Grasshoppers

Looking through the Insect Archives, I realized that grasshoppers remind me of childhood, of hot walks on the pasture and long afternoons in the yard. Sitting in my quiet office, I can almost hear them. The click as they leap away and the receding buzz of wings, over and over again. These photos make me wish for tall itchy grass and hot dry wind, for a few hours of summer to spend with long departed friends.

It’s a Beautiful Day for Memes!

The day is beyond beautiful. How about a nap in the sun? Or a lovely, itchy roll?

How about a brief tour of the yard?

Along with dashing outside every ten minutes, I’ve been catching up and cooking and generally enjoying my day. What’s more, I received blog award nominations from Kathryn Martins. (It’s okay. Really…go ahead and click on the link!  I’ll wait while you read a few of her posts. Or all of them. At least take a few minutes to meet her dogs.)

I tried to follow these awards back to their source, but never found a starting place. I think they are wonderfully mysterious. Where did they come from? Better yet, where else will they go, once I’ve passed them on?

They come with a few rules. I’m supposed to thank the person who nominated me.

Thank you, kathrymartins1! (There’s the link again, in case you missed it the first time…)

Then I’m supposed to say seven things about myself. Since I received these awards on such a beautiful day, I’ll say seven things that mattered today:

1.  My father died of a heart attack when I was fifteen. He was fifty-two at the time of his death. Today I had blood drawn to monitor my cholesterol levels.

2. After my lab appointment, I made the mistake of stopping at the grocery. It’s hard enough to be sensible in the grocery when I’m well fed, but after a twelve hour fast it’s virtually impossible. Cookies, anyone?

3. And speaking of the grocery, at least I remembered the things that I meant to buy. The chili smells delicious.

4. I detest shoes. All shoes. It was such a relief, when I got home today, to confirm that it’s warm enough for bare feet. I’ll need socks, later tonight, but not right now.

5. I saw the yard’s first honey bees today. My bee-spotting abilities are directly related to my shoe aversion.

6. I want to finish my day’s work before dusk, because yesterday evening three rabbits played a hilarious, rowdy game of pounce and chase in the back yard. I’m hoping they’ll return tonight!

7. I want to be a writer when I grow up. Doesn’t everyone?

Finally, I’m supposed to pass the awards to seven other bloggers. That’s the best part! (And it involves more links!)

Seasonings – Just a Little Poetry by Betty Hayes Albright

Women of Wise

Persephone Writes by Angela Cybulski (kathrynmartins1 nominated this blog, as well!)

anaslense – photos by Ana Maria Chapa

life as i see it

withoutaudacity

Niltsi’s Spirit

The Old Dog

There’s no way around it. Indigo is getting old.

Time steadily steals her enthusiasm for tag, thwarts her agile leaps to catch a ball. Deafness eases her thunder phobia, but also ruins her nightly reunions with my husband. She no longer hears his approach, so misses his entrance. Failing eyesight slows her pace, and a few terrible crashes have turned her tentative in the dark.

Her age hurts. I ache when she stumbles on the steps or staggers stiffly through what was once an exuberant dance of greeting. I’m doubly wounded when she snaps in frustration, compensating for growing weakness with the only defense left to her.

It’s a dreadful miracle, this loving of dogs. Their lives are so short compared to ours, traversing so many different paths to inevitable loss. Even so, I’m not sorry to have loved this dog, to love her yet, despite her spectacular array of bad habits and neuroses. She’s a deeply flawed beast, but aren’t we all?

The Woods

The woods of my youth grew complete with creek and wildlife. I knew every nest, den, and footprint. In summer briars, snakes, and mosquitoes swarmed into the woods. In winter they retreated, surrendering a fey, brittle place where I got lost for hours without ever getting lost. Escorted by a pack of dogs, sometimes by the bravest of our cats, I chased over and around and through the creek, straggling home at dusk muddy and matted with burrs.

In early spring lamprey came to spawn. I gloated over the lamprey, certain they lived nowhere else of consequence. Each March I knelt for hours beside the shallows where they dug their nests. I counted them and marveled at their spots and stripes. I cupped my hands under them and watched them wiggle free over my fingers.

I’m sure I did other things, had other habits and hobbies. But my memory is overgrown, buried in underbrush and fallen leaves, forever snarled in the woods. Should I return now, I don’t believe I’d find my woods. Only a few acres of trees and a little stream.

So where does my nostalgia lead? Not back into the woods. But spending time with these pictures feels like an invaluable luxury in my busy world of adult anxieties.

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I wrote this piece a few years ago. I’m reposting it now because these pictures have been calling to me. They are more than shadow and light, more than pixels. They rustle like leaves and smell like wet, happy dogs. (All four dogs are long passed and well grieved.) I can almost taste the crisp air from that misty day in 1992, a rare elixir of youth and solitude and happiness. Perhaps, despite my earlier claim, this nostalgia DOES lead back into the woods.