time to stop and chat. There is a mission to be completed. Here in this field black swallowtail butterflies seem to be the lepidoptera in charge with buckeyes and a few monarchs following close behind. Pearl crescents are the sweethearts of the field though. Each morning around the same time a flock of rock pigeons fly over and in the evening a lone great blue heron calls it a day going in the opposite direction. A pileated woodpecker came bounding by one morning - the only showing for him the whole week. The morning song brings much renewal to the soul on these hot and sultry summer days. Blue grosbeak, robins, indigo buntings being the most notable. Seems like each day, around noon, I hear a flicker. And in the din of the afternoon when the heat is up and bird song is down a goldfinch will go bounding by with his chippering call. Leaf hoppers and grasshoppers make our tables a refuge through the day with an occasional katydid out of hiding. The designs of the clouds that go by are endless. I have found a much re-newed interest in clouds this summer. Renewing my childhood.
Yes, there is always time ~ no matter where you are or what you are doing. These are gifts ~ big gifts that re-new themselves each and every day of our lives. We have only to open our eyes, our hearts, and our senses to receive them....
In our line of work, history plays a great part. Our work can be intriguing, romantic, mysterious, laborious, but yet it still lets your imagination run wild as a childs. Our own imaginations often run rampant. On occasion we get a call to do some salvage work on old houses slated to be torn down. Many of these old houses are old farm houses ~ houses that were beautiful at one time...vibrant in life and with life. And still are in an eerie kind of way...a way in which only certain people can see and feel. These are houses that were full of purpose and function and served them both well. Nothing was created for show, but created for living...the show came through naturally out of love. When we first go into these houses we can almost still hear and feel the echoes and spirits of past life which now only remains as a memory in the heart of the house. It remembers and still feels the love and life of former occupants and perhaps wonders why and what happened for it to be deserted...empty...desolate. We, ourselves, still see the beauty here. Time is ageless, but as human occupants leave nature takes over and wildlife moves in closer. Deer, rabbits, raccoons, and oppossums. Birds sing loudly and freely and nest comfortably with no worries with a real roof over their heads. Quail "bob-white" with confidence from atop the rail fence right out of the back door. Barn swallows are stooping and diving in and out of a barn that in all probability their great great grandparents called home. Dragonflies are abounding over wild over growth and butterflies are visiting flowers that were planted by a life already past. They are still lending to the beauty and aura of the homestead.
As we approach the house I sense a hope flaring up...a hope of returning laughter, life, and nurturing. But it is not to be as we start dismantling piece by piece and peace by peace the doors, the windows, the wood work and trim. The house cries out and sometimes I even feel the pain and sadness it must feel. I feel guilty as I watch an era disappearing before my eyes. An era that was before my time and what gives me the right? History cries and as each piece is carried out another memory is put to rest and set free.
Meanwhile, outside and all around the birds still sing, the hawks soar above, the butterflies still drift over the flowers and the dragonflies patrol. Life...as we know it...goes on...