Walking back home from the Boise River, Willa and I paused in front of the Fish and Game Department when we heard the tch, tch, tch, chatter of a squirrel. As I turned to say hello, it twitched its tail—a signal to others that it was uneasy or suspicious.
While assuring it that we were friends, not foe, another squirrel popped its head out on the other side of the tree— the stately oak now looking like it had squirrel handles—to confirm the first squirrel’s admonition, “Monsters! We’ve been invaded by monsters!”
And while double vision isn’t typically a pleasant experience, in this case, it was. Quickly dubbed Jekyll and Hyde, these two held the now famous “Squirrel Handles Yoga Pose” long enough for me to snap the photo—all the while tch, tch, tching a dire warning to others lest they end up in our evening stew.
Watching the sap on this tree—waiting for the drip to drop—brought to mind the Heinz ketchup commercial from back in the day; the one with the lyrics from Carly Simon’s mega-hit, Anticipation, playing in the background:
We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway, yay
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasin’ after some finer day
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’
Ever-so-slowly the ketchup would reach the mouth of the bottle, but it was well worth the wait.
Different from dread, anticipation is expecting something positive—something good—and preparing for it. For example, the anticipation of a vacation is half the fun!
What are you looking forward to with great anticipation?
It’s hard to shop for a minimalist. After all, we don’t want anything. So for my milestone birthday (I turn 60 on Sept 28), I received the coolest gift from my sister—1,500 live ladybugs!
Following the instructions to the letter, we waited until dusk, used a mister to spray the leaves with water, lightly dusted the accompanying ladybug food on the damp leaves, and then ever so carefully, released the ladybugs—a few here, a few there, until they were all free from the shavings in the mesh bag they’d arrived in.
“Gardeners greatly appreciate ladybugs as they eat aphids (each ladybug eats up to 5,000 aphids during its six-week life-cycle), mealybugs, mites, and scale bugs. These are all insects that destroy the habitat of the garden. Ladybug adults and larvae feed on pests they will eat the harmful bugs so your flowering plants can flourish.”
“A ladybug is the perfect symbol for lady luck. The ladybug brings luck and abundance wherever she goes. When you see a ladybug, make a wish, and when you see her fly away, you’ll know she’s off to grant it.”
Yesterday, a good portion of the United States had the rare opportunity to experience a solar eclipse. Boise, Idaho wasn’t in the “path of totality” for the moon blotting out 100 percent of the sun, but we peaked just shy of it at seeing 99.5 percent of the sun covered.
And what better place to use nature’s pinhole camera than “The City of Trees.” Len and I used protective eclipse eyewear to view the sun, but we also enjoyed seeing hundreds of tiny crescents covering the driveway. We’d read in the newspaper that:
“A pinhole camera is the most simple image-projection technology there is. You can use a thumbtack to punch a hole in card stock, hold that card under a direct light source, and a tiny, exact image of that light source will be projected on the other side of the hole.”
“Sunlight filtering through the branches of trees will create a field of crescent-shaped light on the sidewalk below it. It’s the pinhole camera effect, multiplied naturally hundreds of time underneath each tree. Each gap in the leaves acts as its own pinhole, so you see an image of the eclipse in each of those gaps.”
Where were you during the eclipse on August 21, 2017?
During my sabbatical (January through March of this year) Willa enjoyed the best of both worlds spending time in Boise, Idaho with Len, and then he’d bring her to me in Darby, Montana. She adored the wilds of Montana for a couple of reasons:
The two resident cats where we stayed—Marlo and Avocado.
The zillions of up-close-and-personal mule deer. Willa always stayed statue-still and simply enjoyed watching them.
Willa watching the Nature Channel—deer outside the window
And then there was the day that a doe hopped the six-foot wooden fence into the back yard and couldn’t get back out. That was definitely an oh deer moment. I made like Harry Potter and put on my invisibility cloak, snuck outside and opened the gate, then snuck back in and watched through the window. Sure enough, the moment she saw the way to freedom she made like a bread truck and hauled her buns!
Literal or figurative, what was your last “oh deer” moment?
“Trees purify the air; they also purify the mind . . . if you want to save your world, you must save the trees.” —The Trees of Endor in J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,
Hidden under the rich soil is an enormous underpinning of roots; an intricate system that extends two to three times the radius of the crown. Deep roots anchor the tree; enabling it to dance without falter; to sway in unison with other trees in the unpredictable wind.
Weathered tree roots along a high-and-dry portion of the West Fork Bitterroot River
When we look to trees—learn from and emulate them—we discover the ancient key to tranquility. We’re reminded that we, too, have deep roots and are meant to branch out into the world.
And while life seems to move faster and faster each day, when we stand still like trees, remaining rooted to what sustains us; we remember to take pleasure in nature and hold dear all who live here.
Trees are my personal reminder that deep roots allow me to bend in a storm—to be flexible—while still reaching for the sky.
I don’t know if they’re year-round residents, or seasonal, but a clear view of the side of the neighboring house reveals magpies and a pileated woodpecker vying for the same construction space. Their tactical maneuvers are like watching a Blue Angels airshow.
Hint # 9—If I were a trout (rainbow, brown, or westslope cutthroat) I’d be tickled pink to swim in the river a stone’s throw from my sabbatical location.
My temporary home away from home is glorious. And even though there’s a solid, six-foot wooden fence around it, I had an unwitting guest—a doe—who cleared the fence to get in but was mystified on how to get back out.
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know I’ve always wanted to be a magician, international spy, and mad scientist. In the blink of an eye, I claimed elements from all three and transformed into sleuth mode.
Mist-like, I slipped out of the house sight unseen, unlatched the gate, and slipped back inside. When the doe took a double-take at the fence, she saw an opening and beat a hasty retreat.
What was your last sleuth-mode escapade?
Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”