Here is a moment of extravagant beauty: I drink it liquid from the shells of my hands and almost all of it runs sparkling through my fingers: but beauty is like that, it is a fraction of a second, quickness of a flash and then immediately it escapes.
~ Clarice Lispector, A Breath of Life
It is overcast today here on the Eastern Shore. There is a weather system that has been labelled 96L off the coast of North Carolina reaching out to us with some of its outer bands of clouds. No rain is expected here. Instead, 96L is bringing heavy rains to the Atlantic Ocean 500 miles offshore.
Did you have a good weekend? I did. Lots of rest and relaxation with a few chores thrown in because they couldn’t be avoided. I played, too. M and I went to the beach as planned and for the first time in a long time, I went boogie boarding. Wow, was that fun! The waves were not perfect, but they were gentle and if you were patient, a good one would come along and take you all the way back to shore.
I went for a short walk this morning. I had planned to stay out for a while because it’s breezy and cool, but the mosquitoes are enjoying the weather too. In spite of the heavy layer of insect repellent I sprayed myself with before leaving the deck, I was swarmed near the scrounger’s garden, swarmed near the lagoon, swarmed when I approached the woods. Our mosquitoes are a determined bunch, not allowing themselves to be repelled. Did you know Maryland has 59 species of mosquito? Salt marsh mosquitoes, according to some scientists, cause the worst problems in late September and early October.
I’ve been waffling between showing you photos from the beach and photos from this morning’s short walk. Let’s just start with the beach and see what develops from there.
There were a lot of horseshoe crabs shells on the beach. This is the time year for it. Horseshoe crabs have to molt to grow, and will usually molt about 16 times over the course of 9 to 12 years. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a dead horseshoe crab and a molt. I’ve read that one way to tell them apart is to have a good look at the shell. A shell that has been left behind due to molting is likely to be pale and almost translucent. You can also pick up the shell and look for an opening along the front ridge.
The folks that study stuff like this believe that horseshoe crabs of the same age molt around the same time of the year. Whatever year these guys (and gals) were born, it must have been a good one because there have been quite a few shells washing ashore over the past two weeks.
The horseshoe crab is a fascinating creature. They’ve been around forever. Okay, maybe not forever, but for at least 250 million years. Birds and fish rely on them as a food source (they eat the eggs, the juveniles, and recent molts). Speaking of food, I read somewhere that the horseshoe crab can go up to a year without eating.
The Monarch butterflies should start appearing soon. I’ve seen one or two, here and there. Assateague Island is one of the places where the migrants show up en mass, usually around the last week in September and the first week in October. Sometimes there is a second wave of migrating Monarchs in mid-October. I’m hoping to get there this year to see the Monarchs, if they arrive and arrive as scheduled.
Other migratory birds are leaving, staying, or passing through. I’ve heard the Canada geese honking at sunrise and sunset. Of all the sounds that signal a change in seasons, I most often associate the honk of the geese with the transitions from winter to spring and from summer to autumn. Geese are present here throughout all of the seasons, but on the move and talking about it during the transitional times.
The migratory hawks and other raptors will be passing through soon, too, if they’re not doing so already. The Virginia end of Assateague Island is supposed to be a great place to look for them. Did you know a large flock of birds of prey, such as hawks, is a “kettle?” Kettle can also refer to a group of flying and wheeling birds, not necessarily all of the same species.
M and I will be having our first social event here at the ranch on Thursday. Well, the first aside from having family and friends come for visits. The renovations to the house are still not finished, but we’ve been here for three summers now, and it’s time to meet some of the local folks. In this case, the local folks will be colleagues from M’s work. This won’t be quite the event that we used to have when we lived in northeast Ohio (our Party by the Pond), and it’s being held near an equinox rather than a solstice, but hopefully it will be as much fun.
Since we are on the subject of fun, don’t forget the annual Walktober event which begins on October 1. This year’s dates are October 1 through October 25. In case you’re not sure what Walktober is, the short answer is that participants take a walk and blog about it. You can tell us about it in words or pictures or in any way you desire. I’ll round up everyone’s walks during the last week in October and do one grand post about them all. Click on the Walktober image in the sidebar to your right (it’s the last one in the sidebar) for a little more information about it (that post also has a link to even more information, but I think you can gather what you need from that post alone).
I will post the official Walktober post on September 30 or October 1, and those of you participating can use that post for your pingbacks and/or to leave a link so I’ll know where to find your walk. The more the merrier, so feel free to spread the word.
I think that’s about it from the beach and from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch for today. Thank you for dropping by and joining me on another meander. I don’t think we’ll see much of a sunset today, but if it looks like the clouds will clear out (as they often do around sunset), meet me at the Point. Sunset is at 7:02 PM.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
Today’s joys: The coolness of an overcast day; potato and black bean burrito for lunch (leftovers from last night’s dinner); fresh spinach; dancing (and dusting, which was the original purpose of being there) in the living room; music to dance by.