Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~ George Eliot
Emma’s barking got me out of bed at 6:00 this morning. Turned out, there was a bobcat on the other side of our fence. Zippy saw it when he went to investigate and I was consumed by envy after he came inside and described peering over the fence at the growling bobcat.
Ah, well, I thought. Maybe someday I, too, will have a bobcat sighting.
Fast forward five hours when I was in my writing room with the window open and heard a strange sound coming from outside. It took a moment for my brain to kick in: growling bobcat! Emma’s brain kicked in right after mine and she began barking near the fence. I looked out my window and, sure enough, the bobcat had returned to the yard next door.
As it listened to the barking Emma, the bobcat’s tail moved side-to-side. Oddly, it moved more like a wagging dog’s tail than an irritated cat flicking its tail. The unperturbed bobcat remained there until Zippy came out into the yard to get Emma to stop barking. At that point, Zippy didn’t know what was happening, but the bobcat went on alert at Zippy’s approach.
After assessing the situation, the bobcat leapt onto the back fence. (Look at the size of those back paws!)
It settled in to watch Zippy and Emma for a bit as I continued to snap photos from the second-story window. When first photographing the gorgeous cat, I saw a flash of white on one ear and thought maybe it’d been tagged by a wildlife agency.
Then I realized both ears had white patches. I’d known about the tufts on their ears, but learned today bobcats have false eyes on the backs of their ears. I didn’t capture any images of both ears so here’s a photo from the linked site. I knew about false eyes on moths and butterflies, but was unaware mammals also have them.
Wow. Wow. Wow. And as if the bobcat excitement wasn’t enough, a few minutes later I looked out another window and was gifted the sight of a Turkey Vulture riding the air currents. I watched for several minutes, filled with gratitude for the local wildlife. This day’s a WIN!
When we returned from our walk around the neighborhood this morning, I spotted these two extra-tall sunflowers peering at us over the fence.
I took their photo with the intention of a Twofer Tuesday post. But after downloading the images from the camera, I discovered some sunflower pics Zippy had taken last week.
Did you spot him in that tangle of green and yellow? If not, check the upper right corner.
An early bloomer
shining on its own timeline
The last several weeks have been especially hard days on the planet and I haven’t had the energy to post anything in a while. But we just experienced a brief thunderstorm that’s made the air clean and fresh, and I’m motivated to poke my head out again.
Tomorrow is the Bolder Boulder 10k and it’s supposed to be only 50 degrees at the starting time for our wave. That’s fine by me as I prefer running in cooler temperatures, as long as my hands are warm. So I just mended a pair of super-lightweight gloves that I’ll wear with my shorts and short-sleeved shirt.
While I had the sewing box out and the needle threaded, I also mended the sleeve on my Bolder Boulder shirt from 2016 (the last time I ran the race). Now I can wear that shirt again without worrying the sleeve would completely unravel . . . and it only took months for me to take action!
The last time I posted, we were expecting rain and/or a heavy snowfall. We ended up getting rain and then about two feet of snow which was welcome moisture, but also anxiety-producing because of the leafed-out trees. Zippy and I went out four times during the storm to knock snow off branches (note: it’s surreal to smell lilac blooms during a snowstorm). I also tossed balls and a broom in the upper part of our red maple where we couldn’t reach with our poles, but my aim was mostly pitiful.
Also, the balls and broom all got stuck. Fortunately, the tree released them back to my custody.
Unfortunately, when prying snow-laden shrub branches with the broom I snapped off the extra handle we’d taped onto it for longer reach. But overall, it was a better outcome than expected in our yard and we only lost two branches. It is heartbreaking, though, to drive around the city and see the many limbs on the ground. Poor trees.
I’ll stop here and wish everyone a good weekend. Be safe and be well. 💚
Life’s hard on a personal and global level these days, and I’m trying hard to find the joy.
- Here are this morning’s writing session partners (Emma in the front row while Marcel sits in solidarity behind the laptop). The three of us made good progress in our middle-grade novel revisions (and we now have over 100 revised pages).
- A much-needed zoom therapy session with Sara, who I now refer to as Saratonin (thanks to another client who bestowed the nickname).
- Twenty minutes in the sunshine after the therapy session, in which I bundled up and stood on the south-face deck as I breathed in cold, clean air, listened to twittering birds, and felt immense gratitude for the natural world.
solitary wee bushtit
flockmates await her
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~ Albert Schweitzer
I’d also extend thanks to autumn’s vibrant foliage for doing the same.
Emma and I ran on the trails this morning. It was my first outdoor exercise in over a week because of the horrific air quality. While the morning’s AQI wasn’t Great, I just couldn’t take another treadmill session. Running outside felt like a reasonable trade-off between lung health and mental health. I brought water for us and we did a mellow 3-miles with me urging her on most of the way. Halfway through the run, she pooped. I scooped it into a rice cake bag, knotted it off, and tied the bag to her collar. It’s tricky enough holding her leash while trail-running (sudden stops and detours really increase the likelihood of wipe-outs) and adding a poop sack was more than I could handle. The good news is Emma didn’t really seem to notice. (I did feel like a bad human-friend once we got back on the streets and ran past people from the neighborhood, Emma’s poop sack swinging for all to see.)
When we returned home, I saw a missed call from Wildebeest. I called back and we ended up conversing for nearly two hours about all sorts of things. While talking, I took my camera outside and continued our conversation on speaker phone as I photographed the zillions of bees on the fern bush.
I eventually told Wildebeest what I was doing, knowing he might freak out or, at the least, get really twitchy and itchy. (When he was a teenager, he got stung by a bee while at outdoor camp and was taken to the nearest hospital where he was jabbed with an epi pen. As bee sting reactions go, his wasn’t uber-serious. Yes, his throat did close a bit but, in his words, he had plenty of time to get to the hospital.) Turned out, my announcement didn’t send him spiraling. However, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have waded into the fern bush with me to get close-up shots.
And I know for a fact he would’ve steered clear of this specimen:
Yikes. A quick online search for “red wasp” tells me this species isn’t even supposed to be in Colorado?? And I saw several of them on the bush??
As I gazed out the window over the kitchen sink today, I saw sunflowers blooming in the backyard. When did that happen? Just the other day, they were tiny green plants and now they’re standing tall.
The sun was shining bright so I waited until there was cloud cover before going out with my camera. Then I couldn’t resist photographing this lone flower next to what could be mistaken for a patch of blue sky.
I’m so happy they’ve returned in all their sunshine-kissed glory.
I took this photo a year ago today. As I recall, it was a balmy day filled with bird songs and busy bees. We were in the early days of the pandemic and communing with backyard nature was balm for my soul.
Today, plenty of birds are singing on this cool and rainy day. However, the shrub in the photo is behind last year’s schedule –buds still folded up tight –and I’ve yet to see a bee in the yard. We’re still experiencing a global pandemic, but the blooms and bees are on their way. And when they arrive, I’ll be out there again, drinking in all their glory.
The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them. ~ Saint Francis de Sales
. . . and I’ll blow your fence down.
Did the Big Bad Wolf pay us a visit last night? No. But we did have wind gusts strong enough to repeatedly slam a tree branch against the side of the house, causing our doggo much anxiety and me much grumpiness. I put a pillow over my head and eventually fell asleep.
I was the last one awake and upright this morning. However, I was the first to notice something was not-right. Zippy and Wildebeest somehow both failed to see the fence was down. When I pointed it out to him, Zippy replied, “Oh, that’s probably why it took Emma so long to come back inside this morning. Guess she was out exploring.”
Fence companies are VERY busy right now. Zippy erected a temporary fence across the thirty-foot gap while we wait. It may be months. Prediction: Emma has several more adventures in her near future.
Today is not an easy writing day. I received positive feedback on my four opening chapters, including suggestions for increasing tension between my two main characters. As always, it’s valuable input from my Writing Roosters critique partners for which I am exceedingly grateful. However, I’m struggling to stay focused as I try to figure out which changes to tackle first. Each foray into the manuscript distracts me with “oh yeah, then I’ll also need to fix this and this and . . .”
For some reason, this gathering of raucous grackles seems an appropriate image for the day.
There’s a pair of Black-capped Chickadees nesting in the trunk of the neighbors’ crabapple tree right outside our front fence, and they are frequent visitors to our feeders and bath. One of them (for some reason, I’m thinking the male) keeps landing on the fence to peck at the top of the slat.
As far as I know, there aren’t any bugs in that wood. I never see the chickadee come up with anything in his beak. It’s possible it’s a territorial thing, making a drilling sound to warn off other males. Or, maybe this bird’s into pointless, repetitive behavior that may or may not give him a headache. What a silly bird, right?
Then I thought of how I return, over and over again, to Twitter where I’m confronted, over and over again, with example after example of humans being ignorant, hateful, selfish, greedy, thoughtless, hypocritical, and more.
Obviously, I’m in no position to judge this chickadee for knocking his head against the fence.
I chose to spend much of the day in bed, reading an adult novel (thriller/suspense) that came highly recommended. It made me grumpy for various writing-related reasons (mainly characterization), but I kept reading because I’d already invested so much time in it (I know, I know) but also because I was curious how it would wrap up.
Right after finishing that unsatisfactory book, I got an email with a Subject line that was one of my account passwords. That was disconcerting to see. The email was a threat to blackmail me with video of me pleasuring myself to a porn video unless I bought BitCoin from this Alex fellow. I wasn’t worried about the video, because, well, there isn’t one. I was, however, worried, because the blackmailer had correctly identified one of my passwords. So I then had to spend a whole bunch of time changing passwords on various accounts. I admit to feeling a bit stabby at that point.
And that’s pretty much it for this Saturday.
I spent the majority of this day offline. In the morning, I exercised and then spent the afternoon reading through the second draft of my middle-grade novel while jotting notes to myself. After that, as some kind of misguided reward for my discipline and productivity, I went online for a peek at reality. Oh, my.
Rage. Rage. Rage.
I quickly logged out of Twitter and went outside to calm myself. That’s when I heard a whole lot of buzzing. I grabbed my camera and patio chair, and parked next to one of our shrubs that’s flowering. As the bees buzzed and flew around my head, I achieved my calm.
I highly recommend this remedy.
We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.
~ Marcus Aurelius
“If you find yourself worrying, go outside, take three breaths, address a tree and quietly say, ‘Thank you.’ If you can’t find a tree, a dandelion will do… Nature is magic.” ~ Robert Bateman