A pair of nuthatches are in residence; I think this is the female.
They are friendly and chatty; if the peanut feeder needs refreshing they will sit on deck chair and stare at me; they are acrobats ("creepers go up; nuthatches go down") and seem to be able to almost lay their head along their back when they look up and peer around while feeding (at least what seems to us) upside down.
I don't really agree with the general opinion that they say "Ink Ink Ink" - but so far I cannot come up with an improvement on the interpretation.
A week or so ago a baby flew in the open deck door, made a U-turn into the kitchen where I was, and then tried to get back out through the closed window to where its parent was sitting on the peanut feeder and screeching to it. Other parent was in the nearby tree, also screeching.
Baby was not screeching and its fluttering against the window seemed more "look at me!" than frantic.
A soft cloth got dropped gently over it, soothing words spoken, and as it got carried back outdoors it poked its head out of the cloth and looked around. Parents were now both in the tree calling.
Once cloth was opened, it flew straight into the tree. A minute or so later one of the parents was back on the feeder and soonest had chipped away some peanut which it flew back to the tree.
A day ago one of the parents was on the feeder when I was out on deck having supper; baby showed up and perched on a nearby chain. Parent kept flying over to it and feeding it, talking to it. Baby finally flew over to feeder. Walked around. Talked back in its more high-pitched voice. Parent was pecking tiny pieces and feeding baby, pecking larger pieces and feeding self. Moving away from baby. Baby followed. Something seemed to click. Baby gave a peck. Got a piece of peanut. Ate it. Went back to following parent around.
Then a second baby showed up! Parent busily fed both. Chorus of "Ink Ink Ink Ink....."
Parent flew back to tree. Babies sat on feeder for a few seconds .... upright. Then they flew away.
Some of life incidents leave a shimmer in memory and when they recur in mind the body responds deeply with the feeling. Maybe all of life is like this, on some level, but some events are just, well - more shimmery.
Being encased in a bubble was one of these. I can't remember details of the situation now - it might have been a clowning workshop and the experience of having once been a clown - but I do remember standing in a pool of bubble solution. Inside a hoop. The hoop was then drawn up in a smooth swoop; a bubble came with it; I was inside the bubble. Looking out.
There wasn't the mesmerizing sight of reflections on a sphere, the breath-holding fact of fragility, that one has when looking at a bubble floating in the air. No. This was quite different. Heart-stopping in a different way. I almost wanted to close my eyes and just feel the bubble as it surrounded me but it was just too exciting to miss seeing so I think I even forwent blinking.
I don't think we were given the chance to experience it more than once, seems to me there were people lined up, waiting. It only lasted a few seconds but those few seconds lasted an age. You know what I mean. There was also a scent. It wasn't soap. It wasn't anything I had smelled before or since. Maybe it was the fragrance of magic.
Scented geraniums are planted at the front door for a fragrant welcome - or farewell - 'handshake'. Rounded, aged bricks are laid on the ground outside and inside of that door. Treasures from 'street combing' are in evidence and constantly change so they are continually 'seen': a gorgeous leaf, an interesting stone, a blue box bottle, a bright copper penny.
A natural serenity prevails indoors: fir floors, cedar bookshelves, pine box coffee table, maple chairs and chesterfield, jute rugs, large tree branch 'starred' with mini lights, cotton and linen textured curtains. Windows that open, and a good feng shui layout of pathways for flow of light and air, complement the ambiance.
The furniture is grouped in all the rooms to face outdoors. And the garden has been planted - or allowed to roam - to give views and vistas. Watching birds at a feeder, the movement of clouds, sway of trees and vines, squirrels on a highway wire, are endlessly soothing and fascinating. Conversation between people becomes meaningful when the eyes are thus engaged.
The kitchen is the hub of the house around which indoors/outdoors revolve with the least barrier between. Windows and doors lead directly to a flagstoned patio where the table can be immediately whisked for sudden outdoor dining. The patio leads to different garden rooms with walls of bushes or lattice, reclaimed-wood fences, instant rebar pergolas covered by vines. And comfortable seating everywhere.
The attic is necessary living space in an indoor/outdoor home. The immediacy of the roof allows for the sound of the rain. Skylights, low to the eaves, encompassing bed and chair, sewing machine, bathtub, offer the best of both environments. Skylights, higher in the peak, draw in clouds and stars, birds riding the wind, rainbows, the horizon.
Nature, human and otherwise, is beckoned to and welcomed by a natural habitat house. Why? Because it makes us feel good. It's simple, affordable, beneficial to the environment, aesthetically pleasing, worthwhile. It spreads, as first time visitors look around and say, "Hey, I could do this..." And go home and do it.
It's a way of seeing. A way of being. A tangible means of turning the notion that the "grass is always greener..." back to our very own space, wherever and whatever it may be.
Nature provides solace, sanctuary, silliness. It's only an attitude away.
Came across this at a garage sale yesterday; had an interesting chat about it with the man seller but did not buy it; had walked all the way back to my car (it was at a street sale) when I suddenly realized I wanted it. For one thing, I could not recall the exact wording. Had some idea that "... would you think you were if you didn't know how old you were ..." but this didn't seem right.
And it wasn't. The wording is perfect. I wonder who said it. (Just googled: Satchel Paige )
I expect to engage in some more thoughtful discussion with others about what is asked in the future.
But at the moment it has triggered a memory. When one of my sons was an adolescent he would often answer a query with an immediate "I don't know." One day, in frustrated inspiration, I said, "If you did know, what would you say." And he surprised us both by having an answer.
I used if often, after that, with him and we both benefitted.
Since then, I have used it with myself on all sorts of queries, internal and external. It is quite a lovely and worthwhile tool.
As to How old would I be if I didn't know how old I am - well, that depends .....
The lure is strongest at four in the afternoon. Oh, it's not that I don't think of being therein at other times - and often do - but the siren call seems to occur most unquestionably as the day approaches the time when it is most pleased with itself.
Yesterday I started in the small garden area at the bottom of the front door walkway steps. Kneeling and picking out grasses that had gotten overly chummy with the violets and whatever is coming up in profusion with the most gorgeous of deep crimson leaves; enjoying the slip-slidy sunrays; hauling self to an upright position whenever the plastic flowerpot I was using as a container got filled and trekking it to a part of the rock garden that could use a buildup of material; hauling self upright and finally taking off the sweater I hadn't needed in the first place; having small talks with self to convince to move along a foot or so and just finish the 'weeding' of that one small bed - all this was fine and pleasant and part of the gardening experience.
But when I got near the end of the bed and found myself wondering why grass and violets couldn't just co-exist - but - knowing the answer - grass is just so - so - Grassy! - I leapt to my feet and said, aloud, "Enough!" I had intended to come indoors but as I passed the side garden where the grass is not being picked out but turned over to provide an understory for the plantings of fragrant bushes, I stopped and gave one glance and immediately went for the shovel.
Now - this is the power of the late afternoon. Likely, had it been earlier in the day, I might have stopped and stared and then decided not to continue. Siren call, as I previously said. One glance. Got the shovel. And then delight began.
Something - something! - takes over when one slips into a groove of contentment. It happens for me with Knitting. It happens with digging in the earth. It happens in true and deep conversation with family or friend.
Perhaps it is some memory of my Polish landowner ancestors. Perhaps it is a memory of watching my Baba and my father dig in the earth. Perhaps it is the pure joy of the moment in participating with Nature. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, the soil is moist and smells of Spring, there are children playing across the street and their voices and laughter mingle with the birdsong.
I point my shovel on an angle toward the earth.
Now, here I must digress. Somewhere, likely in the basement - put there before winter so it would not rust - is a brand new shovel I bought a few years ago because - oh lord - I don't remember exactly why - something to do with honouring this new-to-me garden with a new-to-both-of-us tool - possibly it was on sale but I don't think so. The newness was the appeal. It has been used and admired and appreciated. But, as I said, its very newness requires special attention. Thus the basement placement last autumn.
My old shovel, a bit rusty, the handle rough with weathering, the one that has travelled with me from garden to garden, spent the winter outdoors - oh yes, under the porch - but close by the garden because I dig compost holes year round.
And it was this shovel that got put to use yesterday. I grasped that experienced handle with bare hands before replacing my garden gloves and gladdened at the grooves and wrinkles. That shovel has journeyed some!
And so I pointed its tip into the earth and leaned my yellow-garden-shoe'd foot onto the top of its blade and pushed. It took a bit of a wriggle until the lying-down grass blades gave way to the thrust. There's a balance required so one does not overtip and fall forward as the blade suddenly slices past the surface matter and does what a shovel should.
Then there is the push down on the handle and the push up on the blade. The chunk never comes cleanly away unless the clump has been outlined but, heck, part of Nature's charm is the randomness. The arms guide and the back straightens and the clump comes free of the ground.
Now this is not a garden plot I am preparing where that clump would need to be tossed down on itself once or twice or three times perhaps, to shake loose the soil, then the grass gripped with a hand and shaken to loosen yet more. Then moved somewhere else to compost. No, this is the understory story. The challenge is to raise that clump of earth from the ground and skillfully flip it over on itself so that it lands upside down into the very hole from which it has been taken, the grass neatly (hopefully!) now underground and on its way to turning back into earth. Sometimes I manage a perfect upside-down manoeuvre. Mostly not. Random is as random does. So I smoosh the earth around a bit, flatten where necessary, bury the protruding grass shoots with little prods and pokes.
The earthworms make me smile and I try not to injure them. The black beetles are ebony jewels. An earwig somehow got onto my dress and considerably startled me later by scooting across the skirt as I was talking on the phone. It was brushed onto the floor before I thought and took refuge under some suitcases.
Four o'clock will happen again this afternoon and I have things I need to get done before then.......