Stepping onto my front porch yesterday, I looked at the sky and saw a heart. If you look closely and enlarge the photo, you’ll see a jet flying in or out of Charlotte Douglas Airport above it. As a child, I remember spending time with my little boy and girl friends laying on our backs in the grass, gazing up to the clouds in the sky, looking for dogs, leaves, or faces. It was a game we loved to play. Also, we enjoyed looking for four-leaf clovers and the first to find one was the winner. There was no prize involved. Being “the first” was a prize in itself. We’d try to outsmart flies and cup them with our hands before they’d get away. (Yuck) Lightning bugs were held captive in empty pickle jars. (Stinky) The weeping willow stems served as clothing for our Tarzan dramas and we made mud pies for dinner. Playing hopscotch in the alley, dodge ball, jacks, yo-yo, marbles, pick-up sticks, and “Go Fish” are the things we did because we wouldn’t dream of staying indoors unless we were punished - oh, the agony. On rainy days, we read books all day. Taking walks to the country store for a loaf of bread for our Moms provided revenue in the form of soda bottles we found along the way, enough to buy a coddie or a handful of bubble gum. Often, we fought and argued over those soda bottles. Some of my friends didn’t have a bike so we shared our bikes and took turns riding. We even made our own skateboards out of one “key” skate and a Golden storybook. We sat on the storybook and flew down the sidewalk! Some boys made a real skateboard with a 30-inch two-by-four piece of lumber and nailed ½ of a metal roller skate to each end. I'm dating myself, here, but I don't care.
We had real imaginations in those days and a desire to explore and create our own fun. We were never bored. We lived in a more carefree society then, and our parents didn't always lock the doors at night. I’m glad we didn’t have electronic games and computers to entertain us all day while eating candy and snacks over the keyboard. There were no cell phones, IM'ing or text messaging. We ran down the street to see our friends and knocked on their doors, instead. New toys came at Christmas and birthdays, only. I often wonder what my childhood neighborhood friends are doing now. Do you? Do you remember some of the games I played?
For the first time in my life, I saw a Red-Bellied Woodpecker today. Could be a female but looking at the photo, I'm not sure. This bird was working away on a tree near the tennis courts in my community. I drove into the area looking for a hidden pond I could see from the main road but instantly heard some racket from this woody in an ancient tree. Noisy and beautiful! I look forward to seeing one at my house when I have some new feeders...
This morning I found European Starlings on campus. These birds seem to be agitated and loud but it was a pleasure to see them, way up there.
Three things I've noticed about myself since I carry a camera with me most of the time:
I can drive and scan treetops at the same time (a little scary).
I can walk briskly while looking upwards without tripping (very scary).
I can hear better, i.e. my radar is finely tuned.
What I thought was a Song Sparrow during my short walk this afternoon turns out to be an Ipswich Sparrow, I think. I say this because the bird resembles a Song Sparrow but has yellow eyebrows and is paler than a Savannah Sparrow. Interesting.
Not a bad day.