Mary Lou, the flowering dogwood outside my window, is changing color – again. Her previously green leaves, shaped with the compound curves of Pringles chips with pointy ends, are turning bright rust-colored as she shuts down the conduits that for the past few months have transported nutrition from the earth on which she stands, to be processed in those then-green solar collectors into more branches and, now, a mass of red berries among the buds that will open next spring into a glorious bouquet of pink ad white four-petaled flowers.
Those of us fortunate enough to gain housing close to a stream, lake or ocean often post signs around it announcing our success to neighbors who must settle for looking out their front windows at our back doors.
I wonder what he thought of the stranger standing alongside the road. He had seen humans, sometimes walking, sometimes driving a tractor, carving rows in the soil.
Below and in front of the porch rail, the surface of Marsh Creek is smooth like a 200-year-old farmhouse window pane, smoothly rippled as the flow wanders and eddies its way to lower elevations. Reflections of creekside oaks and sycamores decorate the translucent surface of the flow, itself browned from nearby mountains’ muddied runoff – poor man’s fertilizer, some farmers call it –in rounded jaggies across the stream. A short way up the creek, mated Red-tailed hawks and a few Bald eagles prepare for their new families.
Across the glassine stage at the foot of the hill there pass pairs of Canada Geese, a few mallards and their current loves – Canada geese mate for life, mallards for convenience – and a clan of mergansers.
I watched a movie Tuesday night, along with more than 100 of my closest friends, many of whom I’d never previously met. It was about global warming, and about a preacher and his daughter and their disagreement over whether our home planet really is getting dangerously warmer.
I wake in the morning, about the same time as always, and notice that outside is darker longer than it was only a few short months ago. I get to make a similar observation in the evening as darkness blankets my home like a youngster pulling a wool blanket over his head to keep the monsters at bay.
Most every evening, between 6 and 6:30, I hear the approaching honking of Canada geese coming from, roughly, north. Last night nearly 100 birds appeared over the trees then made a 45-degree turn to the left, the entire chevron bending itself around an invisible post in my neighbor’s yard, until the entire formation was pointed toward the Chesapeake Bay, or maybe Florida.