Carolina wrens are regular visitors hereabouts, appearing daily around the cottage, generally in pairs. About all I have to do to spot a wren is step outside or look out the nearest window.
But a bobtail Carolina wren is not something you often see.
If you know anything about wrens, you understand that long, high-cocked tail is their pride and joy—a well-employed banner, bouncing up and down like an animated metronome to the little bird’s actions and moods.
A bobtailed wren is simply…preposterous.
I have no idea how this particular bird lost its tail. Accident or near-miss attack by a would-be predator? A literal cracked board "wedgie" suffered while roosting? The scenario will forever remain a mystery. But the little wren didn’t appear in the least handicapped, easily keeping up with its mate as they flittered and poked about the dooryard. In time, the feathers will grow back.
Ultimately, I couldn't decided whether to feel sorry for the tailless wren or the loyal companion—the situation had to be embarrassing for both of 'em.
It was dark when I got up—still fully night, lacking even an inkling of what purported to be morning, at 5:30 a.m. on this twenty-third day of March. A fact, I irritatingly reminded myself, recently exacerbated by being compelled, once again, to instigate that national bit of self-delusion known as Daylight Savings Time.
As I made my way from the bedroom, I noticed an unfamiliar streak of light on the hallway floor ahead. Hmmm…had Myladylove installed another of those little plug-in nightlights she favors? She's like the Johnny Appleseed of nightlights. If left unchecked, she would stick one in every wall outlet in the house.
While I don't mind a few here and there, I'm a bit disconcerted when a room starts looking like the Vegas Strip. I keep insisting that when you can read a newspaper without turning on a regular light, you've overdosed on nightlights. If I'm feeling lucky, I try and sneakily unplug a few…all in the spirit of friendly sparring.
However, after a moment's glance, I realized the odd light in the hallway wasn't coming from some new, surreptitiously-placed plug-in. Rather, I recognized the pale illumination as a friendly daub of moonlight. What seemed to be a lot of moonlight. Worth investigating before starting the kettle for breakfast coffee and tea.
The cottage's great room faces the river, which along this stretch flows north to south. Thus the building's end is oriented almost due west. Perfectly in line to allow the setting moon to shine first into the room's peak-high pair of triangular clerestory windows, and as it dropped steadily lower toward the horizon, into the series of tall lower windows. This later, lower-angled light can pass across the room, through the kitchen, and paint its pearlescent glimmer down the length of the hall.
It also furnished light aplenty for me to easily make my way through the house to the door, where I stepped out onto the deck.
The westering moon was just beginning to pass behind the heavy fringe of huge sycamores covering the island across from the cottage. A doubtless bright full moon, though one now diffused by a scrim of fog that softened its glow. The water's moving surface, a living mirror, danced with scattered highlights.
I'd forgotten the moon would be full—though I did remember this was the so-called Worm Moon of Native American lore. According to the Book of Genesis, God hung the moon on the fourth day of His creation, a "lesser light to rule the night." And rule it does, still. Boldly, beautifully. The ancient, storied granddaddy of all nightlights.
I pondered that as I enjoyed this lambent marvel…reflected light from our distant home star, come down from the vast darkness of space to find its way through the tangle of sycamore branches, across the stream, before spilling into my humble cottage and washing down the hall.
Of course seasons come and go as they please, paying little heed to our almanacs and calendars. Early some years, late others. Occasionally they conform close enough to our scheduled timeframe that we foolishly allow our egos to override common sense and think we were in charge all along.
Spring as a season—a nature-endorsed rather than calendar-proclaimed season—has been here for several weeks. Flowers aplenty have been blooming…in fact my crocus have come and gone. The turkey vultures returned at least a month early. Plus we've had several days where temperatures rose above the 70˚F mark, and it's been springlike weather pretty much since the year began—a piddly snow or two notwithstanding.
None of which indicates any lack of appreciation or enthusiasm on my part. Spring is my favorite of all the seasons, and I intend to savor this year's incarnation afoot and afield, to the very best of my ability. In fact, a few minutes ago, I took the above daffodil photo to celebrate it's officialdom.
Yup, it's the greatest news possible for those of us whose joy abounds during these vernal weeks, when the earth around resurrects as the birds begin to sing and the land turns a thousand shades of green.
It has been a long time since my last post—in fact, nearly two months! But a "time out" in part necessitated by dual eye surgeries—left eye first, followed by the right two weeks later.
The four-week pre-surgery regime rendered me unable to read comfortably, watch a moment of TV, or even walk around outdoors without endangering myself. I'd pre-written all my upcoming columns. So I spent the time listening to music and audio books, resisting the urge to snack the hours away, while trying to not burn myself as I fed chunks of split ash to the woodstove.
Mostly, though, I simply sat around and thought.
Then came the surgeries, doctor visits, and crazily complicated post-surgical routines of six different drops which had to be inserted 2X, 3X, or 4X each day, changed from one week to the next, and of course were on different timeframes for each eye. Frankly, my ability to comply would likely have proven woefully beyond my schedule-management capabilities without the help of the Alarmed app on my handy dandy iPhone.
I'm now finished with the drops in my left eye, and have about another week to go for the right, which is down to two different medications, 2X and 3X daily. But the truly great news is my vision—a bit better than 20/20 in both eyes, no astigmatism, vibrant accurate colors.
A way better outcome than I expected—more amazing and marvelous and flat wonderful than I ever dared to imagine!
Already, my "new" eyes have proven to be a gift and blessing which has fundamentally changed my life. Partly because of the incredible surgeries and skill of the surgeon and team who performed them…but also because of that unavoidable "time out," before and after, which obliged me to spend day after day inside my own head—thinking, dreaming, contemplating, evaluating, planning, accepting, prioritizing, discarding, organizing—deciding.
From a medical perspective, I could have begun composing posts a couple of weeks ago. I started to do so several times…but, well, just wasn't ready. And I'm not even completely sure what held me back. Maybe I simply needed a bit more time to understand my inner change.
Vision is technical. But seeing is holistic, sight interconnected to who you are—personal fears, joys, beliefs. Seeing comprehends, interprets, reveals. It's a two-way street. Active rather than passive. Vision plugged into the heart and soul.
During these weeks away, I've made several decisions. Ones important to me, to the work I do, to my life ahead. Ultimately, some of those decisions will make their way onto the pages of this blog. I want Riverdaze to always be an honest reflection of who I am.
I value this blog. Riverdaze is important to me…YOU are important to me. I so appreciate that you take the time to read my drivel and glance at the photos. I'm sure I get than I give. And I haven't neglected things out of laziness or irresponsibility.
So I hope you'll understand—and forgive—my lengthy absence.