To Begin With, the Sweet Grass
Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat
of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or
forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?
Behold, I say—behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings
of this gritty earth gift.
Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets
are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are
For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.
And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs.
The witchery of living
is my whole conversation
with you, my darlings.
All I can tell you is what I know.
Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.
It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of the single heart.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life—just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe
~ Mary Oliver (you can read the rest of this poem here).
We have been discussing the subject of love in Gita class. When I look back on my notes, I realize that we have been discussing love all along. Maybe I knew that, somewhere inside. It’s an interesting and extensive subject. Love. How do you define it? What IS love, really? What is your experience of love? Is loved defined differently throughout your relationships?
While I was pondering so many interesting questions about love, summer and the solstice arrived. We’ve cycled through a new moon and a full moon, and I keep forgetting to come here and write. I start posts in my head. I take photographs and think about sharing some of them along with the stories of what is happening here on the ranch as the days have grown longer (and now, in reverse, they will begin to grow shorter but that’s hardly noticeable right now). What happens, though, is I end up writing about why I’m not writing and then think, “Bah! Who wants to read that?” Wouldn’t you rather read about love and wisdom?
Ah well, maybe not. Maybe you’d rather read about rabbits and deer and a daylily lit up by a sunbeam.
We’ve been through one heatwave, had the relief of a lovely cool down, and now we’re entering another round of heat and oppressive humidity. It is summer, after all, and who would expect anything other than heat and humidity? It doesn’t feel right to whine about what we’re experiencing here on the east coast when the northwestern U.S. is under a heat dome and parts are literally on fire.
Our gardens continue to grow. We’ve moved from what I think of as the Yellow Season (of buttercups and dandelions) into the Orange Season (of daylilies and trumpet flowers). We have a bonanza of blueberries this year. And, there has been some deer drama in the vegetable garden. It began about ten days ago with this little one:
Mama Deer somehow decided that of all the places around here, our vegetable garden was a good and safe place to leave her baby while she spent the day foraging for food. M and I discovered the fawn in the morning when we went out to work in the flower garden. We had plans to work in the veggie garden, too, but scrapped that idea because we didn’t want to panic the baby. Let sleeping fawns lie, so to speak, and hope that the mama comes back soon. Well, soon was later. Mama arrived back at the garden in the evening and on the wrong side of things, where there is no opening for the fawn to leave the garden and join her. After a tense fifteen minutes or so of watching the fawn try to figure out how to reunite with her mother, the mama deer finally came around towards the gate. The fawn ran out to her, nursed, and then they went on their merry way. M worked on the gate to the garden the next day. Our concern was not that the fawn would eat up all the veggies, but that she would get stuck in the chicken wire that runs along the inside of the wooden fence which is designed to keep Thumper and friends (the rabbits) out.
The rabbits, by the way, are having a very good year when it comes to breeding. You can look out any window of the house at any given time and spot at least six to ten rabbits. Seriously. We are overrun. A hawk discovered our burgeoning population and flew in recently. I suspect that will help decrease the population.
Two days later, Mama deer left her little one in the veggie garden again. It seems we are running a baby deer daycare. However, this time around it wasn’t all coziness and sleep. The fawn had somehow managed to get inside the chicken wire. We discovered her out there because we could hear her jumping against the wooden fence, trying to get out. M, once again to the rescue, went out and slowly edged the panicked baby towards an opening in the chicken wire. The fawn ran out and disappeared into the New Woods. We did a little research on the internet and apparently the deer are prepared for this sort of thing. The fawn has an alternate hiding place, and the mother did find her.
In the meantime, this family stopped by:
It took me a minute to realize it was not the same Mama Deer and Baby. In fact, it took me a minute to realize there were two fawns. And a daddy.
We have been able to distinguish between the two mothers. The Mama Deer using the garden as a daycare has some white markings on her flank, probably a result of injury or scratching. The flies, ticks, and other biting insects are dreadful this year. (I don’t show you close-ups of the deer because the number of ticks on their ears, around their eyes, and on their antlers is horrifying. We did see two of the does grooming each other one day. I’m surprised they don’t do more of that.)
M fixed the gate. We didn’t see the fawn again for a while. Yesterday morning, M spent some time pulling weeds in the vegetable garden and didn’t close the gate on the way out. A little while later, the scene you see in the image just above this paragraph was what we were greeted with. Not only was the fawn back in the garden, she’d somehow gotten inside the chicken wire again and was quite cozy in what we’re calling the chaos portion of the garden. Back in the spring when we were in NE Ohio, M the Younger, who is trying his hand at small farming, gave us a bag of seeds which he referred to as a chaos mix. It’s a mix of all kinds of vegetables including various beans, squashes, corn, cucumbers, greens, and I can’t remember what all else. The idea is that you scatter it and enjoy whatever comes up. (Unfortunately, we’re not sure what is growing out there. We recognize the squash and the cucumbers, but will have to wait to identify the rest.)
So. The little one spent the day resting in the chaos garden, apparently quite comfortable with both the garden and with us. M went out in the evening and created an opening in the chicken wire, just in case the fawn had forgotten how she got in there. An hour or so later, the mother collected her young one.
And so ends the saga of the deer. For now. The gate is shut and I think M is going to work on that today, to make sure it stays shut.
There are other stories I could share such as getting my first professional haircut since January of 2020 or seeing a doctor for a wellness type of visit (for the first time since November of 2019). Pandemic related stuff, for the most part, and our gradual reentry into the world. It’s not a reentry into “normal,” but more along the lines of trying to fit in some things before the next surge. M and I are still wearing our masks when we’re out and about in public. Given the recent news on the Delta variant, it’s the wise thing to do. I’ve been out and about on my bicycle, thinking about signing up for the virtual version of the Seagull Century again this year. I’ve been spending a lot of time drawing and painting which accounts for my absence from the blog and writing, and I’ve been reading quite a bit. And… I’m taking a course called MORTAL. It’s about death and dying. Maybe I will tell you about it someday.
Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting with me (and the deer) today. I hope you and yours are all well and safe, and enjoying this early part of summer. Let’s head out to the Point for sunset this evening. It’s scheduled for 8:30 PM. Maybe, if the weather works out, we can take the kayak and go out on the water for a little while. We wouldn’t have to go far. Just far enough to avoid the bugs onshore.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind. ♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,801) Friends and family, always. 1,802) Gardening and garden vegetables. We harvested beets and greens this week. Delicious! 1,803) This wildlife park I am living in. I’m glad everyone feels safe and welcome, but… I’d rather they not take up residence in the veggie garden. 1,804) Daylilies in bloom. 1,805) Homemade pizza with pineapple and carrot “ham” (we marinated thin slices of carrots in soy sauce and smoked paprika, then grilled the slices with some wood chips). We originally set out to make carrot “bacon” but this was even better since it did an excellent imitation of a ham and pineapple pizza.