Fall is coming! The angle of sunlight, dewy cool mornings, beauty berries showing off, as well as the heart-stopping BANG of hickory nuts falling on the studio roof... these are all reminders that September is passing quickly and October is on the way!
Daisy and I stirred up three deer today as we headed down the steep, washed out hill to the lower trail. I hate doing that, and every time it happens I consider keeping Daisy on a leash. The reason I don't is because she's never caught anything, and I love to see her run. Collies are made to run. It's a beautiful site. Besides, the deer are usually so far away that there's no chance she'll even get close! Today the deer bounded away through the tall brush no more than 25 feet away, and although Daisy did head out after them, I called her back with one of the treats I had in my pocket. Happily, it worked.
Five minutes later I came upon a beautiful black racer who had been slithering across the pipeline before Daisy had run past, just ahead of me. When I got to the snake his body was tensed up, but he was still calm and looking around. He looked directly at me when I squatted down to inspect him. I had just reached over to touch him when Daisy came running back to see what I'd found. She startled the snake and sent him into a tail-rattling, curled-up-ready-to-spring frenzy. Oh, Daisy! What a nature nuisance.
I led her away and we hiked into the woods on the far hill. It is very crispy and crackly around here from lack of rain. It's been weeks, I think, since we've had significant rainfall. I sat on top of the rocky ridge for a while to draw,with Daisy settled beside me, both of us listening to the birds in the trees. They were everywhere! Red-bellied woodpeckers, flickers, very noisy blue jays, crows, a PW rattled and drilled a tree not far from us. Fall crickets called their high "cheeps" from the tree-tops. Daisy, being an unusually observant dog, looked from tree to tree, trying to find the birds.
On the way back, I stopped in the shade of some pines to notice the quiet. Not total silence, but an absence of background noise.... no wind is part of it, but it's also something atmospheric, I think. Against the background of silence all the tiny sounds of nature seemed magnified: carolina mantids buzzed as they sprang from grass stems zzzzzzzzzzzzt!, a single cricket cheeped from a grass stem - beetles chewed inside a pine trunk behind me. Various kinds of sulfur butterflies fluttered over flowers across the field; even far away I could see their floppy yellow flight, up-over-and-down. They were everywhere - hundreds of delicate wings. For some reason this brought to mind the natural force opposite that of a butterfly wing's slight disturbance - the beautiful/terrible Category-4 hurricane Igor that swirls across the Atlantic Ocean this week. Its width is the same as the distance from Dallas to DC. Take a moment to consider the differences and know we live on one awesome planet!