Hawk's Eyes

Robert Heinlein once noted that the high point of any freelance writer's day is checking the mail — "the low point is usually  immediately thereafter.".

True enough, but sometimes the trip home can be the best part, even when the post office box is empty.

Today was one of those days. Nothing in the PO box. But once I left the state-maintained blacktop and turned onto the stretch of private, unpaved road that we share with only four other households, I saw:

  • A neighbor's flock, the spring's lambs now large and  independent.

  • Another neighbor's fine garden, best in the area, now shifting to toward fall production; earlier this summer they had the best stand of sunflowers I've seen in ages.

  • A startled deer moving so fast across the road and into the trees that I was convinced that this one, this time, was going to drive herself headfirst into a tree and knock herself unconscious. Didn't, of course.

  • A brace of decidedly unstartled wild turkeys who actually stopped at the lip of the forest that borders the road, cocked their heads, and stared at me until I was nearly upon them. Even when they did move into the woods they did so nonchalantly, at their own pace. Neither I nor my car was going to ruffle theirfeathers.Not today, anyway.

  • A hawk, a beauty, slicing fast through open air in pursuit of something, and disappearing into the woods.

  • Four pools of standing water on our road. I had noticed them on the drive out, I;m sure, but they hadn't quite registered. It's been so long — two months at least — since we've had enough rain to saturate the ground sufficiently to allow a puddle to stand. Even the heaviest of the very few rains we've had since spring disappeared into the ground as soon as they fell. But the remnants of Isaac, here for the last three or so days, has dropped enough rain slowly enough that we have puddles again. Not so much, thankfully, to was out any of my steep driveway, nor to super-saturate the two boggy spots down here at the farm that are the bane of delivery trucks during rainier seasons.

  • Green — everywhere green: another gift from Isaac.

  • More butterflies of more varieties than I can recall in recent years.

And at the bottom of the drive, the first glimpse of this old barn which is our home — and I saw as well, as always, ten thousand things that need to get done and that I need to get to doing.

Which I believe I will, right now, with the sun out late in the afternoon for the first time since last week.

I love this little farm.

I love living here.

Especially when my eyes are opened.




Dan Smith September 5, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Nice piece, man. I can see it all.

Dan Smith

Fortunate Traveler September 6, 2012 at 8:39 PM

I love your words.

Thistle Ahead

Watching this summer's thistle draw toward a close, I thought of a favorite poem -- and of next summer's growth:

Are flower and seed the same?
What do the great dead say?
Sweet Phoebe, she's my theme:
She sways whenever I sways whenever I sway.
"O love me while I am.
You green thing in my way"
I cried, and the birds came down
And made my song their own.

— Theodore Roethke, Words for the Wind, 1958


Ready Or Not, Here We Are

Daffodils decide that February, this February anyway, is a fine time to return.


Certainly this particular February ssems to be. We're expecting 70s this afternoon.

The daffodils always emerge early, by my sense of things, not theirs — they have their rhythm, and they follow it, whatever  this year's late February and March bring their way.

The temptation to follow their lead and fill the garden with plenty of plants that are not daffodils is strong — even though I know that we still have close to three months of frost possibility ahead, and , no doubt, at least a few brutal nights. maybe more than a few, and maybe more than a few of them later than March. I have seen, once or twice as a consequence of  either irrational exuberance or irrepressible optimism (or both), snow on my tomato plants.  I know better, I guess, but some years that doesn't stop me. This may be one of those years.

Like the daffodils, I find myself in the last weeks of February — even when late February less begin than this year — beginning to raise my head in awareness that whatever winter remains, the worst is past, and whatever cold or snow or ice visits, won't linger. 

The weather this week is false spring — but that doesn't mean the real spring isn't there, coming our way for real, real soon.

Can't wait — but probably my tomatoes should.



fredFebruary 21, 2011 at 11:27 AM

I call this season NeitherNor, neither spring or winter, a time of false starts, but real hopes. Soon and very soon....