Friday, August 24, 2012

Vacation week three

I'm standing on the deck, watching the creek behind the house shrink day by day.

It was drying up when we arrived. Then we had several days of thunderstorms and heavy rains. It never was completely full but it looked healthy.

Now, well over a week of dry weather, not always sunny like today, but partly cloudy, with no rain at all.

Now, every morning, the dry line on the opposite "shore" (a creek, not a river) is wider and wider.

As shallow as the creek is just behind the house, it is less shallow further downstream. There are small fish and frogs. Green herons and great blue herons fish here every day, just beyond the deck. Two evenings ago, just before dusk, a pair of sandpipers - dowitchers, actually - joined the small family of killdeer - members of the plover family. Belted kingfishers also depend on this little creek.

Along the bank on this side of the creek grow joe pieweed, now in flower, purple loosestrife - an invasive invader, queen anne's lace, purple vetch, butter-and-eggs, mint plants growing wild, and one lone plant of cardinal flower in bloom. The grasses grow tall. We wear wellies walking Xena, Warrior Lab Mix Princess of all Norwalk, because she prefers to walk in that tall grass on the off chance she might be allowed to hunt and catch a frog - fat chance!

I sat on the deck this morning from just before the sun came over the mountain due east on the opposite side of the creek. I stayed there way past its rising, with Xena on a blanket beside my chair. She and I had our morning tea while I said morning prayers and read from the Apocrypha - the Wisdom of Solomon, chapters one through three on my iPhone - and from Kathleen Norris's The Cloister Walk.

There is no rain in the forecast until next week sometime, and then only thundershowers. This creek has been here for a very long time. We can assume it has seen drought before now. Herons, plovers, sandpipers, kingfishers and other wildlife have made their home on its grasses and fed on whatever is living in the water forever. Droughts and rains come and go. Life continues. The lawn grasses and weeds are so dry they crunch when we walk across them. The tall grasses and wildflowers along the bank are green and lush. They must have some source of sustenance deeper in the ground beneath them than the lawn has.

Eleven more days here. Here in paradise. Xena is asleep on the living room carpet. I'm reading Norris, Lauren f. Winner, and Agatha Christie. Tomorrow we'll go to the track and watch and enjoy the roar of high performance street cars from the top of a mountain that looks down on Seneca Lake. Unwarranted privilege. Unearned blessings. All of which I wish for everyone, everywhere.

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