Thursday, May 27, 2010


Some folks you meet via these blogs are just that…"blog friends." Maybe you'd become closer if you got to know them better, in person rather than through the screening curtain of cyberspace.
Others, however, you know and like and feel completely at ease with; you also count them as a genuine friend immediately, because the real person is out there—honest and open, their heart and soul showing for all to see. Bernadette Wood, a.k.a. "Bernie" of On My Own, is one of those wonderfully authentic and sincere people—sweet of spirit, straightforward, deeply caring. A joy to know, and an honor to call a friend.
Bernie is having a birthday today. It doesn't matter what her chronological age is…her heart is not a day over sweet-sixteen. If you haven't already, I hope each and every reader of this post clicks on the link above and drops by Bernie's place to wish her a happy birthday.
And from here on the riverbank…

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I'm not a big spider fan.
Uh, let me rephrase that: I not a big fan of spiders. When it comes to BIG SPIDERS, I'm especially not a fan.
I won't go so far as to say the only good spider is a dead spider…but I will say that any spider I catch trespassing in my house is a soon-to-be-dead spider, providing my aim with the swatter is true. Outside is another matter. I'll concede spiders have their place—so long as we're agreed their place is not scuttling across my living room floor. I can be fair and reasonable, willing to live and let live, if a certain decorum is maintained.
However, my cottage is my castle, and I rule this modest kingdom with one categorical imperative—spiders are forbidden within its walls. Any spider caught therein will be considered an intruder, and punishment for ignoring this boundary shall prove swift and deadly.
Just to show my seriousness on the matter, I keep a swatter handy in every room.
As an informational aside, Myladylove employs a vacuum cleaner with the hose attachment as her preferred arachnid termination device. While I like this "suck 'em to the big fly feast in the sky" approach in principal, in practice I find it too clunky for instant decisive reaction.
True, it does offer a more remote working distance for inflicting death—especially appealing when armed with a short-handled swatter and facing a soon-to-be-deceased eight-legged nightmare of a size which makes me gulp and pause. More than once during these thoughtful pauses, as I'm trying to drag my courage back by the shirt collar, I remember how—given my adrenaline-fueled heart rhythm after a similar stalk-and-slay mission involving such a gargantuan foe—I really meant to check into investing in a home defibrillator unit. So in these cases, the extra margin of an additional foot or two might make a difference.
Yet I know I'd personally miss the lack of a squashed post-execution carcass which provides that necessary and satisfying proof of a successful fatality. There's also the moment of celebratory glee when your now-vanquished invader does a few turns around the porcelain bowl before a watery trip into the abyss. For me, there's nothing like a good slain-spider flush to restore a calmative balance to my universe.
Therefore, I'll stick with the swatter and employ it only within the confines of my cottage walls. Spiders outside need not fear. And seeing as how we're being perfectly honest here…certain spiders are, even to my arachnophobic mindset, rather cute. Especially when they're smaller than the eraser on the end of a pencil. Even I can't work up a case of unreasonable terror over a creature so tiny.
Of course they're still not too diminutive to set my spider-radar to pinging. Which is how I discovered the itsy-bitsy spider in the photo above. I was prowling about the yard yesterday. My radar pinged. I looked around, and saw the elfin creature—what I think is one of the metaphid jumping spiders, approximately 1/8-inch long—staring back at me from a secure pocket at the base of a pokeweed leaf. I eased over for a good close-up shot, and couldn't help grinning all the while because that old blues song by Sonny Terry or maybe Howlin' Wolf, "Got My Eyes On You," suddenly began playing in my mind. The perfect musical backdrop for the occasion.
You just have to love any creature which invokes such a moment…even if it does happen to be a spider!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


This week, my rhododendron bloomed!
Now this may not sound like a big deal to some of you, but to those of us who heretofore have been "rhodie" impaired, it is at least cause for minor celebration. And any gardener who has tried to grow this persnickety plant in those regions of Ohio which are totally unsuited to its rather specialized needs, is likely to understand firsthand my joy of success.
Rhododendrons, along with their slightly less finicky azaleas cousins, are elegant, often evergreen, plants with large, showy, clusters of blooms—in colors from red to magenta, violet to purple, pale pink or lilac, to white. Rhododendrons grow wild throughout most of the southern Appalachians, and anyone who's ever taken a mid-spring drive through these storied mountains cannot help but come away with a passion for their eye-stopping beauty.
Unfortunately, much of Ohio is simply not naturally suited rhododendron habitat. Rhododendrons need light, well-drained, acidic soil, ample moisture, shelter from wind and too much sun. Much of the Buckeye state—at least the corner I live in—contains heavy clay soil, lots of alkline limestone, and is not always well drained. As if this weren't bad enough going in, I planted my initial rhododendrons too deep, and in sites where they received little sun and wind protection. Afterwards, I overwatered them to beat the band.
In other words, in my stupidity I basically set my rhododendrons up for failure, and did all I could to help their fate along. Yet in my botanical ignorance, I remained puzzled as they languished, withering away branch by branch to an early demise. So I bought a few more and killed them, too.
I won't trouble you with further details. Except to say that I eventually did what I should have done before I ever brought that first rhodie home from the nursery—read up on the plants and their needs, instead of simply digging holes and sticking them in the ground. I'd like to claim it was merely a lack of education, but in truth it was mostly laziness and getting in a hurry, and possibly a dollop of ego in acting as if I knew something about which I had not the first clue. If this is so, however, I fooled only myself—not the poor rhododendrons.
So as welcome and beautiful as this week's blooms are, they come with a tinge of the bittersweet. I have learned my lesson the hard way.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


The river upstream from the cottage this morning…
When you live beside a river, you naturally become singularly aware of its ups and downs. It is, after all, an extension of the property and setting—in my case constituting what amounts to the front yard. The first thing I do after arising and making my coffee is take Moon the dog out for her morning constitutional. And while she does her thing, sniffing and snuffling around the bushes, I check out the river.
Not that I expect to be surprised, mind you…at least not by the river itself, though you never know what may be lurking along the bank, perched in a nearby tree, or paddling about the pools. Snake? Beaver? Heron? Wood duck? Vulture? Raccoon? Muskrat? Whitetail? Even an eagle!
Still, as I say, it's seldom the river itself delivering the surprise. The most common exception comes when I glance around the corner of the cottage and am astonished by a water level unexpectedly up by several feet. Usually, I keep track of not only my own local weather, but also weather in the counties upstream, with an eye toward any goings-on that might effect the stream as I'll receive it a day or so hence. To be surprised thus is, frankly, rare—not something that happens more than a couple times a year. When it does, it's invariably because the weather here has not shown the least hint of rain, so I've been lulled into not paying proper attention to weather reports for elsewhere upstream.
Of course, knowing the river is apt to rise, and being able to do anything about it, are two different things. Rivers always have the final say. You must accept this going in—the river will rise and fall as it always has, responding to the natural pulse of the seasons and the idiosyncracies of daily weather. Your only role is that of observer.
The river as mirror…the blues are of the sky,
greens and golds, respectively, of
streamside trees and morning light.
For the past few days the river has been up. Not seriously high, or even moderately—just up a couple of feet and muddy. This morning it is down by a foot from yesterday evening, not quite clear enough to fish, but murky rather than muddy. However, the National Weather Service predicts a 20% chance of showers tonight, 30% tomorrow, 50% tomorrow night, and 80% on Monday. Predicted amounts range from less than a tenth of an inch to between one-half and three-quarters of an inch the first of the week.
So while the river will doubtless manage to lower an additional foot, and improve its clarity a bit more today—and possibly more still tomorrow—this improvement will only be temporary…at least for awhile. For that, you see, is the usual behavior of these Ohio rivers during the spring, the rhythm every streamside dweller comes to expect and accept.
River up…river down…river up…river down…river up…

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


"…droplets falling through new green leaves on the hackberry…"
When upon a morning dreary,
as I gazed with vision bleary,
At the old, beloved river
dimmed behind a rain-drenched veil,
While I pondered came a plipping,
little droplets softly slipping,
From the eaves and dripping,
dripping on an upturned garden pail.
"Tis but raindrops," I did mumble…
"plopping on that upturned pail,
Only raindrops…drumming frail.
You're right—I must offer sincere apologies to Edgar Allen Poe! Though for whatever reason, my first look this morning out the workroom window at the long view of the river downstream from cottage, reminded me of his poem "The Raven." I should also admit that while it was indeed dark and rainy out, I did not find the sight dreary.
"…plopping on that upturned pail,"
Rain is a part of spring—a most necessary part. Elemental, if you'll pardon the wordplay, to the season. What sort of spring would we have if it didn't rain? Not to mention the summer and autumn to follow.
No, rain is a good thing—plus I like rain and rainy days. Especially if I have to be indoors, stuck at a desk, anyway. I work well when it rains. The rhythmic sound of raindrops pattering on the roof and dripping from the eaves soothes, while the rumble of distant thunder and the occasional flash of lightning stirs and enlivens. The mix seems to get the creative juices to flowing…or at least, so I've convinced myself.
"…a rather soggy cardinal."
Today it was warm enough out that I could open the window and allow more of the outside in—savor the dampness and smell the fragrance of the rain, hear the increased volume of droplets falling through new green leaves on the hackberry nearby, and listen to the muted whisper of the swollen river beyond. I could pick out the sound of wind dancing through the tall sycamores and the soft twittering of birds as they made hurried trips to and from the feeders.
"…the old, beloved river dimmed behind a rain-drenched veil…"
Once or twice, when the rain lessened, I managed a couple of quick turns around the yard, camera in hand—though the light was so feeble, even at what passed for high noon, that I had to crank the ISO all the way up to 1600 in order to handhold for a few shots.
"…a dim, dripping world…"
It is still raining—a dim, dripping world of saturated greens and fog above the water. The river is discolored and rising. And the closest thing I've seen to a raven has been a rather soggy cardinal.

Monday, May 10, 2010


"…an ethereal silver gauze that hung
above the water like a ghostly naiad…"
There was fog along the river this morning—an ethereal silver gauze that hung above the water like a ghostly naiad, indistinct, translucent, softly mysterious. The sound of the riffle was muted to a murmur, as if for the time being, the river had chosen to convey its elemental secrets in a whisper.
"…The sound of the riffle was muted to a murmur…"
On the gravel bar across from the cottage, a handful of Canada geese preened in the tenebrous blue-green light. Used to my presence, they never lifted their heads from their ablutions as I picked my way down the stone steps.
"…a handful of Canada geese preened
in the tenebrous blue-green light."
The fog was born from the temperature differential between water and air—a clear night and deep chill which had bottomed out near the freezing point after several eighty-degree days. I'd ignored the weather service's warnings and not covered the plants, but luckily, there didn't appear to be any frost damage.
"…I became aware I was not alone in my river-watching."
As I stood on the platform near the water's edge, I became aware I was not alone in my river-watching. Across the channel, in one of the island's sycamores, a turkey vulture sat on a limb twenty feet above the pool below the riffle, alternately keeping a thoughtful eye on both me and the water. They usually don't sit this low so early in the day; you're more likely to see them perched high in the very tops of the tallest trees, wings spread wide as they warm their bones in the first golden wash of morning sunlight. Of course, the sun was still hiding, working it's way to the top of the little hill to the east and expected to make an appearance any moment.
"Eventually, the sun found its way above the hill."
Today I am another year older; one tock closer to the final chime which eventually tolls for one and all—though not a thought I want to dwell on on so glorious a May morning. At best age is a general measurement, a number that often says little about where we stand as individuals, our lives, development, worth, even its expectancy. We all know folks who are "young" or "old" for their age, mature or immature in their outlook and restraint. Some of us get older but refuse to grow up.
"Warm yellow light glimmered through the greenery…"
Eventually, the sun found its way above the hill. Warm yellow light glimmered through the greenery, and varnished the tops of east-facing sycamores downstream. Their white trunks fairly gleamed. A robin sitting under the picnic table found encouragement in this glorious unfolding drama and began singing. A fish rose in the pool. Beginning to feel encouraged myself, I decided to get a rod and see if that bass and I might engage in a morning waltz.
"A robin sitting under the picnic table…"
Life is filled with moments for dance…and I don't want to miss a single opportunity to enjoy my allotted whirls.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Mom was happy-go-lucky, always bubbling with humor, and invested with a practical-joker streak which, given her pious demeanor, could—and often did—catch you by surprise if you weren’t paying attention.
One of my very earliest memories is of a Saturday afternoon, not long after my third birthday, during a family outing to a favorite woods near Twin Creek. It was late spring. Dad decided to head downhill and fish. Mom and I stayed near the car. She sat on a log while I toddled about, plucking wildflowers and playing in the damp leaves.
After a while, Mom called me over and asked if I’d like a cookie. When I nodded, she reached into her purse and proffered a yellow-and-black treat—which I opened wide to accept. The tiny box turtle, scarcely larger than a silver dollar, stuck its head from its carapace a millisecond before entering my mouth—just in time for me to catch a glimpse of its dragon-like countenance.
The unexpected sight sent me into a screaming fit—part terror, part rage, but mostly frustration over being denied the promised cookie. My howling wails so tickled Mom that she fell off the log amid gales of laughter, while bringing my father huffing up the hill to deal with whatever trauma had instigated such a clamor.
The baby box turtle was eventually released unharmed, though my ego never quite recovered. And fifty-odd years later, Mom still got a kick and a laugh out of teasing me about the “turtle-cookie” incident. Humor, laughter, and fun, Mom taught me, should always be a part of all life—and by extension, part of the outdoors.
My father, while not overly serious, was at least generally thoughtful, more contemplative. A scholar and logician. Dad was the nuts-and-bolts guy, the one who taught me the mechanics and technicalities of fishing for crappie, hunting gray squirrels, digging sassafras, tying a trout fly, fashioning an axe handle, or skinning out a muskrat. Mother, on the other hand, tended more towards guiding my attitude—though she also enriched my education by instructing me in such outdoor practicalities as cooking dandelion greens, frying catfish, canning blackberry preserves, or using the walnuts we gathered each fall to bake a flavorful cake delicious beyond description.
Like my father, Mom grew up on a farm in eastern Kentucky. She hoed corn on the hillsides. Read by the light of a coal oil lamp. Cooked on a woodstove. She knew how to butcher a hog, can peaches, churn butter, and spin sheep’s wool into thread which could then be put on a loom and turned into cloth. Mom loved the country, country ways, and country people. She loved telling and hearing stories. And throughout her ninety-four years of life, she never wavered in this love of the hills and its simple, honest values.
Mom taught me to love and understand old times, old ways, old places and things. She also taught me to appreciate beauty.
“Listen to that redbird sing,” she’d say, a hundred times each year. Her face would radiate the joy she found in the bird’s sprightly song. Should the brilliant cardinal alight within sight, perhaps in the middle of Mom’s favorite window-side rose tangle, her happiness was increased exponentially.
Mom found beauty in everything from wildflowers to sunsets, singing birds, buzzing bees, the hoot of and owl or a croaking frog. She liked hearing rain on the roof and the growl of thunder off in the distance. She loved fall’s patchwork colors. New snow. Lightening bugs twinkling a summer meadow. Fragrant apple blossoms in the spring.
“There’s beauty everywhere,” Mom said. “Just look around.”
Parents are like ears, in that we each receive a pair without any choice whatsoever in the matter. I was the luckiest kid in the world, blessed beyond measure in my gift of parents…and the older I get, the more apparent this fact becomes.
I was born on a Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day. Mom always claimed I was her Mother’s Day present. “The best-ever gift,” she said.
Personally, I think I got the better deal. Mom’s spirit was indomitable. Her joy irrepressible. Her love immeasurable. She taught me attitudes and values which still shape and enrich my life and outdoor experience every single day.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you with all my heart. Miss you every single day. Appreciate all you did—the tears you shed and sacrifices you made.
More than anything in this world, Mom, I’m honored and forever thankful to be your son.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


My best Baltimore oriole underbelly photo…
One morning a week or so ago, Myladylove gave me a bleary stare over her tea mug and said I was "annoyingly cheerful."
"Moi?" I replied in a particularly dreadful French accent.
"How can you regularly get up in such a state of mind?" she asked, trying with only moderate success to arrange her facial expression into some semblance of a fearsome glare. Not that it would have kept me from laughing at her.
I'd just carried the tray with our breakfast into the front room, placing laden plates, glasses of juice, and refill pots of tea and coffee, on the table. Myladylove was still sipping at her first infusion of caffeine-rich Earl Grey. I stepped around her and opened the blinds so we could look out at the river and yard while we ate. At the sudden light—obliquely angled, mind you, and not all that bright—Myladylove recoiled like a vampire running late for her daily dirt nap.
"ARRGGGHHHH!" she said, trying again for that fearsome glare, but this time looking more like a squinty-eyed Mrs. Magoo…though I thought this similarity was probably not something I ought to mention while she had that half-mug of hot tea in her hand.
"Exactly how am I annoyingly cheerful?"
"You whistle…and whistle…and whistle!"
"Hmmm," I said. "I do whistle…and rather well, I think. I am a good whistler, and I vary my repertoire. Let's see…this morning I did some blues, a bit of gospel, a Hank Williams tune, an old Ricky Nelson song, and—"
Myladylove cut me off—and this time did manage her fearsome glare. "Yeah, but how can you jump out of bed so…perky!"
"Ahh-h," I said. "In point of fact, I staggered out of bed nearly two hours ago. I was not perky, you just weren't conscious. But now I've already had several cups of coffee, answered e-mail, taken Moon the dog out for her walk, checked the river…and waited around for you to wake up. I'm hungry and possibly a bit wired—but I always let you sleep-in on your day off. And I didn't whistle the first note until I heard you moaning and stirring in there; thereafter I whistled skillfully while fixing us a hearty breakfast."
Myladylove's expression softened, a sure sign the tea's caffeine was finally kicking in. "I love it that you cook…and that you let me sleep in, and have my breakfast ready when I finally get up. That's just wonderful!" She grinned at me across the table. "And you are a great whistler."
I thought about this conversation a couple of days ago while working in the yard. Since first light, the sweet May air had been filled with the exuberant, high-volume whistling of a Baltimore oriole. Actually, it was plural—orioles—since there were at least two birds around. They were whistling—a sort of near-continuous call-and-response exchange—which I presume was in hopes of attracting a mate. Apparently they considered their competitive situation desperate, although I think a whistle every couple of minutes ought to have been sufficient. Either you got or or you don't, and a show of self-assurance never hurts.
Did I mention this was a loud exchange? And while we're at it, is there a louder whistling bird on the planet than a Baltimore oriole? Sure, Carolina wrens are pretty good, volume-wise—but orioles are better. WAY LOUDER! Moreover, orioles whistle and whistle and whistle, endlessly, with every breath, for hours on end.
The loud and continuously whistling creatures were working their way through the tops of my yard's numerous sycamore trees. I don't know what they were finding to eat up there, but something good—and plentiful—because they kept going from tree to tree, up and down the riverbank, covering and recovering this chosen feeding ground. And they did this for 12 hours straight…whistling all the while.
Yes, I tried to get a good photo. Tried and tried and tried. These sycamores are very tall and the birds were usually smack in the tops. A 1200mm lens instead of 200mm one would have helped. Maybe. At least it would have provided a better view of an oriole underbelly, which is what you get when you stand beneath a tall tree and shoot straight up at a bird far above. I managed numerous oriole underbelly shots, but they would have been notably better underbelly shots with a longer-reaching lens.
Of course sometimes I couldn't see the birds. Oh, I could hear them whistling, loud and clear, but I couldn't actually see the whistler. You might think a bird only slightly smaller than a robin, decked out in Halloween dress of brilliant orange and black, and located somewhere in the top of a tree whose leaves are only partway filled out for the season, would be an easy mark. You'd be wrong. At least I regularly had trouble spotting them, which was frustrating given the racket they were making.
Anyway, I shot and shot and shot trying to get a better photo; I stalked and maneuvered and did my best…and not infrequently I stomped off in frustration and went back to my yard work, which, I ought to mention, is why I haven't put up a post for several days. Between days of rain and Myladylove's hospital adventure weekend-before last, plus the aftermath of follow-up doctor appointments and tests—and always factoring in my usual margin for personal sloth—I've been long on chores and short on time.
But at least the other day…I didn't have to do my own whistling while I worked!

Monday, May 3, 2010


Geese must either be the world's most patient parents, or they're unsurpassed at instilling discipline in their offspring. Let's put it this way—would you willingly take your twenty-one kids—all the same age—out for an afternoon snack and swim?
Yup, that's what I thought. Such an act is unimaginable. Sticking a burning splinter under each of your fingernails would be easier…and less likely to make you want to commit a felony. Yet geese do it all the time—take their whole brood for an outing, I mean—and never seem to mind or have any difficulties riding herd on their numerous fuzzy hatchlings. And the hatchlings…well, they swim or waddle in a mostly tight-knit group, and hurry to get back in place should they dawdle or become momentarily interested in something a few feet beyond the boundaries of family security.
Moreover, there's no squabbling among the ranks. Order is maintained throughout—and everyone seems cheerful and fascinated by the big new world.
Did you ever assemble even a handful of kids, take them on a walk, and not have to break up a fight or two and call them down repeatedly for becoming overly rambunctious? Well, of course you haven't. That's simply not possible…unless you're a goose.
Myladylove and I saw this goose family yesterday during our day of rambling. It took me a while to come up with a final head count (think of animated yellow tennis balls with webbed feet bouncing down a stairs) but after several tries, I settled at twenty-one; checking the photos later confirmed this number. I think that's a lot even for geese—but maybe not. I do know the parents were watchful of me, but not afraid; and the goslings were just adorable.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


It is still dark outside, and raining, though only the lightest of drizzles. I've been awake since before 5:00 a.m. which is about an hour earlier than usual. For a while I remained in bed, listening to the soft patter of rain on the roof and its steady drip off the eaves, savoring the fresh scent of damp air coming through the opened window's screen.
Usually the sound and smell of a spring rain acts like a tranquilizer, making sleep easy. But this morning, I found myself becoming more awake as the minutes passed, and after an hour of increasing restlessness, decided to slip from bed before I disturbed Myladylove. Even Moon the dog, who sleeps beside the bed but normally follows me to my work room whenever I get up, simply gave me a baleful stare and re-snuggled herself on her doggy bed, where she remains. So much for loyalty.
The weather pundits have predicted heavy rains and severe storms. There are flash flood warnings out. Of course they predicted the same thing for yesterday, and it only rained briefly in the early morning—not enough to discolor the river or cause a rise. I'm hoping their notions for today prove just as overly estimated. Certainly the light rain now falling is not going to make any problems, riverwise. Of course it is never the rain falling here—but rather that which falls on the watershed of the fifty or so miles of river upstream from here that becomes the issue.
The photo of the large white trillium at the head of this post was taken Friday during a brief ramble to check a nearby woods for warblers. A friend and I had hoped to get out yesterday morning for a much longer photography/birding session, but ended up calling things off based on the early showers and advice from the weather prophets. In retrospect, we should have ignored the warnings and gone anyway. I fear I'm turning into a wuss.
Late yesterday afternoon, I sat on the deck watching dark clouds swirl overhead and wondering why I'd failed to catch a single smallmouth bass during the fifteen minutes worth of casts I'd just made to the nearby pool. Usually, a quarter-hour of fishing garners me several rock bass and a feisty smallmouth or two. Was my angling omnipotence also slipping?
As I mulled this somber thought, a great blue heron clatter-squawked upstream and came flapping downriver. I watched as it gained altitude, skimming over the tops of the first trees—mostly tall sycamores—at the head of the long island across from the cottage. Then the big bird angled down, into the woods, leveled at about fifty feet high, sailed and flapped through the thick timber, and finally made a little upward maneuver to land lightly on a limb in one of the very tallest of the sycamores.
I suppose I could have taken a photo of the bird in that treetop, but you likely wouldn't have been able to see anything. The light was low, and even knowing the bird's exact location, it was just a dark blob among various limbs and shadows that also appeared as dark blobs. It might surprise you—unless you've lived beside a heron-rich stream for a while—that these huge wading birds even perch in trees. I know this revelation surprised me when I moved into this riverside cottage and began taking note of my feathered neighbors. Yet I've come to learn that blue herons spend a great deal of time sitting in trees—and not just low down, close to the water, either. A limb choice of fifty, sixty, even seventy-five feet up is a common height. Who knew?
What does still surprise—or at least amaze—me about these birds is how effortlessly and deftly they can fly through the island's dense woods. You wouldn't think a bird with a 6-foot wingspan could easily find a path between the jungly maze of intertwined limbs. Yet it does, and does so at high speed—faster than the turkey vultures who also come gliding into the island's woods to find themselves a lofty perch.
Well, it is now light. The rain has ceased, at least for the moment. The robin who started singing before even a hint of dawn appeared is still singing…and I'm pleased to report my old dog came into the workroom and curled up beside the desk soon after I wrote the line questioning her commitment to early action. I was premature in my remarks; I hope she forgives me.
And now it is time for coffee…