Archive for the ‘Nature/animals’ Category

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.  

Helen Keller


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DSCN6498 - Version 2When a randy buck is just outside the dining room window, nibbling on the remains of the day, what is a suburban cook, in the process of cooking supper,  to do?

Does she take off her apron, freshen her lipstick and grab her best dress coat and bonnet?

Oh, no . . . ’tis no time for fussing.

She tames the flame under the pot of soup, leaving it to sulk in a slow simmer, grabs her camera, slips into her yellow rain slicker, phones the infamous Antler Man at work in the adjacent barn, and charges out the door to chronicle the event.

The Antler Man gathers hunting tools for the resident cook.


There are measured steps in deer stalking,


and a few unexpected snags,

DSCN6511all of an afternoon of life, here on the Cutoff,  as the cook takes a fashion break.


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DSCN6424The leaves are falling fast and furiously here on the Cutoff. With a wind advisory for tomorrow and a slight chance (please let it be slight) of snow, the trees hereabouts will be skeletons of their summer selves for Halloween, so, indulge me, dear reader, as I share one last post of October’s leafy splendor.

These verses are from one of my favorite poems of Robert Frost’s. It is one I’ve posted before. I offer it up once again as we bid farewell to what has been a resplendent fall season.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
 From Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost




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In a Rut

DSCN6471 - Version 2He was sauntering across the road as I executed the turn into our drive.  Watching me watching him, he paused as the driver’s window rolled down and the camera’s eye targeted him. He cunningly kept to weeds in the lot next door as I slipped out my cell phoned to call the Antler Man, who was working up in the barn. I knew Tom would be excited to learn that the boys were out roaming the Cutoff. We had recently discussed the fact the neither of us had seen any bucks in a long, long while.

Tom has a bird’s-eye view of life here on the Cutoff. His own aerie on high with which to watch the world we live in.


I needed to get the perishables into the fridge, so, motored on back, took the bags out of the trunk, put food away, and then wandered out front to see what I could see.

There I was, hiding behind the cross-the-road neighbors’ tree, staring down a doe who had better things on her mind than me. My Antler Man was patiently waiting on our lawn, which I discovered as I turned around. A buck, a doe, Antler Man and Penelope Paparazzi , all  coexisting here on the Cutoff. We ARE a PBS documentary.


Rutting season has commenced here on the Cutoff.

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We had been frolicking under the welcoming arms of Olga Larch, amazed at her beauty, and taking silly pictures of the Purple Peeper, Penelope.  Maybe it was my camera, an aging but dependable digital that the Antler Man gave me for Christmas a decade or so ago. It is held together with duct tape and construction grade rubber bands, but, golly by gee, it does the job and keeps me cataloguing walks and dinners, grandkids and life.

So, there we were, emerging from under Olga’s leafy protection, anticipating the walk back up Frost Hill to our car.  We heard “it” before seeing “it”. Tom thought it sounded like a chainsaw on wood, employed elsewhere on the grounds of the arboretum. I thought it to be a small plane sluicing the pristine sky. Then, astounded it, we saw it zooming in, dipping down, swooping low, meeting the curve of a path, and then, like a bee full of nectar, darting back to its illusive hive.

Two women of certain age were resting on a bench, oblivious to the unidentified flying object. A couple walked ’round the bend, he querying  with a nod and a wink,  “think it was government?“. We laughed, thought CIA – or Amazon practicing book deliveries.

Back in our mocha colored VW with its luscious latte interior, we motored on, up hill and dale in the autumnal glow.  I was behind the wheel when I spied a Kodak moment, my thoughts on shadows I was collecting.  Does anyone else collect shadows?  With no one behind us, I idled and asked Tom to try to get a picture. He humored me, as he always does, took a few shots, and on we went, leaf peepers at full throttle.

Home again, I downloaded (or is it uploaded?), the camera cache of the day, prepared dinner and so forth and so on, later posting about Olga and sharing a few sillies on Facebook.  It wasn’t until a few days later, fiddling around with the photos, that I saw “it”. There, on the ground, not far from the shadowing tree; could it be that illusive drone that buzzed by us as we bid farewell to Olga?

Alas, dear readers, I’ve droned on and on, so will end this missive of a fly-by-photo of a tree, a shadow and a trash bag – or is it . . .?


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DSCN6200Such a sight was afforded on a crisp Autumn afternoon.


 Time was spent under the low, sprawling branches of what I mistook for a bald Cypress.  Please click on the picture above to get a better sense of how expansive this tree is.


Like pines and balsams and cedars, larch are also conifers.  This magnificent specimen is an Olga Bay Larch.


Olga is situated at the base of Frost Hill, along the Conifer Path, toward Meadow Lake and just outside the Children’s Garden at the Morton Arboretum. From whichever direction you meet her, she invites you into her inviting embrace, to inhale her woodsy fragrance, discover her dainty cones, and to feel her silken needles.


From the windows of space under Olga’s welcoming branches, to the fern-like crown of her canopy, this specimen is a charmer, with room enough underneath her ample skirts from which to spread one’s wings and imagine fairies and wood sprites, elves and gnomes, even the illusive Purple Penelope Peeper .


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DSCN6121The Lake Isle of Innisfree

by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made: Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee, And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings. I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

This poem of Yeats is so very lovely, and just spoke to me today.  I hope you are finding peace wherever you are.

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