Without attention, the human sense of wonder and the holy will stir occasionally, but to become a steady flame it must be tended.
~ Huston Smith
The light has changed. It’s brighter, harsher, more summer-like in nature. The temperature has warmed and warmed. It will soon be time to turn on the air conditioning. It will be too hot not to. I always hope I can wait until at least June, but I don’t think that’s happened yet (and is increasingly unlikely to happen in the future).
There are seed pods on one of the redbud trees. The peonies are just about finished with their short-lived flower lives, as they droop and drop their petals to the ground. The irises are at their peak. The yucca looks ready to burst into bloom any minute now. The sword-shaped green leaves of the gladiolus have grown tall and I expect we’ll see some flower spikes soon. Daylilies, too, should be nodding their heads in the next few weeks.
M and I have been busy in the gardens, pulling weeds and planting. The vegetable garden is producing greens for us to eat. We put the seeds in the ground before leaving for the Bogs, and we now have some beautiful broccoli rabe (rapini), kale (some kind of “red” variety although it’s mostly green), arugula, and beet greens.
There is news from the animal kingdom as well. While doing my morning yoga practice yesterday, I caught sight of something out of the corner of my eye. A large bird, really large, flying by. The fleeting image was too dark to be a heron or an egret. An eagle, maybe? I stopped my practice and went to the window to look-see. It turned out to be a wild turkey who (I am guessing) wanted to quickly get across what must have seemed like a great expanse of lawn. She was limping terribly as she walked from where she landed, making her way slowly across the driveway and into the little area of thicket and woods at the edge of the marsh. I hope she recovers. It can’t be easy out there for an injured animal.
This has felt like a year of death to me, especially here on the ranch (leaving out the wider world, which I will for now because I want to bring this closer to home). Loblolly pines are dying from bark beetles. My favorite beech trees (there are only two on the property) already have what looks like leaf scorch (from heat, sun, and wind, possibly from salt) on some of the new leaves. There are deer bones scattered everywhere. Snake, fish, and bird bones, too. Probably rabbit and other beings as well. Watching the turkey as she nibbled at whatever she was finding to eat on the ground and hobbled her way to shelter, I was saddened at yet another reminder of illness, injury, and death. The Five Remembrances of Buddhism have been quite evident.
- I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
- I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape having ill health.
- I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
- All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
- My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
Oh, but… this morning…there was this:
Again, a movement caught in my peripheral vision while I was doing my sadhana (practice). A doe, coming out from behind a large forsythia, and her baby trying to follow, taking what looked like her (or his, but we seem to have more does than bucks so I’m going with her as a pronoun for now) first steps. Unsure, unpracticed, new to walking on her legs. Mama moved forward quickly, across part of the lawn. The baby followed, hesitant at first but as her mother moved farther away she suddenly burst into a little run. I have never seen a fawn this new or this small. What a gift it was to witness her first steps!
I suspect we won’t see too much of her over the next few weeks. Mama (who I think, but I’m not sure, might be the deer I refer to as Little Doe even though she clearly isn’t little anymore) quickly shooed the little one to the high grasses after stopping to lick her a few times.
In non-ranch news, our county vaccination rate is, sadly, only 27% for the fully vaccinated, around 30% total (first shot only and fully vaccinated). They are touting several reasons for this, but vaccine hesitancy is not the main one. This is the poorest county in the state of Maryland and there is only one place to get the vaccine. If you don’t drive or don’t have a car, too bad. There is no mass transit, no bus service (even Uber is out of the question). If you live in one of the two most populous areas of the county, you are a good 20 minute drive from where they are administering the vaccine. Clearly there is a problem. Someone finally noticed and they are now beginning to hold walk-in clinics at the libraries. I hope this will increase the number of people vaccinated.
On the mask or not-to-mask front, are you as confused as I am? The messages are so mixed. The same is true when it comes to vaccine effectiveness against new variants (such as B.1.617.2). One report is that there is concern the vaccines might not be effective and in the same story (!!) we’re told that officials are confident the vaccines work against the variants. Ugh. It’s been that way all along, of course. It takes time for the science to catch up with what is happening on the ground. In the meantime, I’m still wearing a mask when I’m indoors in public places.
There is more news from the ranch and beyond, but it’s time for me to move along. M and I are planning to go down to a nursery in Virginia to pick up some plants, maybe a tree or two. It’s our favorite nursery in the area and I always enjoy strolling through their outdoor area, especially the shade garden. I’d like to get more plants for our shady areas. I’ve thought about plants for in the woods. It might be a waste of time. The deer are likely to eat whatever I plant, but I hear that ferns are usually left alone by the deer. We’ll see what they have.
Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope all is well with you. Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset this evening. It’s hot, humid, and buggy so you’ll want to prepare for that. People have been swimming already. The water temperature is around 63°F. That’s a bit cold for me to swim in, but nice for wading. Sunset is scheduled for 8:11 PM. There might be enough high, thin clouds around to provide a bit of color.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind. ♥♥♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,776) The white peonies. They are just as beautiful as the pink peonies but harder to photograph. Every now and then, I get it almost right. 1,777) Getting it almost right. 1,778) A gorgeous purple beech tree I found at the nursery, on sale. We’re going to plant it at the edge of the woods, by the redbuds. It’s a fairly sheltered area that gets sun and shade. I hope it likes it out there. 1,779) A Zoom play date with the boys. 1,780) Afternoon naps, especially once the weather heats up. It makes perfect sense to me why some cultures have a regular practice of resting in the afternoon.