I Wonder as I Wander...A Rambling Post

My brain won't settle enough to let me get inspired just yet, but I've all sorts of random things wandering about in my head of late and so I decided it was time to share them and get them out of the way.

The little bird on my back porch that is nesting is perhaps a sedge wren...Or at least as near as I can tell from the bird identification book and online photos.  The female sits on the eggs alone. Certainly the rounded nest, with the side entrance, tucked under the bow of the aloe leaf  is as described in the bird book.  And having taken my flashlight and peered in Sunday morning, I saw the fine lining inside of feathers and dog hair and such that is woven in to the interior of the nest.  The bird sometimes hesitates just a moment when any of us comes up on the porch or out of the door and then quickly flies off through the porch banister and into the brush alongside the driveway.  She's quite shy really, but oh what a lovely song is sung.  Like mocking birds they tend to mimic other bird songs.

Maddie has a thing about winged creatures.  She thinks God meant her to chase down and destroy bees and wasps and butterflies and yes, birds.  To that end it took her just a little while to notice the bird in the nest.  As I saw John off to work Wednesday of this past week, she nudged the aloe pot several times.  The mother bird was hiding already but Maddie jostled that pot until I was afraid she was going to knock it off the crate where it sits.  I blockaded about it with some chairs we have on the porch.  That seemed to keep her away, but I noted she was trying to slip behind the rocking chair and nudge the pot from there.  She couldn't quite reach it so was frustrated in those efforts.

Sunday morning when I was seeing John off to work, I saw that she's now placed her rug in front of the chair nearest the nest.  I am not worried about her getting at the bird but curious as to why she feels she must be right there.  It doesn't seem to keep the mama bird off the nest.

For our part, we're trying to limit our coming and going so the bird will sit on the eggs and hatch them.

Animal habits always have intrigued me.  Long ago when there were three doggies on the place, all sisters and all very loving towards one another, they often wandered over the fields and ponds and roads here.  When the other two had gone, Daisy to some unknown place and Woofie to the highway where she was hit by a car, Trudy often sat atop the rise in front of the house and gazed off in the distance contemplating who knows what for hours on end each morning and evening.  I always thought she looked sad and lonely during those contemplative moments.

The other evening, I glanced out the kitchen window and there in the almost dark I spotted Misu the cat sitting in Trudy's old spot, silhouetted against the twilight,  contemplating who knows what...All around her were sparkling fireflies.  I'm convinced she sat there to watch them as they flew about lighting up and dimming and reappearing in another spot in a moment or two.  I'm not an artist by any stretch of the imagination but I may just have to try and capture that scene in a picture for the grand children in North Dakota.

There's a puddle down in the bottom at the edge of the drive that stays wet pretty much all year round.  It increases and decreases in size depending upon the weather.  This summer it's stayed fairly wet.  It's not uncommon as we leave home to come upon it and find birds bathing happily in that puddle of water.  In winter they will perch on the edge of the icy rim and drink.  In summer they splash and fluff their feathers and drink and warble.

I've seen butterflies and bees and wasps drinking from that water as well.  I often find deer tracks there.  Just now the puddle is drying up but as I came home Sunday afternoon there were two birds in the edge of the puddle drinking...and nearby a large brown rabbit at the opposite end with his nose down in the water, too.  I was very surprised because I've never known the rabbits here to drink from puddles, mostly they seem content with the dewy morning grasses.  It is always refreshing to catch an unexpected glimpse of natural life about me.

Just as a matter of interest:  Did you know that 'Beagle' is from the French and it means 'loudmouth'?  I find that incredibly funny in light of Bess's beagle Blossom and her continual barking the night she spent here in the country.  By the way, she now has a fenceless yard with one of those electronic doggie fences in her new home in Florida.  Bess says she goes outside and sits next to the patio and doesn't move.  It's as though she's right back at the apartment where the patio was her only outdoor space.  Poor Blossom.  She's really not confined as much as she thinks but in her head she's got to stick close to that patio.  Maybe they should bring her back to visit the country now and then so she can dream of the thrill of running free when she's back home?

How often I resemble that poor little Blossom...I sit within the confines of a mindset or thought process that is outdated and worn and long for freedome...and it's right there for the taking if I'd only just alter the way I look at things, be a little more adventuresome, stop worring...sigh.  Well sometimes we get shaken hard and sort of tossed out of our confined spaces.  And if we'll just hush up and stop whining about it, we discover a whole wonderful world opening to us, the way the country unfolded before Blossom one summer evening.  The trick is not to hurry back into our box any time soon.


My friend Susan just visited Biltmore House and Gardens.  As we were walking through a home goods store and looking at ridiculously huge clocks (4 x 4) she related to me that at Biltmore, all clocks in the house were synced so they all read the exact same time.  She said it was quite an elaborate undertaking because of the number of rooms and clocks in the place.  The dairy clock was the one they used to set all the others by and they were all checked daily to insure that every one of them kept perfect time.

I was rather admiring of that fact.   I like clocks and we have one or three in nearly every room in the house.  I find it very soothing and pleasant to sit here, without TV running, and hear the tick tock of the various clocks.  Of course, there are also non-tick tock clocks.  There's the clock radio in our bedroom which we've managed to set only once.  There's the old fashioned looking but battery operated alarm clock in the guest room.  There is a clock on the microwave and one on the coffee maker and one on the baking center wall.  There are clocks on our computers and phones and there's a genuine old fashioned wind up every night Big Ben alarm clock on my bedside table.  There's a clock in our bath (handy for mornings when we have appointments and need to be mindful of time) and a clock in John's music room. And of course there's a clock in the living room...

Not so many clocks as at Biltmore but let me tell you, the task of keeping these clocks all synced to the same time is impossible.  The microwave clock will insist on running 10-15 minutes behind.  I can reset it twice a day and it will run slow every time.  I've never known such a stubborn digital clock!

The clock radio we try to just leave alone.  It only cost $10 but it's the most frustrating piece of equipment I've ever owned.  The alarm clock next to my side of bed insists on running fast.  At end of day I usually have to set it back by 20 minutes or so.  The clock in the baking center is always 5 minutes behind and the one in the bathroom is generally five minutes ahead.  The living room clock keeps good time overall unless the battery is dying then it slows down.

Our phones and computers are all synced but honestly, I seldom use the computer clock.  My eyes just naturally turn to the clock on the bookcase to see what time it is and seldom wander to the corner of the computer screen.

I have gone from room to room with my phone in hand to set clocks but somehow by end of the day every one of them is right back to keeping their own time at their own pace.  I've learned to just live with it.

Speaking of time, have you read The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom?  It's a rather interesting take on time and unusual.  Not what you might expect...
I've always been interested in how time is flexible...bending and slowing or speeding up when you least expect it.  I used to drive 50 miles one way to go to work and in the afternoons I would 'zone out' on my way home, lost in my thoughts.  That long drive just took no time at all when I was so occupied in my head.  Sometimes I'd 'come to' with a start, shocked at how much distance I'd covered in what seemed a warped time frame.

That stretchy bendy thing with time just blows my mind.

I remember the day my younger brother's wife came to tell me my middle brother had committed suicide.  The walk to Granny's house was just across the field, a five minute thing at best, but it took forever to cross the field that day and forever to walk up the steps to her house to tell her that Chuck had died by his own hand.  And later when Mama came in from work, watching her car come up the roadway, the distance of just one city lot, it was almost as though she had miles to drive though it was so short a distance.

I remember the morning I collapsed here in my kitchen, just a month ago.  John says I was out for just a few seconds, perhaps a minute at most.  But I recall quite plainly being in a dark dream, a comforting place filled with singing and time stretched and bent there so that it felt as though coming out of that place was the longest distance I've travelled in a while.

I remember summers that lasted for endless months and how the days until Christmas were endlessly long.

I've been lost in books and writing and have always been surprised to look up and find hours and hours have passed, with no sense at all of time passing.

I've looked out my window at the old graveyard, especially at sunset, and realized that somewhere down the link of time, some two hundred years ago, someone else stood here and looked at the sunset in that spot, with the dark gravestones silhouetted there against the evening sky and  I've felt time collapse in upon itself, as though we both stood looking, me from my century and he from his.

I remember the day I was hit by a drunk driver.  I didn't see my life flash before my eyes.  I did see time slow to an unbelievably detailed slow motion moment.  The car turning in front of mine with no more than 3 feet between us, the way the sounds slowed down and warped, of metal hitting metal and car frame rippling beneath me.  How my face hit the steering wheel, stunning me with pain and then my head slowly, oh so slowly bounced away and the back of my head hit the back of the seat.  I recall watching my hand slide under the dashboard as the engine came forward into the car just as I geared down.  I recall the car rear lifting in the air and then coming slowly, so very slowly, down onto the pavement.  It was all so detailed, so slowed down, so surreal, even to the moment a co-worker who'd been headed to work too,  pulled open the car door and told me 'Don't move, don't move."  It's such a crazy warp of time I can't explain how it could all possibly have lasted so very long and yet it was just a moment or three.

And there's this relationship with John which has a funny way of seeming like forever, in the very best of ways, and yet we always are jolted back to the fact that it's only been twenty-three years together, that we'd lived a whole third of our lives without knowing one another at all...

Time...who can explain it?
Ha. On the subject of time still, do you ever find yourself determined to write a date either in the future or one that's long past despite knowing what year it is?  I mean, for instance, that all this summer I've been determined to write 2016 on nearly every thing I've dated.  I have to stop myself just as I begin to write it and say, "Now Terri...it's only 2015...you know this."  And I promise you that just moments later I'm right there stalling my pen in it's path and reminding myself all over again that it's 2015.

This year, when the year changed I had no trouble whatsoever getting the date right, where in years past it might take a month or two to stop writing whatever the previous year's date had been.  So it was strange enough that I leaped right into this year, of 2015, and began to write it into spaces just fine...but what's up with 2016?  Why am I so eager to find myself in that time frame?  I always wonder if once I do arrive at that date I'll find it's significant in some way.  Often it's not but there's always that curiosity anyway.

And one more time related thing.  I haven't worn a watch in years upon years.  Can't keep them running on me.  My cousin had 'too much electricity' in her body, or so she assured me she'd been told, because no watch ever kept time on her.  I didn't have any such trouble.  I wore a watch for the longest time, daily, as a matter of fact for probably thirty odd years.  The day that we had my middle brother's funeral my watch stopped running during the funeral.  I've never been able to keep a watch running since. It doesn't stop instantly.  No, it just sort of slowly fades out of running.  The batteries run down quicker than usual, the works jam up, the hands fall off... Always some silly something, but you can bet the watch quits.   I don't think there's anything significant about that, but it is curious.

And before I end with this subject, I've mentioned before my funny photographic memory that remembers page numbers of books I'm reading. And prices at grocery stores.  Well I have this same sort of memory for time (for all that it does bend on me now and then).  Ask me what time it is and I can generally tell you, without looking at a clock, and be within ten minutes of the correct time.  I seem to have a right sense of how much time has passed since the last time I was aware of looking at a clock, even if it was hours before.  And yet, should we meet, I'll ask you your name at least three times and again the next time we meet.  Weird, right?
I am an observer.  I like to watch people.  I watch their body language, their expressions, how they interact with others.  I listen to what they say and I watch what they don't say with expression and body language.  I can generally tell you a good deal more about what's going on with someone than most people can.  Not bragging, because believe you me, this can sometimes be a curse.  Like when you know that someone is very frightened of another person and discover later that they have every right to be.  Or you know someone is lying and you find out later that indeed they have.   Or you realize, simply by watching, that someone has a secret and it turns out to be a very unhappy and unpleasant secret.  Yes, it can be a curse to be an observer of people and be fairly accurate in your observances.

That said, I don't know if I'd ever make a great eye witness for any event.  Because nine times out of ten, I can tell you all about the conversation the people ten feet behind me were having and how their personality struck me or even what the expression of someones face was, but seldom be able to tell you details like what they were wearing or how their hair was cut, or anything over much about their features.  Somehow, as I'm watching people those things fade out and what I grasp seems to be all personality and nothing physical.  So yeah, if you need me to be an eye witness to anything you'd best just carry along a camera, too.
Katie gave me for Christmas a lovely set of china tea cups and saucers.  They are banded in a deep rim of cobalt blue and white with a tiny green and yellow bird painted on the white back ground.  They hold exactly 1/2 cup (as in about 4 ounces) of coffee and just enough milk to make it just right.  Perfectly useless if you're dying for a caffeine jolt and haven't the patience to refill them four times to get up to your usual level, but I'll sacrifice much for beauty and these are rare beauties. And quite impossible to drink hot coffee from unless you hurry up and gulp it right down because it cools off mighty quick when it's only just that deep in a cup.  Never the less, I love them.   I feel rather girly and frilly and very very English overall when I drink my coffee from these cups.

Until I slop coffee over into the saucer.  And then I am horrified at myself and realize I'd never be truly English because any one worth their salt would never slop their coffee into their saucer!  Or tea.  Or whatever they chose to drink from those beautiful cups.  I've found myself carefully mopping it up and starting fresh but with little luck because in moments I've slopped the saucer all over again.  Sigh.  Well aristocracy I obviously ain't.  I'd not even make a good servant for them, I don't guess.  But I'll just take my beautiful cups and enjoy my messy cups of coffee from them all the same, thank you very much.  I shall never, however, sip the slopped mess from the saucer... I do draw the line rather finely at times.
V tells me repeatedly (and anyone else who will willingly listen) that when the Summer Solstice hits we are not actually starting summer.  We're deep into summer already per some calendar or other from ancient times.  Ditto for Fall, Winter and Spring.

Personally I have no trouble accepting her insistence that we've got the seasons all wrong.  I LIKE to think that Fall is already half way here when the rest of the world is insisting it is summer.  I LIKE to look out at the persimmon and see the red leaves on the trees and know that they are timely even it is early July.  It feels right to me, this theory that the Gregorian calendar has seasons all wrong.  My disappointment however is that Fall in the South is hot.  And so is the start of Winter.  And it's cold farther into Summer than I care for cold.

I realize that were I to live elsewhere, this would all be subject to change.  Amie assured me that Fall really starts in August in North Dakota and snow usually follows soon after.  That said, I can't help but recall that just this year, she had snow at the end of May.  Yes, at the end.   When I was in the hospital I saw photos of her backyard covered in snow, just days before June rolled about.

So yes, I accept V's theory just fine.  As long as I'm in the South.  But if I lived in North Dakota where Amie does I think I'd just throw out all the calendars from whatever era and be done with it.  I'd just make up my mind that nobody knows anything about what the season is until it's time to mow grass or snow falls.  And no matter what month the calendar says it is, I'd say, "Oh look it's snowing.  Winter isn't over yet" even if it was end of May.  And so Spring must come in June, and when it frosts over in August then Autumn must be here...

Fortunately in the South we have warm Springs, and hot Summers and hotter months to follow.  We don't even begin to feel coolness until November.  That's just seasonal weather for us.
Weather is unpredictable at best.  Take our Fourth of July.  Never got much above 80F all day long.  Was downright cool at 9pm.  It reminded me of a long ago fourth of July when I took Amie and Sam to see fireworks at Andersonville.  We took a quilt to sit on...We three ended wrapped up in the thing, shivering and trying to stay warm.  In July!  In Georgia!

I recall another July morning waking up and shivering hard under my cotton sheet.  The temperature had plummeted that night and gone down into the 40's.  Totally strange and unheard of.

Well our rare cool spell this year was result of a northwest storm pattern which is highly unusual this time of year.  Typically we get weather from the northwest in the winter months.  In warmer months we get warm jet streams of muggy air from the Gulf Coast, either east or west of Florida.  Occasionally even those breezes feel cool-ish if there are hurricanes stirring things up but mostly it's warm air moving up from Florida.

We didn't get any real weather off that storm pattern this weekend.  A few drops of rain, a few deep rumbles of thunder, some rough bits of wind but nothing much overall.  Nothing like the rain deluges from hurricanes or the green skies of tornadic weather.

The worst storms we've ever had came roaring out of the northeast.  Those are the storms that flip over swings and take trash cans for long rambles over the county and rip clothes off the line and blow them hither and yon.  There's something just downright mean in a Northeaster.  It comes at you fast and furious and moves on shortly but oh the mess it leaves behind.

There now...I've rambled on and run out.


Lana said...

I wonder if Maddie is guarding the nest. I too have been astounded at the workmanship of bird's nests.

That is interesting about the clocks at the Biltmore. I have similar problems with clocks in close proximity to me running fast. We have a 200 year old family heirloom Seth Thomas clock that has all wooden works. It is a royal pain to keep it anywhere near the right time because it is so affected by the weather. About 6 weeks ago it just stopped and will not go. It is as thought the heart beat of our home has died. We have a man in town who woks on old clocks but we have to work out the logistics of getting it there since it is too big for me to get out to the van by myself and what if I dropped it??? Horrors!

I love the puddle at the end of your drive and the wild things that come there. I know what you mean about the slow motion reality of a car accident. It is so weird. I remember odd things from waking up from surgery as a child which back when they used ether and so different from today's anesthesia.

A rambling thought from me. Over the weekend we went to visit our youngest son and wife about 3 hours from here. I always sit with my legs twisted in odd ways on car trips no matter how I try to stop doing it. I got up this Am with horribly achy legs abut had to go to Aldi because we were out of so many things. Grumble to the store and get my groceries and come out. I see a wisp of an elderly lady trying to get out of her car. Her legs are wrapped in Ace bandages from ankle to knee. I put my bags in my van and took the cart over to her and asked if it would help to have it to walk with. She says yes, I refuse her quarter. I get in my van and drive away chastised because how can she shop and bag and take them into her home? Last week in the same store I saw a woman without any arms due to a birth defect. How can I gripe about work I have to do when I am perfectly capable of it. How much would she love to be able to do all the mundane chores I do everyday? God has certainly had something to say to me lately.

Kathy said...

Love your wanderings...of course I thought of my favorite book/movie "Not all those who wander are lost".

Hope the birdies hatch ok!
I can picture in my mind, your kitty sitting on the hill with the fireflies. You have a beautiful way with words.

Your idea of time makes me think of Doctor Who..."People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly... timey-wimey... stuff."

So sorry about your brother...I can only imagine the heartache of your family.

Have you heard the song "Drinking from my saucer"? I love the song, but I have never actually drank from my saucer. Your new cups sound lovely.

Hope you are feeling better and stronger each day.

Louise said...

My grandpa used to "saucer" his tea all the time.. I tried it as a kid and made such a mess that I never tried it again and now I don't have a cup and saucer..

Crystal in Nevada said...

When I worked at the hospital years ago I gave up wearing a watch. There were always clocks around and anywhere else I went it made me talk to people I didn't know to ask them the time. I used to tell people I was "timeless". As a kid my mom always got me nurses watches because they were supposed to be unbreakable. I was klutzy and always fell on my watches ad broke the faces - yes, even the unbreakable ones.

P.S. Love to read about your life. Like coming to visit a good friend.

Rose Cole said...

Thank you so much for sharing your musings with us! I also wondered if your dog could be guarding the nest. Hmmmm.... I hope the birds hatch OK. We have a wren who has built a nest in a Japanese Cyprus next to our garage. Every time I get near the shrub the mama bird starts this load, aggressive chirping then she hops off the nest and flies to the ground in front of a nearby maple and continues to chirp at me. She is so fierce and protective.
I too have problems with watches and other electronic gadgets. I have a drawer full of watches I cant wear and my TV and stereo will turn on/off sometimes when I walk by it. I also short out light bulbs and wall sockets. And, weird as it sounds, I keep writing year the 2016 as well.

Lana said...

I hope that all is well with you as you seem to have missed your regular posting days this week. Praying for you.

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