Compensations for being quiet
Last evening, when I had an idle moment, I walked around our pond and sat on a rock by the waterfalls. I do that whenever I can because opportunity doesn’t like to be kept waiting. The serenities of nature were all around, and they prompted me to pause and reflect.
Here’s a toast to the art of forgetting
That friend of the fast dimming past.
Gone down with the sun that is setting,
The sordid has vanished at last.
Remembering beauty untarnished,
The joy and glamour enhanced.
Reviewing the years with laughter and tears,
In the twilight I ponder entranced.
An orange dragonfly rested on a water iris. He was very still – just looking. Another landed beside him (or her), and a third, and then a fourth. They were perfectly aligned, as if in a pew. Where was my camera?
I’ve often wondered how insects of the same species recognize each other. They can’t see themselves so how do they know they’re chumming with others of the same kin? Yes, I know, it’s instinct. But because they all look exactly alike how can one identify his brothers from the others?
Then some damselflies arrived, both red and blue. They bobbed about for a while, but soon were gone with little more than casual disinterest. Maybe they had a beef. Perhaps they didn’t like what their cousins were doing on the water iris leaf?
A chair is posted at a favored spot beside the pond. My fishing rod is kept there too, constantly at the ready. A dragonfly likes to rest there also. He always looks so composed. Evidently blue dragonflies are not likewise so disposed.
Then suddenly, amid a muffled whirr of sound, a resident hummingbird joined our company and checked me out, and the dragonfly too. She likes to dart back and forth, and hover.
This must be her nest. It was just there, lying on the ground. There were no eggs or shells anywhere around. Hmmm.
Three esteemed inhabitants on the pond are Angelo, Barney, and Tail End Charlie, so named because of a birth defected left leg that slows him to half a normal waddling gait. How did such an imperfection occur, and when? A friend told me it was either a freak of nature, or something his mother ate. Okay then.
They were 3” tall when I purchased them at the San Marcos Feed Store. The clerk said, “You can’t take just one; they come in sets,” like he knew. I didn’t think three bucks each was too much to pay for the cute little pets. Do you?
Several times a day the farm ducks come up on the grass and quack, which means they’re ready for their cracked corn snack.
The hungry threesome likes to wander up and down a little streamlet that flows into the pond, looking for things to grub. Crawfish, being lower on the food chain, are mostly too late in hiding, as are some of the water bugs.
Both peppermint and spearmint plants grow in great abundance at the waterfall, blocking most of the splashing water from our view. The blossoms on top of the mint attract bees from all around the neighborhood. I think they like the purple hue.
One of our tall cottonwood trees was maimed by a lightning strike and lost a big limb. I saw the whole thing. I was just standing there at our kitchen window watching. So now when there’s thunder, Peggy and I and little Tesuque, run for cover.
Peggy’s grandmother once told me that just a millisecond before lightning hits, the hair on the back of my neck will stand up. It’s a static electricity phenomenon, she claimed. When that happens lightning is about to hit nearby with a jolt. But if I jump really high, maybe it will hit the ground while I’m still in the air, thus saving me from the fiery bolt.
Of course I don’t know if that’s true. She also said you shouldn’t plant a weeping willow tree because when it gets big enough to cover your grave, you’ll die. However, Peggy and I have such a giant willow that we planted as a seedling in 1988, and we’re still vertical. Makes me suspicious of grandmotherly wisdom.
Nothing but good can happen when I’m still and observing wildlife in its natural landscape. To describe it almost wears me out of words. In nature’s quietness I can steal away to places where all my dreams come real, at least for a little while, that’s the way I feel. f