For all the horrid weather we have dealt with this week—rain every day, whipping winds, muddy traps, fallen trees, soupy roads, sad crops, no bears—today is absolutely beautiful. Now, it could be because I’m not working, and just have an opportunity to lounge, but regardless. I am supremely thankful for this Saturday.
I wandered out to the edge of a scrubby dip…the wild land in my huge front yard. I’m maybe 100 yards from the cabin and “civilization,” but with my back to it, I can pretend I have found solitude. My temporary seat is in my hammock, strung between a catalpa tree—elegant with its spade-shaped leaves and stringy seed pods—and a sawtooth oak—graceful and sharp, with jagged leaves and shaggy acorns littering the ground. From here, I can feel the wind come at me, full tilt, mussing my hair, cooling my bare feet (OH! How I miss going without confining boots and socks!). I see the wind wave that derned romantic invasive, Spanish moss, see it bend the tall grass—you know, the one with a v-shaped, seed studded top with those annoying black bits—hear it rise and die not unlike the waves of an ocean.
It may be a July Saturday in Georgia, but I only know that for the white noise of cicadas and the incessant, yet charming, question of the bobwhite call. Without those tells, I would easily believe I was on the edge of an ocean with the strangely calming, yet irritatingly irregular, rhythm of waves.
Frankly, I’d rather be…
Here than there. HA. Gotcha. You thought I’d choose the beach. Nope. I’m looking out into a sea of green, rippling, fluttering, waving, and shuddering in the wind, and it is infinitely more interesting to all the senses than the blue and tan of a beach. For one thing the birds have better tastes in music. Quick trills, long runs, perky chirps, squeaky wheels, and persistent questioning phrases bounce all over, accompanying the bring flashes of red, blue, yellow, brown, black and gray of these birds. For another, my sea of grasses, pines, oaks, blackberries, cherries, greenbriar, grapes, daisies, pokeberries, poison ivy, maples, Virginia creeper and countless other plants provide numberless shades of green that rival the best box of crayons. And today is different from tomorrow: in that time some leaves will burn, will brown, will turn red, will mature into a darker, more “adult” green. Yes, I would take this sea over the blue one (comprised of “seafoam green,” “sky blue,” “turquoise,” “slate gray,” “cadet blue,” and “sand). The whipping wind does not sandblast your skin, but instead serves as a gnat removal tool and a cooling touch to contrast the hot sun peeking through the rippling leaves. AND the wind brings with it that smell I can only describe as “green.” The wind picks it up from that vast dip before me and rushes it to my nose, uphill, as if to say: You smell that? That’s life! It’s quiet, inexplicable, but bursting with infinitesimal processes and constant change!
Indeed, that smell is far more pleasant than the aroma of salt—NaCl? A reminder of chemistry?—and sand—chunks of old, dead creatures and bits of glass litter?—and gull poop—I mean, gross.
So, you beachgoers, carry on, reclining on your 2.5×5.5 foot toweled rectangle, coating your body with wind-borne sand. I’ll be here, buffeted by cooling winds that carry with them the exhalations of the green, living sea before me.
In other news, on Friday I darted my first bear!! YEAH! I need practice, but I did it!
Saturday night I caught my first bear!! YEAH! I reset a trap Casey had put together, and it caught a bear! Unfortunately, this was a bear we’d already collared (109)…and caught three other times. Actually, he was the handsome 280lb bear I posted a picture of in “Summer Nights”. Silly bear, traps are for new bears. Maybe he just likes the free nap!