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Last year, I wrote a post inspired by Kate Messner’s book, 59 Reasons to Write. It was a lesson encouraging the writer to listen to the sounds surrounding them. I sat on my patio and listened. Then I wrote this post. Many new homes were being built in our neighborhood, construction sounds dominated. Heavy trucks rumbled by for a new road. Those were the sounds on that day.
Have the sounds changed in a year? Let’s find out, I close my eyes and listen to . . .
A muffled r-r-r-r in the distance, from traffic a mile away. The motorcycle revs its engine to sound like an angry wasp. A train blasts its horn as it passes through an intersection, since its quite distance it is more melodious than not.
Wind sounds in the trees reminds has me visualizing a wave coming to shore. Gently the water laps at your feet, building in intensity until the wave wants to topple me. The wind begins with a whisper, sliding through the evergreen trees, building in speed creates rustling, until it reaches a brisk crescendo. It drops and there is silence for a moment as it draws its breath to repeat. Wind chimes from patios tinkle as they are not in the thrust of the wind.
Chirps, cheeps, coo-coos, trills of birds fill the air. A conversation, not meant for me to understand, ensues. I lose the bird-speak as the wind builds in intensity, but when it dies down the chatter of the feathered friends has not lessened.
Sharp nails on metal cause me to open my eyes and search for the source. A robin has landed in the curved crook of the downspout. It gives me one exasperated chirp as if to say, “What are you doing here?” before taking flight.
The landscape of sounds have changed in a year. I prefer the sounds of nature surrounding me on my patio.
I have a peach tree.
I have a peach tree that has not had a peach for two years.
I have a peach tree that has not had a peach for two years because cold weather blew in.
I watch my peach tree.
I watch my peach tree for signs of buds.
I watch my peach tree for signs of buds hoping that winter is over because I see buds and a few have blossomed.
I wait for the other buds.
I wait for the other buds to open and invite the bees to pollinate.
I wait for for the other buds to open and invite the bees to pollinate so I can savor the sweet taste of sunshine that is a perfect peach.
In December, we had two river birch trees removed from our landscaping. They were beautiful trees and the decision to remove them was an emotional battle. Finally the orders were given for the trees to be removed. Their roots are very invasive (didn’t know this ten years ago when they were planted) and we wanted to avoid complications in the future to our house’s foundation. I wrote about the tree in the front of the house earlier this month. That tree was a focal point in the landscape and is dearly missed.
The other tree was in our back yard. It sat in the corner, shading the house, but not in view from any window. Its loss was not mourned nearly as much as the front tree.
Recently we noticed something happening with the stump left behind. All of a sudden, it’s wet. Flies and bees buzzed to investigate this wet stump. I told my husband the tree was weeping. He didn’t appreciate my humor.
Within a day, the wet became filmy white. The liquid begian to ooze its way over the edge.
I stepped in to take a photo, and bubbles erupted from the rocks.
Look at the bottom, in the rocks. See that bubbling mass?
I step back and a foamy hole is left. I step forward, back, forward, back to watch the bubbles.
The bubbles popped and leave a hole.
Several days later, the insects no longer buzz about the stump. It is still filmy but now we are adding other fungi to the film.
I don’t know when this show will end, but I’ll be checking every day to see the next development in stump slime. We have decided it is a Petri dish stump.
Before the last snow, I wandered about the backyard looking for signs of plants waking from the winter. First place I check is my mini patch I call a garden. Tulip bulbs and asparagus crowns lie beneath the soil. When they begin the journey from underground to breaking through the dirt, I know spring is on its way.
A quick look to the right ends in disappointment. The asparagus continues to rest underground.
On the left, I discover shoots have broken ground. The tulips pushed their way through! But wait what’s that? The shoots are sheared off, level to the ground. It appears that someone with a sharp clippers has come along and clipped my green tulip shoots down to their nubs.
Do you see how this has been nibbled off? This was taken after the snow melted, so it had grown slightly from my previous viewing.
My eyes narrow, I know the predator of my tulips. It’s a rabbit! He has the teeth that would gnaw away at my young, green sprigs, which survived the winter cold only to be a tender tasty treat for him.
Now we will enter into a war. I will be more vigilant over my bulbs, he will not deprive me of my springtime flower.
Here are the shoots that have not been nibbled on.
When I need a slice of life, I get up, grab my camera, and step out. A walk around the block usually gives me something to notice and note.
Stepping out the door I hear the birds talking. I can’t see any birds, but they are definitely vocal. No picture, but I file the sound in my mind. I will need that detail for my slice. I’m still walking down my driveway, should I turn around and call it good? No, not yet. I need a picture.
Strolling down the street, I notice the neighbor has two bird nests in his tree. I zoom in on the closest one. I wonder how many bird’s nests are in the neighborhood. Now I have a focus for my walking. Better not stop yet.
WhThis nest is pretty small, I wonder if it was built by a hummingbird.Whil
While I was focusing on the nest, I happened to look up. Crisscrossing lines streaked the sky. Snap, snap, snap went my camera.
I love studying trees in the winter. I began noticing some trees had lots of little branches growing out of the main branch. Some were so smooth, you would think someone had whittled away the bark. They would be perfect for roasting marshmallows. A few of the trees were already beginning to create leaf buds. Promises of foliage to come.
Back home, I glance at the sky to discover, in that short period of time, the lines in the sky were obliterated by the clouds moving in. Glad I didn’t wait to take those pictures. Just in case you were wondering, I spotted fourteen bird nests. Wonder how many more will join them this year.
So next time you are stuck for an idea, take a walk and a camera. You never know what you might notice.
Sitting at my desk, I have a view of our street. I casually keep tabs on the neighbors as they come and go. Occasionally a stranger comes up our cul de sac street. I wonder, who are you and why are you here?
So, one day I am in my usual position when a car scoots up the road, but there is a problem right in front of our house. The road is coated with a layer of sleet and snow, plus there is a slight incline as one gets to the end of the cul de sac. That incline was too much for this car.
The back tires spun rapidly but went no where. The driver backed up a few feet. Tried the approach again. Same result. Now the driver, (a young girl wearing tennis shoes with no socks), gets out and examines the snow situation in front of her tires. No, the snow is not deep enough to stop her, so she gets back in the car to repeat her previous actions. Would you be surprised to learn that the car still did not move?
Now she has a brilliant idea of taking the floor mats out and placing them in front of the front tires. The back tires continue to spin, she moves forward an inch. Time to reassess. She hops out once again and this time puts the floor mats in front of the back tires. Once she is back in the car, she steps on the gas. There is a slight moment of hesitation, then the tires grab onto the mats and she moves forward.
She pulls into my driveway, backs out to head back down the street. She stops to collect her floor mats (which are covered in snow by now), and scoots down the street to disappear from my view.
So I am left wondering . . .
- Why did you come up our street?
- Where were you going?
- Why didn’t you just back down the street?
- Who are you?
I suppose these are questions that will never have answers.