Mar 29, 2020

Steady Now

Turns out we got some steady, if not pouring, rain today. 

I'm on the porch again. I saw this guy on my cooler out here after the rain stopped. It's still perched there. It's a western tent moth. (Thanks Liam!) They make nests of caterpillars, which is something I used to see back in Georgia as a kid. I would put hundreds of them into plastic containers, which drove my mom nuts. She would gin up stories about how they were going to make me sick if I didn't put them back. Effective parenting to some degree because I always did put them back...

Three bats have flown out of the eaves of the house as I've been sitting here. I didn't hear the first one at all, just barely saw its dark outline flash past me. I heard the second two brush the wood of the house as they set into flight. Stealth.

Drip Drop Drizzle

The sun’s setting behind a gray blanket, long below the treeline. A robin lifts a final song in the same direction, quite cheery for a lullaby. Behind a thin layer of clouds, the moon hangs a faint, lopsided smile over the redwoods. I’m enjoying the light patter of rain on the canopy of a small bay laurel. Sitting under a few well-pruned stems, I only feel occasional drops. Shuffling my chair crushes a few leaves, sending up that familiar bubble gum scent of bay. Deep breath.

The first time Blake and I came to this house about 14 years ago, it poured for a week. We spent spring break piecing puzzles together and drinking gallons of hot tea from oversized mugs. The creek rose well into its floodplain, threatening to reach the road. Rain pounded the skylights day and night. Sometimes I thought the steep slope behind the house, which still had sizable tan oaks back then, might let go and fill the house. It didn’t. It just poured.

I wish it would rain like that now. A heavy rain can’t wash away our troubles, but it might release some pressure. Whatever rain we get will raise the creek a bit over the next couple of days as side channels drain down, down, down. Stronger flows, changing sounds.

Mar 26, 2020

Creek Walks in Crazy Times

We’re well past bud break on the box elders, whose furry pink filaments drape in tassels that remind me of something older than myself. Some 70’s relic from my childhood home. I can’t place it but find it somehow comforting. Some of the trees are still pushing out fresh flowers on the shadier side of the creek while the others look tattered after the rain. As I walk Nettie in the afternoon sun the clusters of trees are shimmering pink beacons. For me at least. Sniff, sniff, mark... Nettie's in no rush. When we finally get to them, the flowers draw me in. I notice pipevine winding through the branches, too.

We cross the bridge where we can hear the sound of the creek flowing. It’s low. Really low. But the flow is soothing, calling us closer. It doesn’t matter today if we trespass a bit, I hope. I have to convince Nettie to hop the barricades to get down to the water. A wide riffle spreads out at the tip of the gravel bar. The flow has a constant, ever changing quality in light and sound. The sky’s blue to the south as the creek rushes to the river. No killdeer tonight.

Walking back, I catch sight of the swallows' exacting flight in the reflection of a puddle on the road. They’re set against puffy grey clouds poking out of the blue. The reflection's starkly clear despite the deep mud in this puddle outside the quarry. I hear a woman across the creek belting along to an older love song that’s sort of familiar. She’s feeling it, and her voice is rich so I stop to listen. The swallows are in a fully chaotic dance for dinner overhead. I will go down with this ship. The redwoods lining the road signal strength to my worries. I won’t put my hands up and surrender. The tight beginnings of inflorescenses rise on a few branches of a buckeye across the road, promising a future.