Friday, September 18, 2009

GETTING READY FOR THE CHANGE…

This morning served up one of those astonishing cusp-of-autumn treats you wish you could store in a bottle and pour out some dreary winter afternoon when you needed a bit of cheering up.

On the deck, I slid the rocking chair to the end overlooking the river, where I could sit with my feet up on the bench and savor a third cup of coffee while better taking in the view.

The sky was brilliant and clear, of a shade somewhere between azure and cobalt. A turkey vulture came floating above the tops of the trees and began spiraling upwards over the river—a wheeling silhouette amid the luminous sea of blue.

What I wouldn’t give to be able to ride the rising thermals high into the sky like that old buzzard…

The deck was in shadows, cool and still damp from the night’s dew. Moon, a most sensible dog, found herself a pool of sunshine on the gravel driveway in which to stretch out and warm her aging bones. My aging bones could have used their own bit of heat treating—especially since I spent most of yesterday afternoon planting bushes and perennials around the yard.

Hereabouts, digging even a modest hole often entails—besides the usual shovel—a heavy-duty crowbar, a pix-axe, mattock, hours of time, mulish patience, a willingness to sweat, a handy vocabulary of imprecations, a reckless disregard for blisters and personal bloodshed…plus the sense and willingness to admit defeat when nothing short of a stick of dynamite is going to get you another inch into the rock-filled earth.

You don’t so much dig as you chip and scrap and curse your way to victory.

Autumn color is not yet much in evidence here along the river—though the sycamores have a few gold-brown leaves scattered among the green, and the hackberries are showing a bit of pale yellow.

A few weeds here and there exhibit a spot of russet, and bit of burgundy, a dab of crimson.
There are purple-black poke berries hanging from magenta stems…
…while in the yard, several of the tall, weedy-looking marigolds are particularly fetching in a rich, glowing yellow, as if they were somehow able to capture a bit of the sun.
Closer to where I sat, a trio of fungi, as gray-white as old bones, had poked up through the leaves and mulch near the cottage—mysterious, other-worldly; disturbingly beautiful.
Goldfinches, titmice, chickadees, and nuthatches were in constant motion to and from the seed feeders. Hummingbirds were busy sipping nectar and I wonder how much longer they’ll hang around. With nights dipping into the 40s, surely they’ll be winging south any day now.
In a sunny patch of grass a spider had built a web and was waiting for something tasty to come along.

I hoped it wasn’t the big army-green grasshopper who kept eyeing me from atop a fallen leaf where he sat, lethargic in the coolness, waiting for the temperature to rise and get him charged and going.

You don't get many mornings such as this in a given year. Certainly not near enough. So I dawdled as long as I could, nursing my coffee, rocking, listening to the river…and thinking how much I love these transition days, when the seasons are on the move and the world around is responding, changing, getting ready.

44 comments:

Lisa said...

Unbelievable photos!!

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

I am so intrigued by seasons change. The mystery unfolds every year and yet I am always mystified, surprised, over joyed and thrilled. Your BEAUTIFUL detailed, vibrant pictures give hint s to why this is so.
I spent some time gathering kindling, and putting it in the pile for snapping this Tuesday. There is so much around our woods edge. Our brook is barely a trickle these days - and I know it will flow soon. As I am transitioning again, adjusting to some new medication realities to quell symptoms, I am trying to align ever more intimately with nature's change - understanding that as part of a living, breathing, changing nature-land I can surrender to the inevitable and hope to revel in the newness softly and gracefully. Your beautiful words and pictures gave image to this part of my wellness journey. "Thank you".

Love Gail
peace.......

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Lisa…

I'm glad you liked them. Thank you.

Wanda said...

That just might be the prettiest photo of a weedy marigold that I have ever seen...
I really like this line too....
A few weeds here and there exhibit a spot of russet, and bit of burgundy, a dab of crimson.....and the view from your rocking chair is just as I had imagined from your past descriptions.
My field has hundreds of grasshoppers, but I've only managed one photo...maybe now that it's cooler in the mornings..I'll have better luck.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

The river is down, too—low enough that no one in a canoe or kayak can get through the rocks of the big riffle scott free. Most just wade from the start.

You're right in that life is an ongoing process—an arc from cradle to grave for all of us. We aren't outside the process but within, a part of the ongoing, a part of the cycle. We are nature and nature is us…and it is all played out within time and season. The important thing is how we respond, how we live. None of our loves come with a guarantee as to duration. But regardless of what we're given, and the circumstances, we can determine the quality.

Embrace whatever you're given. The gift lies within…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

That snaky marigold (along with a number of brethren) are nearly five feet tall and have huge, floppy blooms. They've just recently decided to start blooming. But they're quite pretty, I think…if goofy looking for marigolds.

Normally I have my rocking chair pulled back (toward the camera) and then I can't see upriver—but when it's sitting there, it's in the early morning sun. This is the shady end in the mornings, but with an upriver/riffle view. Today I wanted the view AND the rocker instead of just the bench.

In my experience, grasshoppers are either cooperative or not. Some photographers looking for a photo capture them, stick them in the fridge for a few minutes, then put them back in place. I think these chilled hoppers look unnatural in their photos, so I play fair and stalk my grasshoppers. More sporting that way!

Jain said...

Your titles always pull me in and often surprise me. Naturally, I expected an essay on menopause when I read this one.

Lovely post, Scribe, and great photos!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

Dear Lord! I hadn't thought about THAT when doing my title…and a good thing, too, because if I had I'd have used it for a few lines, or possibly half the post.

We're all undoubtedly FAR better off for my overlooking!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Ah - you have a lovely rocking chair too! And what a beautiful view to sit and rock to. I've been sitting on mine, contemplating the trees and the housemartens, who no doubt will soon be setting off on their long journey.

I love the changing seasons, and there is something so powerfully moving about Autumn.

Richard said...

I bet that Turkey Vulture was saying he wished he could set with that old buzzard on the deck and drink a cup of coffee.

KGMom said...

Scribe--you do have an eye for the lovely things of nature. If your day job ever evaporates, you could make your living with these photographs.
Wonderful time of year, isn't it. So much beauty in the changing seasons. Thank goodness for such a place to live.
(By the way, your cottage deck looks most inviting--for that 3rd cup of coffee.)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Raph…

Actually, I have two almost identical teak rocking chairs on the deck—the other one is just off camera to the right. So I'm twice as comfortably prepared.

I love the changing seasons, love to sit and watch and wonder and dream as autumn steals across the land.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Richard…

I hope so…nothing would please me more than to be porch-sitting friendly with a sky-crusing old buzzard.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

There's always beauty around; you look with the physical and mental (eye and intellect), but you truly see with the spiritual (heart)—or is that getting too way out there? I try to truly see, whether I'm making a photograph or just observing.

This IS a lovely vantage point from which to watch the seasons unfurl. And there are TWO rocking chairs.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Grizz - come on now - YOU are getting ready for the change - do you have some special river remedies for hot flashes???

You really do cover a range of topics here. However, this post must be written in code - because I didn't find the relief I was teased by in the title!

Bernie said...

I don't think I would be happy living in an area that didn't enjoy all four seasons, each one is unique....ahhhh but my favorite is Fall and your words captured the sights that I so love. Even the wild marigold caught my breath, your blessings from the rocking chair to the almost dry river, the beautiful sky, turkey buzzard oh just everything are so many...I know how you love and appreciate all these blessings Grizz,and I am so happy I get to visit your site and even feel a part of it all.....:-) Hugs

TheChicGeek said...

Awwww, how I love doing everyday things with you in your garden...you take the most stunning pictures. What a wonderful view from your porch! You have a gift for being able to see the beauty in the simple things in life. Not many people today take time to truly appreciate all of the wonders right under their nose.
The graceful transition from summer to fall...it's a beautiful time of year, isn't it? What a blessing to see it through your eyes.
Thank you!

Have a Wonderful Weekend Mr. Grizzly :D

Hildred and Charles said...

I sigh over our photos, - they are so incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing your morning.

Brenda said...

Once again your words picked up where your photos left off, helping us mentally picture your view even more precisely. Lovely photos and post.

But what are poke berries and hackberries? Are they edible?

Jayne said...

I love the transition time too, and think the earth is groaning to be relieved of the dry heat of the summer. Can't wait to see the colors on the riverbank as the cool, crisp days of fall progress. Wish we could all sit there and enjoy a cuppa with you. ;c)

The Solitary Walker said...

Have you tried planting in tubs? ;)
Less back-breaking... And you've got to preserve your health and strength, what with the Change imminent, and all that...

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

Okay, I admit…whenever I personally experience a hot flash, I've usually hunkered too close to the campfire and failed to realize that last popping ember landed in my lap.

And I've also come to understand—rather reluctantly—that when I'm sitting across from a lady in a restaurant, and she suddenly blushes a deep pink and beads of perspiration appear on her forehead and upper lip, it's probably not due to the candlelight playing off my astonishing masculinity, nor has she been subliminally beguiled by my irresistible pheromones.

So the best advice I can give for hot flashes boils down (no pun intended) to four tactics:

1. Immediately divest yourself of as much clothing as is legally possible and prudent given the situation.

2. Crank the air-conditioning to high and sit on the vent. Or open the refrigerator and freezer compartment doors and stand in front, providing the light isn't bothersome. (Packages of frozen hamburger, pressed to critical body areas, can be easily utilized.) Note: either of these alternatives can be combined with technique number 1 for greater efficacy.

3. If handy, and seasonally sensible, jump in the river. (Keep in mind that any nearby fishermen may not understand, as they're prone to think of mermaids as coming FROM rather than TO their chosen pool; also, it's considered poor form if you frighten the ducks.)

4. Should all the above fail, three 12-ounce frozen margaritas, administered quickly by taking internally in rapid succession, is a guaranteed temporary cure. You will be relieved from the immediate discomfort of the hot flash—though perhaps too numb to verbally articulate this wondrous fix…and possibly rendered temporarily unconscious. Should you need to keep employing the Margarita Remedy on a several-times-per-day basis, I hear they're quite sympathetic to your plight at rehab.

So there you are…good advice; no hidden code. And, I trust, another pleased and informed reader. :-)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

No, I can't imagine—nor do I want to!—living where the seasons aren't distinct and emphatically different.

I think spring is my favorite season, then autumn, then winter; summer least, for sure…though this year, being so cool and all, has been really enjoyable.

I'm always glad to have you along here on the river—which, BTW, is merely late-summer low; there's still plenty of water. You are indeed a welcome part, and always a most welcome visitor/follower.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

ChickGeek…

You're being overly generous referring to my few flower beds and scattered plantings as a garden—but I'm still pleased you like to come along for the occasional ramble.

Fall is a beautiful time. In fact, I'm going to spend the latter half of today out taking photos, ambling about, seeing and smelling and enjoying the sun and sights.

Thank you for your kind words about the photography and post. I'm just happy you like it—as that's the whole point.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Hildred and Charles…

Taking the photos is fun for me because it makes me look and see critically—and if I can pass that enjoyment along by sharing, then the pleasure doubles.

Thank you…

Debbie said...

I am a new follower. The photos are wonderful enough but your verbal description of everything just blessed my heart.
Thank you very much and I will visit your blog often in hopes of being the recipient of more
encouragement!
Debbie

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Brenda…

Thank you for such nice words re. woods and photos. I always hope that's what I manage…make one compliment or support the other. That's the goal, for sure, though I doubtless miss the mark sometimes.

Poke berries are the grape-like clusters of seed containing fruits of pokeweed. If you remember the song"Poke Salad Annie" as sang by either Tony Joe White or Elvis Presley, then know that pokeweed was what they were singing about. The leaves of pokeweed, when they are young and tender in the spring, are gathered, boiled a couple of times, then seasoned with a bit of bacon grease and eaten. This is the popular poke salad—or poke sallet, as it is often pronounced—of the song, and a favorite dish in the south and hill country.

Pokeweed when mature—and especially the roots and seeds of the berries—can be poisonous, those berries (with seeds strained out!) are sometimes made into jellies, wine, or even pies. And the plant has a long herbal history. It is dangerous when misused, though.

Hackberry, sometimes referred to as sugarberry (true sugarberry is closely related, but a slightly different species), is a common, fast growing tree hereabouts. The wood is soft and rots easily, and has never had much commercial use. I have lots of hackberry in the yard and along the river.

The actual berries are rounded, reddish when ripe, and sweet, though there's not much to them—mostly a seed. Birds love 'em. So far as I know, they're harmless to humans.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

I love all seasonal transitions—maybe more than I love the actual seasons being transitioned to and from.

Actually, this summer hereabouts has been the coolest I ever remember, with plenty of rain; most of the landscape is lush as a jungle and still looks not much different than late-June.

I wish every reader could come, sit on the deck for a morning or afternoon (we'd have to take turns since space is limited) and have a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever, and enjoy the river and birds and landscape.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

Hey, hole-digging hereabouts is a macho enterprise (some might say muleheaded), a battle of man over environment, a triumph to savor while applying plasters to one's blisters and swallowing painkillers for the aching back, arms, hands, legs, hips, and feet. Planting in tubs is too logical and too easy. Moreover, such things as oaks, weeping willow, and roses don't do all that great in a tub.

The way I see it, a fellow must be master of his domain—even if it nearly kills him. Besides, it gives him a good reason to sit in his deckside rocking chair, enjoy the river, and complain vociferously to all who will listen.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Debbie…

Welcome to the riverbank! I'm glad you found your way hear and pleased you'll be coming back on a regular basis.

I certainly recognize that life is gift and that I've been blessed to live where I do—and I'm grateful for that and try to share all I can. But amid the wonder and joy I also try and have fun—at least most of the time. Sometimes we get serious, but often just silly. We're never a stuffy lot here.

At any rate, you're always welcome here!

The Solitary Walker said...

Hey, that spiel was almost Earnest enough for Hemingway! But I'm not convinced by your macho blather. I can somehow see the flower-powered softie within. Chill, chill. Geraniums in containers, pansies in window boxes. Take it easy. Create more time. Time enough to go on the Camino perhaps?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

Geraniums in containers? Surely you jest! Next you'll suggest yew in a hanging basket!

No sir! Real men dig holes in the resistant earth like badgers. By whatever means necessary—including blood, sweat, and tears. And we afterwards nurse our wounds with gruff tenderness and minimal howling, are mindful of others as we gimp, groan and stumble about public places, don't plead for help getting in and out of the rocking chair unless absolutely necessary, wear our battle scars proudly, and hold our heads high—providing we've ingested a sufficient dose of acetaminophen.

I may be a flower-snuffing wuss…but I'll have you know that's not a chest-hair merkin. If anything is going to get potted hereabouts, it won't be my plants!

But I take your point.

And FYI, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to one day amble the length of the Camino. I've dreamed and thought about it for years and have at least a half-dozen books about it on my shelves. I read your posts on your walks. And I'm currently enjoying Riverdaze… reader and follower Rita's account of her journey. (http://rita-underthemilkyway.blogspot.com/2009/09/camino-angels.html)

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Okaaay . . . So I followed your instructions to the letter, 1. 2. 3. 4. 4. 4. (you did say to do #4 three times, right?) - now what?

It was challenging to hold all those frozen food packages in the strategic spots, balance nine margueritas, and jump in the river (how did you know I have a river?)at the same time . . . now the only thing that's flashing are the lights on the patrol car.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

See, I knew one of those suggestions would work!

Yes, repeating step 4 several times is often the key to success…though it's obvious you were already experienced with Margarita Therapy and knew to increase the dosage as necessary.

I might point out that the idea was to ingest the margaritas one at a time, not carry them around to guzzle all at once. Had you done so, jumping in the river would have not presented a problem, although locating the river and crawling into jump-in position might have presented certain challenges.

In the future, you might want to use duct tape to secure those packets of frozen foods to your person—though I caution you to keep in mind that tape location can be critical upon removal.

As to those nice patrol persons with their flashing lights, why, they're just coming to help you celebrate your victory. Offer them a margarita. Thaw out some of those steaks you're holding. Have a party! They may even allow you to play with the siren when they take you for a ride later on.

Robin said...

My God, this is a beautiful post.

Thank you.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Robin…

I don't know what else to say except…thank you.

TheChicGeek said...

LOL!!! Okay. It's Official.... Bonnie and Grizz must go on the road for a two-person comedy team...LOL
You guys are TOTALLY cracking me up!
That was hysterical!! :D

Hugs and Big Smile :D

Kelly

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

ChicGeek…

Comedy? You think we're being funny?
I assure you, this was a serious discussion regarding proven remedies for an unpleasant condition.

Comedy, indeed!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Scribe: I, too, took it all quite seriously. Your words are my commands. However, you might be amused when the patrol car drives up Riverdaze Road and deposits a drunken, demi-derobed, deranged woman on your doorstep.

That ride you said they might take me on . . . well I convinced them to head to Ohio to see my hot flash coach. It's a long drive from Montreal to Ohio, but they are allowing me to play with the siren.

You should see the flashing light and hear the siren (me) soon! (Be warned, it will not be a pretty sight . . .)

P.S. ChicGeek in a comment on my blog mentionned our hot flash duet and I encouraged folks to come over and check out your great blog. (Most of my followers are better behaved than I and should give you no grief).

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

Well, that explains it…I just dropped my son-in-law off at the airport at 6:30 a.m. and noticed the Security Threat Level posting was currently up to Level Orange. I guess that means they've had word you're on the way.

Good luck crossing the border. Have your passport ready. Of course, given your scanty state of dress, any necessary search will be a breeze. I would suggest backing off on the siren, however, and it would probably be a good idea to temporarily lose the 5-gallon bucket of margaritas. Your new patrolmen friends ought to be able to help you with any remaining details.

P.S. ChicGeek is okay. Somehow she became convinced we were making light of this heart-rending subject. Being a relative newcomer, she simply didn't understand that we riverbankers often discuss such profound sociobiological matters, and thus mistook our discourse regarding the latest methodologies of palliative alleviation as mere bantering.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Grizz: LOL!!! You knock my socks off, and that's all I had on! (Not to worry, frozen steaks are still taped in strategic spots.)

Thanks for the fun. I promise to now leave you alone to enjoy eden by the river.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

Hey, life is short…I say if you're not having fun along the way, you're wasting the trip. :-D

Carolyn H said...

Weather here in PA has been spectacular,too. I'm ready for some clouds, now. Perfect blue sky is not what makes hawkwatchers happy....

Carolyn H.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Carolyn…

We had a bit of rain—just sprinkles—yesterday evening and much of today. It is still sort of cloudy, but is now taking spells of clearing with bright sunshine.

I don't want to see weeks of rain, but I've enjoyed today, even though I had to be out running errands for several hours. I love the softer light and the saturated colors.