The rains have come and
all is green and misty gray.
Content to spend this day indoors,
pretending that I’m gliding through
the cold ethereal silence of space.
Flipboard at my fingertips,
thumbing through my virtual copy
of Garden & Gun (the Soul of the South),
while listening to ambient music
from the outpost on Bluemars.
(Thank goodness for sub-space data transmissions!)
Ah, the knowledge of impermanence
that haunts our days
is their very fragrance.
~ Rainier Maria Rilke
Early morning here in the Carolinas was chilly…37 degrees on this late April day. I was glad that I had taken a day off from work. It looked to be a beautifully clear day ahead of me. A Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) was paying another visit…with its sweet, melodious voice filling the air. Later in the morning, I planted a small Wisteria vine (Wisteria frutescens) close to the front porch. I’ve always admired the purple-violet blooms that hang from these vines. There is a very invasive species of Wisteria, Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), that is widespread throughout the Southeast. They’re in full bloom in this area…the vines…pendulous with lavender-purple flowers… winding their way high into trees. Invasive…but very beautiful. The species that I planted is native to America, and supposedly less aggressive in nature…but I’ll keep my clippers handy…just in case.
I made another pleasant discovery this morning. There’s Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) growing down near the road. Also known as Coral Honeysuckle, it’s native to this area. The distinctive perfoliate leaves directly below the flowers completely surround the stem.
Later…as I headed out to do some grocery shopping…I spied something lumbering across the gravel road ahead. I slowed down and carefully avoided it. I pulled the car along the side of the road, got out, and went to take a closer look. It was a turtle…I think, an Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina). As I approached, it emitted a raspy gargling, sighing sound. I didn’t know if it was trying to intimidate me…or what? It was about six inches wide. I wasn’t intimidated. Several times, it stopped in its tracks, and lifted one foot…rubbing it across its face, in a salute-like gesture. I decided that it was trying to tell me, “Stop gawking and get me off this damn road!”
So I carefully lifted it by grasping the turtle by its carapace…making sure my hand wasn’t in biting distance…just in case. I carried the turtle into the woods a bit…and laid it down on a bed of pine needles. Both of us then went our merry, separate ways…myself to the grocery store…the turtle, to who knows where.
By mid-afternoon, the temperature had risen a full 40 degrees. Ah…Spring! Before the rains come…
My sole task this cool evening is to be fully present. I’ve always had a fondness for that time of day that falls between the setting of the sun below the horizon…and the inky darkness of the night. The gloaming…with a rich, deep violet-blue sky that verges on blackness. Now…it seems a poignant reminder of the crepuscular nature of life itself.
So I sit quietly…and listen attentively to the gentle sounds of the gloaming. An antiphonal song of whip-poor-wills…moving in and around a point of syncopation…against a steady, slightly modulated droning of frogs. Occasionally, the hoots of a barred owl provide soulful punctuation as the hard edges of the day fade and slip into the welcoming softness…into the subtlety of night.
There’s a phantom, silvery, three-quarter moon hovering above…silently, in the clear blue sky. And this below…which has inexplicably materialized in the last few days…out of raw materials of earth, air, and water. The closer I look…the more silent I become.
The contrast between the brown haze of LA…and the clear Spring morning here in the Carolinas couldn’t have been greater. Leaving the frenetic traffic…and mentality…behind, it was good to get back to a world that is slow…and seemingly timeless. I’ve been spending the last two days winding down…back in silence…syncing up with local time. Sounds still pleasantly numbed from the roar of jet engines. The only movement being the sun as it creeps across the walls. The only sounds…those of birds. One bird’s song in particular has been haunting me…a plaintive, ascending trill that I can’t quite place. It reminds me of a similarly eerie upward spiral from the old movie The Time Machine. A warbler of some kind, I imagine…keeping me company for a few days as it passes through on its way north…taking a welcomed break from its long journey. Slow is good.
Good morning from Redlands…
A simply wonderful video…in the truest sense of the word…by Bruce W. Berry Jr, from images taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The ethereal aurora…evanescent storms…and the dizzying starscape reeling about the Earth are awesome.
Time-Lapse | Earth from Bruce W. Berry Jr on Vimeo.