see you, September

It was the last day of the weekend, the last day of the month.  As always, there were hours’ worth of chores to do–dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, and so on.  But the man said to his wife, “Let’s walk in the woods.”  And his wife smiled at him.

light through leaves

He smiled back.  The leaves behind him, cheerful in their new autumn wardrobe, seemed to smile too.

Lovey with yellow trees

The man and his wife hiked along the dusty trail, winding up and down through multicolored foliage, choosing at random each time the path forked.  They came upon a familiar overlook, where a lake lay in serene contrast to the riotously colored hills encircling it.

view of the lake

They came upon an unfamiliar inlet, where water skaters swarmed a protruding stone and a kingfisher swooped through the afternoon sunlight.

little inlet

They studied the skaters.  They admired the kingfisher.  Then they paused to savor the variety at their feet–tiny yellow flowers that evidently fed a hungry insect…

bedraggled black-eyed susan

…lamb’s ears beautifully backlit by the sinking sun…

light through leaves {fuzzy version}

…and an oak leaf resting on water-marked stones, the former a testament to the transience of each season and the latter a reassurance of the permanence of nature despite its changing patterns.

earth and stone

Even the flowers that fade leave behind seeds for new growth.

seed pod thing

The wife leaned against the remains of a tree, her feet in a tangle of purplish vines.  Their flowers were dry, their leaves brown from an arduous summer.  Much like the jagged stump, the vines offered only a hint of what they once were.  Between these bygones, large and small, she felt intensely alive.  She smiled but, to her surprise, her husband told her not to.  She was confused until she realized he wanted to capture her contemplative look.

pensive pose {Lovey said 'Don't smile'}

Two can play.  When he thought she wasn’t looking, she caught him thinking big thoughts (maybe) and snapped the picture.  He teased that the light would render the photo unusable, but with a grin she showed him his glowing profile.

Lovey pensive

When the quiet moment ended, they wandered farther.  They counted bluejays, listened to crows, and startled a chipmunk.  They clasped hands as they climbed over roots and rocks.  They talked about the future while soaking up the present.  Eventually they went home and did all the other things that had to be done by Monday.  But because the man put those things aside to make time to meander through a yellow afternoon, that’s how they’ll remember ending September.

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Mondate Night: birds of a feather & time together

Lovey and I traveled to a marriage conference this weekend.  As I get back into the groove of a workweek, I thought it would be appropriate to at least tip my hat to looove even though it’s too soon for me to have pulled together a post about our little getaway.  These photos are from a couple weeks ago when we visited a local museum for a fun (free!) date.

tanager (bird) display

The museum is pretty small but we still weren’t able to get through the whole thing.  We only looked at the bird exhibits.  (The bird wing?)  Lovey was pretty much racing around the room trying to identify the birds that come to our feeder.  Every so often he would exclaim, “There it is!” and I’d go over to see which one he’d found.

He was occupied with warblers and woodpeckers, but I was drawn to the beautiful birds like this peacock.  That blue is unreal, isn’t it?  And that tail–I swoon!

peacock from the front--crazy blue! peacock from the back--gorgeous tail!

The jaunty toppers on these guys amused me too.  How hilarious is God?  I can just imagine him at creation thinking, “This one needs a flourish” and adding little plumes to these birds’ heads.woodland birds--quail, etc. And then…the hummingbirds…oh, my goodness.  They’re so tiny I can barely comprehend their tininess.  I actually want to cry for them because they look so small and helpless–that’s weird, I know, but I’m affected by tiny things.  I had Hubby put up his hand to give some sense of how small they are, which only kind of helps because his hand was more than a foot away from them.  (His hand was a foot away?  There’s a pun in there; I can smell it.)teeny tiny hummingbirdsThen there was this guy.  He’s a “purple gallinule,” whatever that is, and he is one of the weirdest-looking animals I’ve ever seen.purple gallinuleHow about this display?  The most eggs I’ve ever seen in one container is eighteen, so this impressed me in terms of quantity, but also in terms of arrangement.  I like to organize, so you can imagine how pleasing it was to see so many shelves primly lined with objects in increasing size order.  Yet next to the human logic was the natural charm: eggs in various patterns and textures, some unevenly shaped, but all fascinating.eggs smallest to largestThis little guy is an ovenbird, namesake of a Robert Frost poem I have to include here because it’s lovely.  If you have time, read it slowly, and if you don’t have time, please skip it altogether rather than rushing through it.

ovenbird

The Oven Bird (Robert Frost)

There is a singer everyone has heard,

Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,

Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.

He says that leaves are old and that for flowers

Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.

He says the early petal-fall is past

When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers

On sunny days a moment overcast;

And comes that other fall we name the fall.

He says the highway dust is over all.

The bird would cease and be as other birds

But that he knows in singing not to sing.

The question that he frames in all but words

Is what to make of a diminished thing.

*

It was a treat for me to finally see the little creature that inspired those lines.  When I read the poem for the first time (years ago) I didn’t know what an oven bird was.

Speaking of ovens, let’s turn to the end of the date and the dinner we ate.  Lovey had been eager to try a burger joint he passes during the day, so we went in (forgetting that a big football game was on!) and waited…and waited…for a table.  The food was worth our wait:

spicy burger and friesI had a spicy burger with pepper jack cheese, chipotle cream cheese, and jalapenos.  Yee-um!  Even the fries were a little spicier than average.  There wasn’t a chance of my taking flight after this hefty dinner, but it was fun to snuggle wing-to-wing in the booth with my lovebird.