Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Hint of Blue

The weather is still overcast with brooding skies that suggest we've not seen the end of the welcome rain.
I was outside in my sturdy wellies and a warm 'hoodie' at 7 this morning--and considerably startled to see a young Black Angus bull [or maybe a steer?] plodding along the edge of the lower garden, which is open to the rest of our side pasture strip.
I blinked, stood staring, and decided the creature really was on our side of the boundary fence.
I considered the situation briefly, decided that if the bovine turned menacing the stretch of soggy ground between us would be in my favor.
I made shooing motions and sounds, the Angus pondered visibly, then began to amble up the fence line toward the woods, with me urging him along at a respectful distance.
The fence had sagged and he stepped over it, a back hoof twanging the wire. I watched him head for the rest of the neighboring herd, then continued on my way to the barn.
Pebbles the Horse hadn't missed this little byplay and was standing at the edge of her enclosure whickering indignantly.
I gave her the daily ration of grain she demands, kicked a pile of fragrant hay into place for her later snacks, poured out kibble for the barn cats.
Back outside I turned in a slow 360 degrees, eyeing the lowering sky from every angle.
It would take a more optimistic view than mine to declare that the bulging layers of cloud displayed more than the barest hint of slatey blue.

Bypasing the shortcut along the upper garden fence, I clumped along the old track past the clothesline.
Trumpet vine clambers over the woodpile and grasps its way up a crabapple tree near the path; just beyond, a bluebird house hangs, weathered and crinkle-roofed in a redbud tree, undisturbed since Haskell Rogers placed it there years ago.
The lapis blue of the little feather lying in the damp grass fairly shouted in the muted grey and  wet green of the morning.
A gold leaf glowed through the transparent barbs.

I pulled my camera from a deep pocket, snapped photos from several angles before gently lifting the feather for a closer look.
I placed it carefully back in the grass, then decided to claim it as a treasure, bringing it inside.
It is the habit of a lilfetime, this clutching and hoarding of found items.
My Grampa Mac fostered this bent when in childhood I returned from any foray into field or woods, my pockets stuffed with pebbles, clumps of moss, acorn caps, or with a fallen bird's nest cupped in my hand.
He set up a makeshift table on his front porch and invited  me to display my treasures there.
In each place I have lived, a jumble of small rocks crowd an old bowl, bird nests gather dust on a shelf; dried flowers sift from the pages of books.

I was well pleased with my glimpse of  blue on a dark wet day, but there was another gift in store.
Near the garden gate a butterfly flexed sapphire-dusted wings in the wet grass.
Sally the Barn Cat made a dash for it seconds after I snapped the picture.
I thought I had encountered a Black Swallowtail until I loaded the photo and realized some
research was needed.
This is a "red-spotted-purple" butterfly, formally labeled Limenitis Arthemis.
One of its preferred hosts is malus--so the gnarled appletrees of our back dooryard extend a welcome.
What's in a name?
I still count this as a sighting of 'something blue!'


  1. I remember bing just the same when a young girl, my bedroom had catkins and other bits and bobs collected from walks.
    I have always loved nature and never stop admiring it.
    This morning on the radio there was a man who has made a device to listen in to trees, you can hear the water being drawn up inside the tree combined with the groan of it moving slightly. The wonderful thing was that each different type of tree made a different noise. Now I know why I love trees so much.
    If you put tree listening device into google you should find something.


  2. You, me and Grampa Mac have a LOT in common . . .

  3. Kids love collecting bits and it is a hard habbit to break when grown up lol. Kristofer tries to fill my bag with rocks and stones ... and shells and sticks on a day out.

    That butterfly is so gorgeous ...what a shot.