challenges, nature

Stowaway

It had been a rough day.  The kind of day where you’re shuffling online files, trimming, uploading, then re-editing, reuploading in different places, and so on. I spent the afternoon chasing my tail, making no progress.

Finally, I walked away from a project that I had spent hours trying to figure out.  I was just too frustrated to finish.  It could wait until morning.

I gathered my things and loaded my shoulders with all my bags and other stuff, ready for the relief of an afternoon bike ride, then looked down. 

W.  T.   F.

I looked closer.  

?!?!?!

A scaly knot on my floor.  Curled up.  I touched it with my boot and sure enough it slithered.

Again, W T ACTUAL F. 

SQUEAL. 

Mind starts pinballing. Heart racing.  How do I get it out of here?  

Custodians are gone for the day.  Don’t have access to a broom and dustpan.  I can’t just leave it here.  IT’S. IN. MY. OFFICE.

I find a bowl and set it on top of the slithering striped shoelace.  Then I walk calmly down to see if a couple of my “country”-type colleagues are still here.  Nope, already headed home.
So, it’s just me.  And the scaly shoelace IN MY OFFICE.

I had to pace to gather my courage.  I finally picked up the bowl and there it was, my little sworn enemy.  And just like that I 

STOMPED

STOMPED

STOMPED

And screamed DIE.

DIE.

DIE.

Stop.  Was it dead?  (Poke).

NO.

STOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMP.

DIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIE.

And finally, I stopped, looked, and it was still.

Scooped it up with a file folder and dumped it in the woods. I was hyperventilating-ugly-crying-nose-running awful. So hard to calm down.

Then the what ifs? crept in.  I was in my office with a snake for who knows how long.  What if I had been bitten?  Or someone else?  Too much to think about.  Just be grateful it wasn’t worse.

You might be surprised to read that I like snakes.  Well “like” might be too strong…I’ll just say as I’ve gotten older I understand their role.  I know many of them are good and I just work around them when I see them on the farm.  It’s me living in their habitat not the other way around.  

Maybe that’s why it was so upsetting to find one IN. MY. OFFICE.

It can’t just slither under the rocks and disappear.  It was a showdown. She or me. 

Yes, I killed it and it made me sort of sad on top of the other huge knot of emotions.  I was a little less sad when I found out it was poisonous, but again relieved it had not been worse. 
I wondered, how did it get here?  Was it born here?  Are there more around the corner?  Or is a farm varmint trying to stowaway for a quick vacation? More under the car seat? I’m still on the lookout.

Thank goodness I chose boots over Birkenstocks that day.    

Just another animal adventure to add to the growing list. 

nature

Seasons or Reasons

I have never really been a seasons girl. Meaning I didn’t really have a favorite season. I enjoyed summer as it meant lake days. I liked fall for sweatshirts. I liked the beauty of the snow but not a fan of the cold. Spring I like to see new flowers bloom but again none were really a favorite season.

This year, however, I seemed to look forward to fall more than usual. The pumpkin spices. The changing of colors in the trees. The warm jammies. The sweatshirts and of course the seat warmer. I even turned on my space heater for one day already. 

I’m looking forward to fall adventures. Extra blankets for covers. Snuggles with my dog on chilly mornings. Chilling runs outside. And maybe even seeing my breath in the air. The clean crisp air. The fresh air.

Do you think I’m most looking forward to these things because I’ve spent so many months cooped up? Behind a mask. Limited on activities. Confined in many ways?

For whatever the reason I’m dreaming of this fall season. My reason to seize the season. The ability grab the crisp air like a crisp fall apple. Crunch. Snack. Slurp in the flavor of the season.

Some apple cider. Some apple snacks. Some apple-flavored cocktails. Bring on fall and all its festivities. My season. My reason. My appreciation of fall in 2020.

What’s your favorite season? Your reason for the season?

nature

Bloom Where I’m Planted

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A sea of green. Grasses of several kinds, grown knee-high and blowing in the breeze.

It’s a peaceful, idyllic scene, this acre upon acre of green.

Until…

orange!  Orange of all things.  A orange blob right in the middle of all this verdant, lovely green.  An interruption.  An annoyance. Like a lightning bolt to my eyeballs.  Piercing and wild.  Why?  Why here?

I waded through the grasses to get a closer look.  I found that this bright, almost glowing orange was actually a tightly clustered bunch of petals.  A gutsy, piercing, look-at-me! blossom.  A beauty, standing out boldly in her own way.  I studied it for a while, wondering about its roots.

Later that day, walking through the acres, I saw another orange splotch, hundreds of yards away from the one I first noticed.   How did they get there?  Are they family, I wondered?  Long lost sisters, maybe?  Or even just spreading their wings?

“It’s just a weed,” a friend said.

But it’s pretty, I thought.  What makes something a weed, anyway?

(Being me, I looked it up, of course.)

I now know that a weed can be anything that grows where it’s not planted on purpose.  That turns up where it’s not wanted.  Where it’s not supposed to be.  Even someone’s prize roses can be a weed if they come up in a pumpkin patch.

It’s all about context. Beauty can be anywhere.  I noticed and admired these orange ladies more so because they were dramatically different than all the deep green surrounding them.

From these brazen orange beauties I learned to just bloom wherever I happen to be.  Make the most of where I am, even if it’s not the perfectly sunny spot.  I don’t need approval to show my true colors.  To be myself, grow and blossom, wherever I plant my own feet. 

Have the courage to be different.  To stand out.  Will everyone appreciate it?  Not the meticulous gardeners. Who like it all in control.  But to other eyes, I might just be the antidote to the ordinary that they need.  The splash of color in a sea of monotony.   The lightning out of the blue, or green.  The inspiration to spread their wings.

nature

Plop Plop Plop

Not too long ago I wrote about sounds of the night. Specifically sounds at a friends house while in the backyard on a peaceful evening.

I also said I would test the sounds of the night elsewhere. This weekend it was on the farm. Another peaceful time but also different atmosphere. A rustic paradise nestled in the mountains but hidden in a mystic valley.

First, fireflies light up the air space in the distance. Then a bat flies by from time to time. Some light off in the distance from neighboring homesteads. These may not be sounds but it’s part of the vibe or atmosphere. A different kind of peaceful evening.

It was the calm before the storm. The clouds were bringing in a cooler, crisper air. Rain was lurking. You could smell moisture on the way. Does anyone even know what rain smells like? I think I do.

Into the cabin I go. The cabin with the red roof. The metal roof. Just like that the rain swept in. First, the wind starts hissing. Not a full howl but the leaves a-shaking in the trees. A few little branches hit the roof with a faint sound.

Then a drip, drip, drip sound appears. The sound of a dripping faucet comes to mind. Quickly it shifts to drip-drip, drip-drop, drop-drop-drop. The drops come faster. They turn into plops. Plop-plop-plop.

Plops don’t last long (neither do the plops in a toilet) oh my. Not quite a monsoon but a hard rain rolls in. One that would drench you if you had to run to car from the grocery store. Fast, hard, fiercely pounding rain. The sound was amazingly satisfying on the red roof top. The metal rooftop made the rain experience special.

It wasn’t long until I dozed off to sleep. A peaceful sleep. Unfortunately I know many who don’t sleep well at night especially with all the life stresses of a pandemic front and center.

It is my hope that just one reader will listen to their nightfall sounds and enjoy them as they drift off to sleep. For some it may be a subway train, for others it may be fast cars on their Main Street. Wherever you are enjoy tonight. I know I will.