Monday, August 09, 2010

Gray Skies are Underrated


My favorite season.




Carolina Blue skies every day for weeks and weeks.

Sunny days are healthy. I love them and thrive on sunshine and warmth and dream about summer days from New Year’s Day until the first pale green sprouts late February. Then, there's a waiting period until the end of March when trees show their life and flowers appear.

By June, I’m intoxicated with every little thing summer offers. Ahhhh... Evenings spent looking at the sky and waiting for the first lightning bug, observing hummingbirds, listening to croaks in the pond, and sighing. Ravishing the relief of no coat, no jacket, smacking a few skeeters off my ankles before heading inside and searching for the darn missing bug repellent.


August arrives and I realize you can definitely have too much of a good thing and sunny skies become overrated.

The summer of 2010 has been a bitch of a summer – unrelenting in 90-100 degrees every damned day since June 1st. If I’ve exaggerated, I don’t give a rat’s ass. I know the humidity has been unusually high. Disgusting and consecutive bad hair days prove the conditions around these parts are not good. I’ve resorted to tiny ponytails and bobby pins. Too much hair spray! Ack! Ick. Heck. Friends in New England and Oregon have 50-60f mornings, opposed to our 85f at 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Most evenings, I leave the fitness center looking like a rain-soaked cat in clothing that needs a good wringing.


I need another night like this one. It happened two weeks ago and I still smile when I remember it.

I hadn’t seen nor heard the forecast and had just returned from the fitness center, steaming. Oh my, the timing was perfect on this evening.





Darkness and gray washed over quickly

and stagnant heat was blown away by a force of coolness



Savor, drink it in, and smell the rain.

Watch the sizzling streets' steam rise.


Rejuvination afterwards.

I felt it.

I saw it.


Gray skies are a blessing sometimes.

We need them to appreciate the bright ones.


On that same night


Sticky came back. Hello ;-)


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Girls and Squirrels


It’s been on my mind to get cracking here. It’s already 8:30 p.m. and I’m not finished writing this piece I decided to serve two hours ago. I should quit now and finish tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or next week and take some time to work on the writing skills I've lost.

Impossible. I’ll do it now. The stories I’d like to tell are becoming dated and the photos I adore from late spring and mid-summer need to be shared before the first frost. The pressure is on and I want to regain some focus.

When I arrive home from work on Tuesdays I stay at home. Although the fitness center tempts me to come out and play, I know I need a night to cook, work around the yard, and do some laundry. Wandering and doing nothing is nice, too. Tonight, I’m thinking about what’s been going on with The Licker Sisters.


There was a young squirrel, you see, and Bella found it. There’s something wrong here. Those ears should belong to the old squirrel master, the other Licker Sister - Chloe. Bella hasn’t learned to view squirrels as intruders but she’s on alert in this photo. I blame her ignorance from spending her learning years in Delaware on a treeless acre. And, she's naturally and very sweetly, ignorant.

During Chloe’s learning years in Maryland, the girl sat under our sixty-foot tall Weeping Willow for hours, daring the “quirrels” to come down and play with her. I dangled leftover pork chops before her to lure her inside. She never nabbed a squirrel but that’s alright. That failure doesn’t diminish her skills in catching a European Starling in flight, mutilating and eating it, romping with and chewing the back of an Eastern Box Turtle, capturing a young wild rabbit not once, but several times. To that list add several moles. I was able to save the Eastern Box turtle – a story that will be told on another day. Her tendencies to hunt and stalk prey didn't please me much.

Next door neighbors Greg and Celeste at their kitchen window. "Greg, c'mere and look at Chloe running full speed with the remote control in her mouth! Mary won't catch her but she's trying...(hooting and knee-slapping)" Heh.

I wanted to find the Quirrel Girl and hope she’d enjoy Bella’s find!


Awww, Chloe. I have a surprise for you. (Knot in throat, wishing she could remember her years of fun. Remember with me, Chloe.)

Shhhhh… Be very quiet. There’s a quirrel out there!


I think I smell my woman. Yes, mother is here. I wonder if she has cheese or something I like in her pocket.


She doesn’t hear me when I hold her head in my hands and tell her nice things. When our noses rub, she knows what I mean.

Chloe, let’s go! Come on, Quirrel Girl.

Behind her ears, I lay my face on her neck and make announcements.


I see you now. Did you say...quirrel?

Chloe is in her fifteenth year. I celebrate and grieve every day. She’s not well. No, she isn’t and at the same time, she’s good. Her body is very lean, so when I smile at the bounce in her step, all is well. When she tiptoes to the dinner table to beg for a taste, all is well. A visit to the emergency vet in June was scary, but we'll get through - with her.


She found the party.


Did she see the squirrel? Nah... She felt it and wiggled. I'll take that!


I slid my hand under the window with a little offering. I couldn’t help myself.