Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Club - Orphan Train

. . . I believe in ghosts. They're the ones who haunt us, the ones who have left us behind . . . 

Book club was at my home this week. A gathering of women in my new community. I feel honored to have been welcomed, accepted by this group of women. A diverse group, yet each is strong, intelligent, warm, funny, introspective, and welcoming. Each in her own, individual way.

. . . they console and protect me in death as they never did in life . . .  

The book we discussed was Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. A book I would encourage anyone who enjoys reading to pick up as soon as possible.

. . . I've come to think that's what heaven is 
- a place in the memory 
of others where our best selves live on . . . 

The discussion was amazing. We talked about family history, mysteries of the past, what it feels like to be adopted. It was the liveliest discussion the group has had since I've been a part of it. 

. . . The ghosts whispered to me, 
telling me to go on . . . 

There were eight women in the group this time. It was a cozy group in the family room on a late summer evening. The door was ajar until the light was gone and a chill came inside, trying to join us. 

I wanted the food to be simple, a bit rustic. I made tomato and goat cheese tarts (my sister Lori's suggestion) by Ina Garten, cut vegetables with a dill dip, along with some nuts and a mix of milk and dark chocolate. I was pleased that as friends were walking up the back path along the meadow, I heard from the open kitchen window, "It certainly smells good!" 

via Pintrest

Because it was my first time to host the group, I decided to make each of them a book mark. A quick collage, printed various quotes on the back, cut into strips, and laminated. Friends were invited to pick one. I'd done the same for Lori's book club in Scottsdale years ago. 

It feels good to be a part of this community. In so many ways. Having the book group here at home is just one more step in feeling like I really belong here. My heart swells with gratitude.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hummingbird Adventure

The hummingbird in flight is a water-spark, an incandescent drip of American fire. 
~ Pablo Neruda

This summer I've been feeding the hummingbirds from a feeder hung by the kitchen window. There has been so much life happening in the meadow out out back door! I mix up a batch of sugar water and T keeps the feeder full. 

We laugh at the birds because sometimes they actually seem to be looking in the window at us. Especially when their feeder might be getting low. We watch the birds from early morning until dusk. Sometimes, when I've been sitting still on the deck, either reading or meditating, a hummingbird will whiz right by me to feed upon one of my potted flowers. Once, as I slowly opened my eyes to see it, it was as if the hummingbird said to itself, "Oh no! A human!" It looked at me directly in the eye, about six inches away before flying off to safety in a nearby tree. 

via Pintrest

via Pintrest

It doesn't seem as though the hummingbirds share very well. In fact, they could take a lesson or two from my three year old nursery school class. As one is attempting to feed, we will see another hummingbird quickly approach in an attack fashion, dive bombing the other bird away from "his" feeder. It is difficult to tell one from another, so I don't know if it is always the same winner. The feeders to seem to vary in sex and size, so perhaps the winner changes from time to time. 

via Pintrest

Last week we saw a hummingbird sitting on the vine that has woven its way into a chair on the deck. As it sat on the vine, it didn't even weigh enough to bend the vine in the slightest. 

This afternoon I was walking through the family room when I noticed Bitty intently watching something on the deck. I went over to see what she saw. Two hummingbirds, right outside the glass door! They were both still as can be, with their wings spread out in an arched fashion. I was concerned, so quietly opened the door to check on them. Immediately one flew away. But the other continued to sit quietly. I went right up to it, knelt in front of it, and talked to it. It didn't seem to be afraid of me. I even stroked it gently. Its little eyes would close and open. Dozing?

Of course, I didn't know what to do. I remembered other birds that have been hurt on my doorstep. I didn't want this little one to expire and need to be buried instead of flying south in a few weeks. Nor did I want to think about nursing it back to health in a cage in the house and miss the flight. It was apparent to me that the bird that flew away as I went outside the door was as concerned as I about this little one.

Delight! As I sat there watching it from inside the house wondering what to do, I noticed that it became more alert. It started to look around, moving its neck and head for a good look. Obviously more aware. All of a sudden it flew off! Just as if nothing had happened at all! 

What an odd place for a nap. Or perhaps it had flown into the window during a skirmish with his friend. Regardless, I will miss watching them as the weather turns colder and they leave northern Indiana. Thankful for their eventual return to the feeder outside the kitchen window.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.

There is a cloudy sky this morning. Humid, with a brisk wind. Behind the wind there is a layer of coolness. Fall certainly seems to be blowing in. Seems most of the summer has blown by as quickly as the wind moves the leaves this morning. With the wind will come in a new season. Wonderful things lie in wait for us.

The meadow was cut earlier this month. It went from glorious brown grasses that flowed with the wind, to an awful look, now refreshed with the summer rains and lush green. 

Frogs and Fishes are happily swimming in the pond. Remarkable that these small creatures can bring so much pleasure. Who would have ever thought that frogs have such distinct personalities? While I was away T saw the frog using a fallen leaf as a paddle boat. The frog held onto the leaf and pushed across the pond with his back feet. Everyone needs to have fun! 

The View across the back yard at 10:00 AM this month:

August 11

August 15

August 25

This is a traditional holiday. Not so in university life. T is at work today (his birthday). I am preparing for my new position as nursery school director/teacher to start tomorrow. Yet, even in the busyness of all this, I can take a moment to reflect on the simple beauty that is at the core of our life here on the edge of the meadow. Looking forward to all that will come in this new month and new season.