Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Briefly noted

The woods are full of mosquitoes and hummingbirds. The sound of the hummers' sweet chatter rains down on me from the treetops as I trudge along slapping away the bugs. I curse the little bloodsuckers, but try to think of them as nourishment for the dainty birds. Actually, the bloodsuckers make me nourishment for the dainty birds, which is a delightful notion...sort of.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds by Chester A. Reed, from The Bird Book, 1915.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The snapping turtles...

 not understand why everybody is so upset about the flood. I made my first trip back to the lake this morning since the big rain, and saw three large specimens, all apparently delighted with the mud and high water. Insofar as it is possible for reptiles to have facial expressions, they looked very smug. One of them was lolling next to the beaver lodge, which seemed to be vacant. The lodge is intact, but it's clear that the lake rose well above the top of it during the flood, and I didn't hear the usual early morning trilling from inside. No sign of the colony in the water or on the shore, either. Hope they survived. As I stood by the lodge, a little phoebe perched in a cedar tree right next to me and sang like mad, as if to fill the silence.

Photo by Matt Reinbold from Wikimedia commons.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Turtle conjuring

I’ve been noticing the scarcity of box turtles on my walks lately, even beginning to wonder if the population is declining for some reason. Last night I went to bed with turtles on my mind—and this morning, as if I had conjured them, scads of turtles, thanks to the heavy rain that set in a round 4 AM. Turtles love the rain, especially in the spring. For some reason they like to mate during wet weather. (Sound familiar? I posted about this last year.)

I was delighted with the turtles, and with the soggy walk. I love hiking in the rain. There’s always an initial resistance to getting wet, but once I surrender to the experience I realize that I like that sensation of the water slowly soaking through my shoes, droplets running down my arms. There’s a wonderful loss of boundaries when you’re out in the rain. It doesn’t respect your personal space.

Unfortunately, the morning showers have turned into a daylong deluge with tornadoes and heavy storms south of here, and flooding everywhere. It looks to continue all day tomorrow. Too much of a good thing. I take no responsibility. I only wished for turtles.

Charmeur de tortues, L. Crépon, 1869