One of the things i love most about coming to this small island is how naturally i slow down. Even when driving. On the mainland i can get very frustrated behind a slow driver. All of that changes when i get behind the wheel in Madaket.
It used to be that my bike and feet were my only modes of transportation here. i confess that i now take full advantage of the truck that is left for my use but here's the curious thing all sense of speed when driving is immediately and completely altered. When driving here i often have the sensation that i am zipping down the road but each and every time i glance nervously at the speedometer i am surprised almost shocked to discover i'm going only 30-35mph often just 25 and that the truck behind me is not on my tail trying to push me to go faster. When i go exploring off-road it's even slower. Slow enough to notice tiny bluets in flower and small song birds.
Early on my second morning here i got in the truck to head out into the moors and when i turned off the asphalt and onto a dirt road i took my foot off the accelerator knowing that i was coming to a one lane bridge just around the outcropping of scrub oak blocking it from view. And, i wanted to approach as quietly as possible because the creek under the bridge is a great spot for observing interesting water birds. both great and snowy egrets like to fish in these waters. Apparently, so do others...
Dear reader, i am not exaggerting when i tell you that when rounding the scrub oak i was only about 5 yards from the bridge and the massive bird perched on its wooden railing.
He or she took flight a few seconds after i appeared but not before i looked into his or her eyes. And when those wide, wide wings stroked the air i lost my breath.
There was no time to grab my camera and so i did what most of us do now i searched on line and found the marvelous work of Mia McPherson whose image of a juvenile bald eagle was almost identical to the magnificent bird i met (and, undoubtedly, finer than what i could have produced)
Apparently eagles are nesting in Rhode Island and visit the island from time to time.
i've seen them soaring in the skies above my home in NJ and marveled at the size of their nests away up high in the tallest oak trees but this... this chance meeting has altered me to the bone.
The sun is a beast today. Thin clouds are doing their best to protect us.
in my next life i wish to be a bird or a cat so that when the incompatible weather (heat) arrives i could fly away
Oh! let me be a chimney swift and live my life on the wing away, away up so high
or like the purring fur ball that lives here let me sleep all day wake just long enough to stretch, eat a morsel, drink stretch, then sleep until it's gone.
If i must be human then let me when the suffocating heat arrives flee to a perfect little house on an island beach at the lip of a shallow harbor
where the thermometer rarely touches 80 degrees F
Come June, i dash in and quickly splash out of the little sea at my door step
and in July it is delicously chilly at first but only bracing and in August my dear friends come visit and we share breakfast then body surf in blue green waves and in September i spend every evening watching the sun drop past the horizon
and in October i come back to this home and the turning of the leaves.
ah, well. Finally, i can take a deep breath. Because, while i've been composing this a stiff breeze has kicked up and clouds are thickening and is that thunder i hear in the distance?!
Today, with heat smothering my face singeing my nerves i did remember some important things:
i used to live where it was truly hot and many friends and family still do
i once dreamed of living here
and now, here i am. i can look out any of my windows at the 1001 shades of green and the blue sky and cotton white clouds at the iris & peonies
allium & grasses and a the buds on a deutzia and the first roses
i will close my eyes and savor the sweet evening breeze on my sweaty face and thank my guardian stars that i could flee that desert before i turned to dust and live and breathe, here in this big house with big windows full of trees and sky and in this garden.
Over the past couple of hours the temperature crawled toward then just above freezing. In the sunshine the water in the birdbath has melted a flock of chickadees stops by and they take turns sipping and bathing.
i didn't wish to chance disturbing them water is a precious find for birds in winter so no photo. Sharing an old sketch instead
Sorry about the long pauses between posting i've been creating another blog a special one just for some very special young people and myself. They are nieces who are now free from school days and a blog was a pretty good way i felt for us to connect and get to know each other a bit better. It's loads of fun getting their comments and posting their drawings, etc. i recommend it for anyone wanting to connect to family or friends very far away.
Anyway...that's where i've been and oh yes taking a weekend to drive up to Mt. Washington...more about that soon. For now i'll share some of the photos i posted for the nieces. i'm no great wildlife photographer but i could not resist taking snaps of the baby wrens getting ready to fledge. Here are three:
Mom or dad (it's impossible for me to discern) delivering a tasty morsel:
they say that the biggest storm of the season is on its way... hmmpfff!! we'll see. no'reasters are notorious for their unpredictability.
if however the level of activity at our bird feeders is an accurate prediction then yes! gather ye stores while ye may! but i think all it means is that we have put fresh seed out and fresh cakes of suet and it's cold and there are no predators about.
this little fellow a Carolina wren was staring intently at the woodpecker on the suet cage trying to decide i suppose when to jump on over.
in certain light the warm colors of his body glow. he pondered long enough for me to grab a pencil and sketchbook but i had to wrestle the colors on my own.
because scans of my color drawings or sketches are so washed out or distorted i've taken to coloring in with a mouse-pen in photoshop inspired by Elaine's (monkeypaints) birds of yore. (she is not currently blogging but promises to return one day and i am eager for that day to come)
in the meantime i enjoy experimenting with the new skills Elaine encouraged me to explore.
And a heap 'o thanks (i guess a touch of St. Pat's Day jocularity has infected me) to all of you who left such skind comments of encouragement on the last post, re my project. i'm gathering the photos, cropping, drawing, designing and writing...i hope to have something to show in May...which may be overly ambitious but the stretching and eagerness feels good. Very good.
P. S. to Marly: the title, "Her Front Door" came into my head, along with a yet-secret-story that spontaneously imprinted itself onto my imagination as i stood on the side of a road one August morning, in East Sussex, England and viewed the door through my camera's viewfinder. My front door...or i should say, the door we use most often, will most likely appear in the project that now fevers my brain. i loved the "seedy" front garden, cottage and door, too.