Have you ever pulled yourself hand-over-hand hundreds of feet to the top of a California Redwood and tied your hammock among gardens of plants and critters that had never walked the ground from whence you came?
Spock would have a fit. We humans have an amazing gift for ignoring logic.
Why, for instance, would we think putting salt on our winter roads is bad because it pollutes nearby water and wetlands, yet we’re willing to accept water laced with radioactive and chemically laced salts we would not allow on our dinner tables, declaring them “safe when used as directed.”
Vigorously. That is what we say when the clouds pour their liquid load on our house.
I have awakened the past few mornings to grayer skies lighting, dimly, my bedroom. I lay there torn between competing imperatives: I should stay in bed and read or go back to sleep, and I should be up already finding some constructive endeavor with which to occupy my attention.
Black cherry is what it is called by the app on my phone that identifies most trees accurately. To me, it just looks lonesome for want of children to swing from its branches.
I am sitting on the back deck, watching eight squirrels cavort around the grass and through the flower beds, trees and roof. A few House Sparrows arrive looking for breakfast, as do a pair of Mourning Doves and another of Northern Cardinals.
I worked for a time in the Navy with a man who loved hunting, fishing, and generally being outdoors, but whose wife, he often said, defined “roughing it as a Holiday Inn without a swimming pool.”
I sometimes go for a week or more without getting into the woods, then I go there and remember why I was feeling so badly about not.
I was able to visit my dry vernal pool Monday. Sure enough, a few of the recent rain clouds passed over and made it a pool with water in it. I shot a few minutes of underwater video and there clearly were multiple somethings, looking like translucent polliwogs, swimming around in there. Really tiny, but a few got to the correct focal distance and I could see their bulbous heads and skinny tails trailing behind like pieces of thread in need of a pair of scissors.
Somewhere near the head of a stream, water seeps slowly into a flaw in the granite. Winter cold freezes the mixture of oxygen and hydrogen into an expanding wedge that forces the boulder to crack in two pieces, then more. Gradually, over several winters, the stream grows larger and the boulder pieces smaller.
Of the (mostly) men I looked up to back in the day, several have turned out to be racist. Or misogynistic. Or both.
Research published in recent years appears to indicate that while ents may be fictional, trees do have feelings and do communicate among themselves, usually along pathways made possible by a multitude of fungi growing at the feet, er, roots of those slow-growing, long-living organisms that clean our air, filter our water and provide the raw materials that form our wooden caves.
What I am pretty certain was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak lit momentarily within sight, then departed before I could take the camera in hand.
Those of us fortunate enough to gain housing close to a stream, lake or ocean often post signs around it announcing our success to neighbors who must settle for looking out their front windows at our back doors.
It seems only a week ago the crocuses popped out of the mulch and leftover snow to welcome spring and the Persian New Year.
Pennsylvania is not one of them. It should be.
The concept is not a new one. Battery makers must process their products when they no longer start our cars. We buy new tires for our chariot and pay to have the dealer dispose of them.
Bluebirds, starlings and sparrows line up atop the fence outside my window, anxiously jockeying to see who will take over the fixer-upper mounted atop the fence post at the far end. The starling tries to bully his way to head of the line, but will lose the contest, because he’s too big to get through the hole, but he’s sure making life miserable for the others.
Funny how we remember some things and not others, especially parts of the same story. Like my first deer hunt. Dad and Mom hunted every year on Roy Stewart’s orchards, but that was adult sport; kids not invited.
Then one day Mom handed me her rifle and a bullet and sent me forth.
Sugaring-off when I was a kid was a sure sign of summer’s on the way. Nights below freezing and days in the low to mid 40s made the sap run in the sugar maple trees. In those days, we donned snowshoes and hiked from tree to tree, boring a half-inch hole in each trunk, hammering in the spile, then hanging a collection bucket from an attached hook.
Some people claim the stock market is an indicator of the health of our economy. In truth, as indicated by the newsworthy reactions of the Big Investors to being outfoxed last week by what they call “Dumb Money,” it is a way for (mostly already) wealthy folks to shuffle money around giving the appearance of making more of it.
My grandfather taught me the rudiments of electricity when I was about 13 or so. Grandpa had retired from the Massachusetts Transit Authority, where he had been responsible for keeping the electricity running to the streetcars. (In New Orleans and many movies, they are known as trolley cars.)
My best friend gave me an insulated vest for the days when I venture out into the winter air. Out my back window, most of the trees have taken the opposite approach, having shed their raiment and shut down their blood supplies to protect against the frigid winds of winter.