Friday, September 18, 2009

Listening To The Grass Grow.....

It's been raining, raining, raining. Then raining some more. And cloudy, gray, and still. It's steady, not like a hurricane, for which we are grateful. We like it, because we need it, but we don't quite know what to do with ourselves. Not like in Ireland, where my poor sister despairs of ever seeing the sun again. Wettest summer in recorded history, she moaned to me last week. But life goes on. If they were to be discombobbled by a little rain [or a lot] the entire country would cease to function. Here, it's different. It feels as if we're in a state of suspended animation, as though the earth is holding its breath and standing on its tippy toes.

I went out, one recent morning, into the gray and breathless stillness. The air was warm and sultry, plump with moisture, and it wasn't raining. Yet. Even the birds were silent. But wait! What was that faint, indescribable sound? Not raindrops. They would sink soundlessly into the pine needles. It was the sound of life, I do believe. Green, pulsating life, energized by the generous soaking, pushing itself up through the dirt, reaching for the light. Since The Bean is back in college and we only see him on weekends, I'm in charge of keeping his "babies" alive! On any normal [dry and sunny] day, I can be seen staggering around the garden, a sloshing, heavy watering can in each quivering hand. I've been happy to let Mother Nature take over!

There have been enormous black butterflies about lately, so, ever the optimist,I had my camera along. But, unconcerned with my agenda, they refused to co-operate, fluttering away, staying, always, just out of reach.
I wandered around, plucked a weed here, a weed there. No shortage of weeds, rain or drought!

And then I came to this yellow clump.

Weeds for sure, but very pretty. Besides that growing sound, I could now hear the faint whirring of hundreds of insect wings. It didn't seem so quiet and still anymore! An airborne army of these beautiful black, white, red and blue winged creatures was industriously collecting whatever it is black, white, red and blue winged creatures collect from wild flowers.

They were also very partial to these scraggly daisies.

As was this unassuming fellow:

He was not so glamorous as they in his understated brown suit, but he was a much more co-operative subject. He sat quietly sipping from the flowers through his little sippy straw, while those dashing black fellows staggered and flitted from flower to flower like frat boys at a beer fest. I'd get the perfect shot lined up and, just as I clicked, they'd buzz off to another flower!

And then my nemesis* came to join the party.

Since he seemed less interested in stinging me than in burying his nose in the flowers, I stepped gingerly in and got a few shots of him.....

Today, at last, the sun is back. I'll be sloshing around with my buckets again soon. It's been a pleasant reprieve. And rainy weather is the best for sewing.... But that's another post entirely.

* Just to be sure I was using the right word, I checked with Merriam-Webster. I was given these two choices:

a.One that inflicts retribution and vengeance;

b.A formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent.

Obviously I nailed it.....

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Whisper In The Dark Changed The World....

Seven years ago today the phone rang, early in the morning, when it was still dark. I fumbled blindly 'til my hand found the phone on the night stand.

"Mom," whispered oldest son in reverential tones, "it's a girl....and she's beautiful!"

After your children are grown, you think you can stop worrying and fretting about them. And then grandchildren come along, and suddenly you have not less to fret about, but more. Not that I'm really a worrier....But sometimes things happen that you can do nothing about. And if people don't call, or pick up when you call, because they don't want to worry you, you just worry more. Tonight I'll sleep peacefully because, after a long silence, we finally talked. And all is well.

I don't need material things to make me happy. I just need to know that all is well.

Happy seventh birthday, beautiful girl.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

While Robert Earle Peacefully Slumbers........

We used to fall down laughing at the idea that "Yanks" who came to visit Ireland and "did" the whole country in five days, actually believed they'd "seen" the country, rather than the inside of a tour bus! If I moved back there and lived to be two hundred, I'd still die with 75 percent of the country "unseen" to my satisfaction! I even envy people who live in parts of Ireland that I'm unfamiliar with, and wonder what being Irish means to them, and if it is a whole different experience than being from my small corner.

The touring Yanks we saw were cliches. The ladies were all slightly stooped, had blue hair, and softly powdered cheeks. The men were gigantically tall, with huge, shiny, wing tip shoes, white socks, gray hair, pendulous lower lips and languid drawls. Both genders wore navy or gray raincoats and carried umbrellas---"Ya gotta remember what they told us about the weather, Wally!"

At least that's how they seemed to the ten or twelve year old me.

Of course that was back in the last century.........Travelers have changed since those far off days, I realize. And my perceptions of things, quite possibly, have changed too. But I stuck with tradition on my five days, give or take a few, in England recently. Traditionally, tourists visit churches.

I visited a church. It was within sight of my lovely trio's front door.

We went for a walk one day, up a nearby hill.

This was the view of the church as we came back down.

Such a solid, square, British looking church! I had to go inside and have a look.

Some lovely stained glass windows.......

.....and several ancient inscriptions to worthies long deceased, such as this one to Robert Earle Esquire.

Times, as noted earlier, have changed. Churches these days are not always used as their builders intended. But those soaring ceilings are not going to waste. At least not in this particular church. After reading about Robert Earle, if you slowly turn a half circle round....

this.... what you'll see.

Since church attendance has fallen off, the building is being used as a climbing center!

I wonder what Robert Earle Esquire and the Yanks of my youth would think of that?