5:30 VS 8:00

Let me make this perfectly clear, the times in the title are a.m. not p.m. This is the time of day you will find me on the sidewalks of my subdivision.

I am not happy about the 5:30 time, but the temperature and humidity have risen too high to make my original start time (8:00) survivable. As I walked, I considered the pros and cons of the two start times.

Pros for 5:30

At 5:30 it should be cooler (although the humidity often makes it just as miserable). Just for the sake of argument, I will state it is cooler than the later time period. The light is more muted because it is before sunrise, but it is not dark. The sun does not blind me and make me squint as I look ahead. Occasionally, there might be some color to the sky in the east. More often than not, there is no spectacular sunrise.

The beauty is not just in the sky. When the conditions are just right I find ground fog in the field. A gauzy veil draped over the ground.

There is no social distancing to worry about. NO ONE else is out and about at that time of day.

Cons for 5:30

When I need to be on the move by 5:30, I cannot snuggle back into my bed, for another hour of drifting between asleep and awake. I must get up, get dressed, and get out the door. No time for caffeine to simulate my conscious being. Awake and moving are the order of the day.

At 5:30 there is a water hazard to contend with on my journey. Sprinklers on timers often run at that time of day. Usually I see them and can veer down a driveway into the street and use another driveway to get back on my route. However, there have been times I’ve been caught off guard. When I hear a sppp-sppptttt-ssppttttt I need to pick up the pace or be pelted with water. (Which might offer a little coolness.)

Pros for 8:00

There is no water hazard. The sprinklers are finished. The sun shines brightly revealing the sparkles not seen in the muted light. Dew is not the only thing to glimmer in the bright light. Slugs have been laboring across the concrete leaving their secret code behind. Those faint white lines glisten in the morning light. I must say that even though I admire the glistening lines, I loathe slugs.

Look to the left for the squiggle to start and go up.
Does X mark the spot?
Look at the top middle, the trail stops. Where did the slug go?

I have time to savor my coffee and allow the jolt of caffeine to take effect before beginning my walk.

Cons for 8:00

There are others walking, so we play the game of chicken (more commonly referred to as social distancing). Who’s going to step off the sidewalk onto the road?

That brilliant sun makes it HOT! Sweat rolls down my nose. Sweat slides down my forehead stinging my eyes. Sweat lingers at the roots of each hair follicle. I am MISERABLE! I am a dripping mess!

The conclusion of analyzing the pros and cons of the two times is to stick with the early time slot and just suck it up. When it gets cooler, you will find me still in bed at 6:00. I can’t wait for those days to return!

Don’t you have a story to share?

Dewy Morning

The sun rises to reveal the diamonds left in the night.

They glitter. They glint. They glisten as I continue on my walk. With each step, I marvel at the sparkle.

I look closely.

Dew drops of all sizes rest on the petals.

Grass is a slip and slide for each droplet.

Dew is formed when the object is cooler than the air around it. Lately, there has been no dew when I walk. The nights just don’t cool off enough to create the conditions for dew to form. Dew cools the plant down in much the same way that evaporating sweat cools your body on a hot day. I bet the plants around me are wishing for dewy mornings. I know I am.

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Some Luck & a Memory

Every once in a while, I get lucky. My number is the random number so I win. What do I win you ask. I win books. If someone posts a give away related to books, I enter. If you don’t enter, you won’t win. I want to win the $5,000 a week for life that is sponsored by Publishers Clearing House, but I don’t enter so I know I won’t win. But . . . if I see a chance to win a book or gift card to a book, I am right there filling in my details. In May, I won a $50 gift card from Travis Jonker (100 Scope Notes) to Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Now you might think there is a logistic problem here. I cannot visit this store it is 660 miles away from me. The internet solved that problem for me, I can order my books on-line and they will ship them to me. Of course, that’s not nearly as fun as browsing the shelves myself, but we are living a pandemic, so that is not an option.

The next hurdle is what to order. I spent a couple weeks browsing through my notes of books I need. Finally, I made my decision and placed my order.

My luck continued when I pulled out one of the books.

See that sticker top right?

The book flap says:

A girl.

An elevator.

And a magic button.

This is the endsheet behind the cover.

Yes, it’s all that and more. This book stirred a memory from long, long ago.

There was a girl (me – 12 years old). An elevator in an old building. My family had just moved from Houston, Texas to Kansas City, Missouri. We needed to find a house, but in the meantime, we were in an extended stay kind of a place. I don’t think it was a hotel, but I don’t think it was an apartment either. It was a whole new experience for me to be in this building with an elevator.

I’m sure my family annoyed the long term residents. We were five kids who had never ridden an elevator before. We thought it was such fun to push the buttons and ride up (probably only had five floors) and down over and over. I think there were complaints, so we had to stop.

There was magic as we pretended we were on a spaceship or a pirate ship or whatever else kids dream up. Reading Lift reminded me of a piece of my life long ago.

Social Distancing

Those two words in the title had no meaning four months ago. Now they are front and center in daily life. Who would have ever thought that one would need to be leery of a person walking past you? Social distancing has taken a whole new life form when walking.

This is the road I walk up every day. Those curves hide other walkers.

I used to walk about 8:00 a.m. The sun would be rising over the roofs blinding me as I trudged up the grade. Usually I kept my head low, studying the sidewalk to be sure I didn’t step on any creatures, with quick glances to make sure I was alone on the sidewalk.

Oh no, someone is headed towards me! Who will veer off the sidewalk to the road? How sad that we cannot pass on the sidewalk. Even though we don’t share the sidewalk, we do acknowledge each other’s presence with a “Good morning!” or “What a great morning!” or even “How are you doing today?” I may not know their names or where they live or share a sidewalk, but I enjoy our brief encounters in these days of sheltering in place.

These are a few of the walkers I used to meet daily.

Now that it’s hot, I have changed my walking time. I leave the house just after 6 a.m. Usually it’s just me and the birds out and about. However, it is so much cooler (for about fifteen minutes). I wonder if the other walkers think I’ve abandoned my stroll.

Sightseeing

I opened the paper to this headline:

I knew it was coming, but here it was in big bold letters staring at me. I know a sigh escaped. We were not going anywhere for a long period of time. 😦

This was supposed to be our road trip summer. East and northwest were the goals of this summer. New areas of our country and Canada to explore were just on the horizon of summer. Then the pandemic landed and we were grounded.

I decided to create my own journey of exploration. This was the land I explored.

As I wandered the perimeter, a bit of blue wedged between the border rocks caught my eye.

Where is the nest?

Was this blown from the nest after hatching or before hatching?

I continued my journey. I looked up to discover a single thread shimmering in the sunlight. Undulating with the breeze, a spider’s highway overhead.

Looking deep into the branches of the arborvitae I find a thicket of limbs no longer living. Has that happened because the sun can’t reach them?

Slowly, I continue to wander and wonder.

This viburnum bush has a branch that doesn’t match the rest of the branches. Why? I looks like someone has been nibbling on the branch.

The branch on the left is a close-up of the branch on the right.

Each pause on this journey has left me questioning. Questions continue. What bird has lost such a long feather? Was this lost when charging at the squirrel? Or did it simply fall out and float gently to land in my yard?

So much of our yard is now shade, these conditions are conducive to grow hostas. Something has been nibbling. An interesting bloom has sprouted. Check out the close-up of the bud. I love the diamond layers.

The journey is nearly completed. I look up. The canopy shields me from the sun, but I see the branches as spokes on a wheel creating connections for creatures I cannot see.

The next time I take this same journey, I know the sights will be different even though the terrain stays the same. No mask required for this trip. I believe I will be spending lots of time this summer here, but I will be dreaming of travels yet to come (someday).

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Attacked!

I couldn’t believe my luck! Delectable delights waiting to be devoured and I was the only one there. Look at all the maple seeds (they are also called samaras or kids call them helicopters – but I call them delicious!) just laying around.

I must admit, I wasn’t paying much attention to my surroundings because I was starving. I was here last week checking out this location and no one was around. Imagine my shock when a robin attacked me, immediately followed by a small blackish bird. They flew right at me and pecked my head! What was that all about? Quickly I dove for cover.

The hostas were perfect for hiding. I waited for a bit then cautiously crept out to continue my feast. Have you ever tried these seeds? They are the best in the spring!

Just as I settled back in for my feast, the birds were back interrupting my meal. I would have gladly shared my seeds, but they weren’t having it. They kept flying right into me so I had to hide out under the arborvitae tree.

Cautiously I crept out to continue my dinner, but I wasn’t safe for long.

Thank goodness for the safety in the hostas! Do you see that robin sitting on the fence. It was just waiting for me to creep out of my hiding place.

Eventually I gave up trying to have a peaceful meal. I climbed up the fence and was strolling along the top when the #%$@! bird came charging. I scurried across the top of that fence and hid in a dense viburnum bush. Maybe later I will go back and snack on a few seeds. Want to join me?

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Surprise Visitor

You weren’t invited, but you decided to “pop in” to check out the neighborhood. You didn’t think anyone spotted you, but you were wrong. I saw you through the kitchen window.

You sat up, looked around, then climbed the nearest tree. Conveniently, you found a shelf. It was perfect for a rest and to observe the world below.

Soon you became bored and disappeared in the foliage. Will you be back?

Can you spot the squirrel?

We have lived in our house sixteen years and I think this is only the second time we have had a squirrel in our backyard. It was quite a surprise to see it and watch it from the kitchen window.

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Walking Two Ways

One Way

Phone in pocket,

Eyes scan horizon,

Birds chirp,

Check the time.

Slower steps to start, momentum grows,

Until . . .

A curious mind pauses,

What’s that?

What’s new?

Stop!

Snap photo.

Repeat.

Check time, how long have I walked?

Reset body posture.

Moving along, photos preserve thoughts.

Check the time, long enough.

Back home, birds still chirping.

Another Way

Phone in pocket,

Earbuds in place,

Return a phone call.

Watch for fellow walkers

While listening and responding.

Unconsciously moving forward,

Up a hill,

Down a hill,

Around a bend.

Call ends.

I am home

Wondering,

What did I miss today?

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A Plain Walnut Box

Standing on a step stool, I reached for the long plastic box that held my shorts through the winter. I spotted the walnut jewelry box pushed up beside the wall, just out of my reach.

It was placed high up in the closet sixteen years ago when we moved into this house. At that time, I couldn’t part with this box or the treasures it held. It didn’t fit in with the decor of the room, so it was put on the top shelf in the closet. It has occupied that space for many years, because as the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” Every year as I swapped my turtleneck sweaters for shorts I saw the box, but didn’t touch it. The plain walnut box and the treasures within were safe.

My father enjoyed creating with wood. This was one of the many items he built in his lifetime. He probably made it for me when I was in high school, which was about fifty years ago.

Curiosity made me grab a hanger to pull the box toward me. I used a tissue from my pocket to wipe the thick layer of dust off the top. Slowly I pulled out the top drawer.

I study the objects in the tray. I have no idea what the key would open. Is that a shark’s tooth or an animal claw necklace? Where did that come from? I remember the scarab earring, but what happened to the other earring?

Under the tray are more mysteries. Why do I have an elephant figurine? I do remember the scarab bracelet, the glass snowflake, the engraved charm, and the gold cross necklace. The ring and Christmas tree pin don’t even tickle a memory.

Treasures in this drawer include a pearl (fake) necklace, a broken butterfly necklace, a telephone stickpin, a jade necklace, two buttons, a sorority Greek letter necklace, and a small white box. Only two of the items stirred any memory.

What’s in the white box, you ask? Five dollars in coins, but look closer, some are quite old. The quarters are from 1936-1964.

What are they doing in my plain walnut box? What will I do with them?

I think I will part with some of these “treasures,” but I may find new treasure to fill in the spaces to be discovered another day.

Puzzled

Every morning I spend about thirty minutes ambling, trudging, strolling, and sometimes traipsing up one street, around a bend or two, and back down towards my home. The road doesn’t change, but my direction alternates between clockwise and counter clockwise. You would think the views of the homes and yards would be the same each day, but it is not. Every day I notice something new. Sometimes I take a picture to save the thinking that might turn into a blog post. Which is exactly what happened today. Here you have a few random sightings that left me puzzled.

Sidewalks are generally straight. They curve when the road curves, that is to be expected. Occasionally they veer off because of a nonnegotiable structure.

Close-up of previous photo.

What is the reason for this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why the bump into the grass?

This view made me stop. I am standing on the sidewalk wondering the purpose/reason for this path to this tree. It is not wide enough to walk on. Why did the homeowner prevent the grass from growing? I keep watching to see what happens to this path. So far, no signs of grass seed on this path.

The arrow is pointing to the tree at the end of the path.

Just down from the confusing path, I come across this mess on the sidewalk.

I understand that the dirt (which becomes mud when it rains) is from the yard where a house is under construction. What I don’t understand is the trail of mud that travels down the sidewalk. At first I thought a bike had ridden through the mud, but the mud trail is too wide for a bike’s tire.

Look how far this trail of mud goes. Why is there an entire sidewalk box full of mud when it has grass on both sides?

You can see that the trail continues on and crosses another home’s driveway. I am flummoxed by the trail of mud.

These are some of the puzzling thoughts that occupy my mind these days. What’s puzzling you? 🙂

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