Friday, August 21, 2015

Tranquility on the Farm

Life has calmed down, and we are enjoying the in between season with summer winding down and cool days hinting of autumn almost here. Gerald is bringing in tomatoes, okra, cantaloupe, and watermelon from his garden—far more than we can eat with the company gone. So he is taking excess to friends and the soup kitchen.

At the beginning of last summer I filled the hummingbird feeders as usual, but after an unexpected several days in the hospital with blood clots, I could not keep up with preparing the sugar water and cleaning and sterilizing the feeders, so I gave it up. This spring I decided to not even start although I knew I would miss the busy little creatures. And I do.

However, that decision gave me one of my most delightful moments this summer. Sitting at the kitchen table and looking out the glass doors towards the lake, I observed a very large dragonfly sitting on the top of the wire hanger where the one of hummingbird feeders was supposed to be.

Seeing a dragonfly always carries me back in memory to the ones I loved at our small pond over the hill from our house at Mount Airy Farm, where we spent summers. This pond is where we swam and even took baths sometimes despite having muddy feet when we left the pond. The far side of the pond was edged with cattails, and the dragonflies flitted among them. I can almost be there again and smell the damp aroma of the sticky mud when I see a dragonfly.

The dragonfly visiting our deck was using the hanger as its post to catch its meal. It would sit perfectly still with its lovely wings spread out. Then it would dart off I assume to catch a gnat too small for me to see, and then return to rest again. I would pleasantly relax and rest with him as I waited for his next flight. I was mesmerized, and I am not sure how long the dragonfly and I shared this time together. I had hoped it would make it a habit to sit there, but I have not seen since.

Most of us in Southern Illinois always feel a surge of pleasure when we see deer despite the damage to crops and the danger on the road. Late at night as I come home from Katherine’s, it is not uncommon for a flock to be scared by my car lights as I come in our long driveway, and one by one they leave the lake running and cross in front of me heading into our neighbor’s field. I stop and hope the last slowpoke has crossed before I go on. My favorite sightings this summer included a single large buck running bedside the road at the edge of our son-in-law’s corn field and then the time that twin spotted fawns ran beside my car before turning into the woods there. Family members have seen triplet fawns in our fields, but I haven’t yet seen them. Nor have I seen the albino deer that our next door neighbor posted a photo of on Facebook. Two neighbors further away chimed in they had seen her, and I am keeping my eyes alert in hopes of a sighting.

Small pleasures are important mood elevators, and they are plentiful during this end-of-summer season.

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