Fall pond

Long Afternoon at the Edge of Sister Pond

As for life,
I’m humbled,
I’m without words
sufficient to say

how it has been hard as flint,
and soft as a spring pond,
both of these
and over and over,

and long pale afternoons besides,
and so many mysteries
beautiful as eggs in a nest,
still unhatched

though warm and watched over
by something I have never seen –
a tree angel, perhaps,
or a ghost of holiness.

Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
It suffices, it is all comfort –
along with human love,

dog love, water love, little-serpent love,
sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds
flying among the scarlet flowers.
There is hardly time to think about

stopping, and lying down at last
to the long afterlife, to the tenderness
yet to come, when
time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever,

and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.
As for death,
I can’t wait to be the hummingbird,
can you?

Mary Oliver, from Owls and Other Fantasies

With time enough for a long walk in the woods and a visit to this hidden pond, my mind quiets with thoughts of the edges where things spill into each other and become their opposites. Looking at things inside and out there is no concern for success or failure or how to make things permanent. Every moment is the perfect moment. Joy is elusive and disappears as we approach, and oftentimes the distance feels enormous and the effort overwhelming. Yet, joy waits, and longs to accompany us.

I try each day to find some means of joy or comfort or delight. My delight today was in the reflections of fall color in this little pond in the woods. Where was yours?


This is what happens when you put a bored kid with a camera in the backseat while you and her mom drive around looking at scenery. She also took pics of the contents of my purse. And the sandy floor mats. Lots of pics of sandy floor mats.

Don’t forget to set your clocks back tonight. (Yes, I’m doing the happy dance because of that extra hour of sleep!) Although now that I think about it, it means that Luka will have me up at 4 to pee.


I’m at the bird observatory tomorrow so there’ll be beach pics for those of you missing the shore.

Are we there yet?

The others may be done talking about our weekend in Cape May, but I’m only just getting around to sorting through my photos from the trip. Most are dreary and awful because, well, the weather was, but maybe I can salvage enough to offer up something that you haven’t already read about on their blogs.

I’d intended to get down to Cape May early in the morning on Friday, but decided instead to take my time and stop at a few places on the way south that might make the best of the stormy weather. I visited The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor to dry out some around lunchtime, but mostly because I knew there’d be nice congregations of great and snowy egrets feeding in the salt marshes along the causeway. I took this pic from their parking lot; you can see through the gloom the type of development that is typical on the barrier islands of the Jersey Shore. The habitat loss has destroyed nesting sites for birds and other critters. The Wetlands Institute does a lot of work to restore habitat for diamondback terrapins and it was this that interested me. Just out of sight in the foreground of the photo is an artificial nesting site created for them as an alternative to nesting on the embankments along the causeway.

About the time that Susan was making a wrong turn on the Atlantic City Expressway and heading for Camden of all places, I was at the Sea Watch in Avalon. Seawatching isn’t for everyone, especially in the pouring rain, but the scoter show was phenomenal on Friday – 158,000 birds passed the counter, most of them scoters! Of course I couldn’t really see them through the rain and the foggy windows of my car, but wave after wave of migrating seabirds is spectacular, no matter the weather, really. I also spotted some newly arrived brant; they’ve been here at Sandy Hook for two weeks or so, but I’m not ready to hear their wintry calls just yet.

A Halloween pupdate

No, there’s no costume for Luka this year; he’s cute enough without one. Scary is how quickly he’s growing and getting near strong enough to pull me off my feet if he so chooses. At almost 5 months, he’s a big boy; all bony elbows and long velvet ears. Most of his growth this past month seems to have been in the torso; he’s gotten longer rather than taller and looks like some sort of hound dog rather than a Lab most times.

His favorite spot to perch is still in the windowsill behind the couch. I took his photo there this afternoon while we waited for some trick-or-treaters to arrive. None ever did and it’s just as well because there’s no candy in the house. I’m not sure what’s going on with the kids in the neighborhood, but we haven’t had trick-or-treaters for a few years.

Keeping this pup exercised enough to behave himself is still a challenge. I’d have him at the dog park every day if he didn’t get filthy dirty at every visit. There’s an acre of grass, but the dogs romp and play in the dirt at the entrance. Most days it’s near midnight by the time I get around to a good long walk with him and we wander through the quiet neighborhood and slip into the park to watch the moon and listen for screech owls or the neighborhood great-horned pair.

He’s a great shoe thief and gets an inordinate amount of joy from removing the laces on a pair of sneakers. He’s been scolded for that so many times, but it only seems to add to his joy at doing it.