Since we have formed the new habit of getting up at the (ungodly) hour of 4:30 a.m., there has been a real shift in our activity patterns here at The Havens. I find myself out in the garden at dawn, looking at the things that are growing with great abandon.
We finally had our first wonderful tomatoes last night for dinner, just the tomato/basil and mozzarella drizzled with olive oil. Yum.
We have settled into our summer weather pattern, coolish in the mornings growing into sultry afternoons that are often spangled with pop-up thunderstorms. The coolness in the mornings coupled with the early arising has completely changed my dog walking pattern. I used to go after dark, when we would hear the owls and meet all the nocturnal animals just waking up for their evening’s activities.
Lately we have been going in the morning, which Ruby likes a great deal because all the night’s scents are laid out before her inquisitive nose and are still fresh in the damp dewy earth, not yet baked away in the hot sun.
We see different things too. The mushrooms are popping up everywhere, encouraged by the rains we had last week.
The dawn light in the hot humid summer is no cleaner than the evening light. There is always a haze of “near-mist” laden with the pollen that has shaken off the forest leaves during the night breezes.
I try to capture the way the iron weed has taken over the coloration of the meadow for now. Earlier in the spring it was the hairy beardtongue that dominated the scene, making huge swathes of white. Now purple is the dominant color, soon to be supplanted by the vivid yellows and golds of the goldenrod. But for now, drifts of purple accentuate the forest edges.
Somehow I have not found the right light to really depict the effect very well. While I was trying to get a good shot of this I was mightily distracted by a family of blue jays — two youngsters and a parent. They were momentarily occupying the dead snag of an oak at the edge of the field. The kids were making their soft, plaintive, begging sounds, and the parent was screeching adamantly, exhorting them to come see how to hunt for themselves. They flew off into the deeper trees soon after I located them. No pictures. As I walked on I could hear the discussion going on just inside the margin of the woods I was passing by.
That no pictures thing happens a lot. The other day a young hummingbird discovered the delight of the purple hyacinth bean flowers. It hovered and sipped nectar until finally it decided it would be so much easier if it just sat on the bract of flowers. Jim and I watched it from the kitchen window as it lazily tilted towards the flowers next to it and drank the nectar from its perch. I knew that my camera would focus itself on the glass of the window pane, and I also knew that it would fly away as soon as I went to the back door to try to get outside where I could photograph. It did. “Some pictures just have to stay in your mind,” Jim consoled me.
This morning I was delighted by a spider web that was strung across the path. The sun was at just the right angle, and the strands of the net she slung last night were spangled with sun beads.
I was grateful my little point and shoot camera chose to focus on the web strands and not the foliage behind them. This was a hard shot to get because the web was swaying and billowing in the early morning breeze.
I’d stop and chat longer, but I need to water the squash in the whiskey barrels before it gets too hot and throws itself down in extremis, begging, “Water, for the love of God!” At the same time I will fill the bird bath, which is extremely popular with the robins lately. In the evenings sometimes there are four or five of them at once, splashing and hopping about in a joyous communal bath ritual. The grackles and black birds are rather horrified by their goings on.
It would also be a good idea to pick the cucumbers.
So I leave you to another beautiful day.