Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Change of Pace


Nothing really about books or writing today. It’s Sunday. Clouds are building high, with thunder muttering behind them. We’ve already had a good sprinkle. It’s not as hot as it has been the past few days so I’ve headed out on the deck with my laptop and the book I’m reading currently, Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. I’m watching the birds, and trying to keep the squirrels from eating all the bird seed. We have a wealth of cardinals and doves hanging out at the moment. I just saw our rat friend rushing from the yard into the high grass that borders it. I couldn’t tell if he had seeds in his cheeks but I’m betting he did.

Life is so amazing, so elegant. A chickadee sits in a nearby tree pecking open a sunflower seed. How does such a tiny thing survive? Blue Jays dart in and away, so blue against the mass of greenery that fills the woods not twenty feet from where I sit. Nature paints with both delicate and bold strokes, and the human mind, itself a product of nature, responds.

There is no steady wind, but errant breezes stir first one tree and then another, giving them for the moment the power of motion. Those same breezes bring me melodies reaped from the throats of dozens of different species. I hear a rasping call that I cannot place. And I know, there is great mystery left in this world.

41 comments:

laughingwolf said...

indeed so, charles... have a good read and enjoy the wonders so near you....

Lana Gramlich said...

And yet it wouldn't be half as beautiful or wondrous if you weren't a part of it...

ivan said...

Whaddaya mean nothing about book or writing today?

This is fine expository writing.
Magical example of writing about backyard nature and Nature.

But watch the sqirrels. The are bandits.

It ia all I can do to keep them from eating my bean seeds.

Travis said...

Sounds very peaceful.

Travis Erwin said...

Sounds like a peaceful morning.

BernardL said...

Nice Sunday canvas to paint on, Charles. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, if I can keep from falling to sleep. I like to nap on the deck.

Lana, you are far too sweet.

Ivan, Squirrels: Nature's scavengers.

Travis, yes it was.

Travis Erwin, very much so.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernardl, yep. I love my backyard.

SzélsőFa said...

Sometimes all we need is to slow down the pace to find wonders like these...
I had a good time reading your description, Charles! You must be having a great garden!!

Bernita said...

Lovely description.We are there.
Wait til evening, Charles -
sounds like the sort of wind that takes you with it and makes you almost believe you can fly.

Randy Johnson said...

Boy's Life is a good one. Have you read Gone South, another one of his I like.
I have a friend who's read that one twice a year since it first came out. She swears by it.

Anndi said...

Can I just say, you and Lana are a darling couple!

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,

Hope you and Lana are having a great holiday weekend! Sounds lovely -- you're right, life is beautiful and full of mystery if we slow down and look at it.

Steve Malley said...

A haunting and lyrical tone poem, dressed up as a sunny Sunday afternoon...

Lovely.

laughingwolf said...

nothing wrong with naps, either, charles... just make sure the squirrels don't take off with your nuts! :O lol

ChrisEldin said...

Lovely! I saw a bluejay and a cardinal in the same tree this morning. The colors were stunning!

Just finished your post on JP. That was funny. Never heard of him though. Seriously. But your rant made me laugh, in a sad kind of 'why am I still unpublished' way......

Erik Donald France said...

Beautiful.

Greg Schwartz said...

nice post... like a long haiku. hope you enjoyed the day! sounds like a great way to spend it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Szelsofa, yes, very peaceful. And my garden is the best kind because it's wild.

Bernita, another snychronicity. You mentioned flying and I just read a description in "Boy's Life" of young men pretending they were flying.

Randy Johnson, I haven't read Gone South. I read a bunch of his earlier work, "They Thirst," "The Wolf's Hour," "Bethany's Sin," but then got away from him for a bit. I will try Gone South, though.

Anndi, all thanks to Lana.

Michelle, too often I forget that.

Steve Malley, deck time is good time.

Laughingwolf, the squirrels are scared of me because I shoot things at them.

Chris Eldin, if you haven't heard of him I take it you don't read thrillers much. He's a huge name there. Yes, it does make you a little sad.

Erik, Thankee.

Greg Schwartz, I spent a lot of time on the deck today, and ate at oen of my favorite restruants so I'd say it was a good day.

Shauna Roberts said...

What a difference 300 years makes! Your afternoon sounds wondrous to me, too. Yet before the Enlightenment, the forest was an ominous and dangerous place, home to wolves and bandits and possibly evil spirits. It was worthwhile to let the devil's minions, cats, hang around, because they ate the squirrels, rats, and doves that would otherwise threaten your survival by eating the grain and root vegetables you had saved for the winter. You would know all the animal sounds of your area, so that unknown raspy call would make you uneasy and perhaps send you into your house. Nature needed to be tamed and controlled, not nurtured and enjoyed.

(Just thinking about worldbuilding and how your idyllic afternoon would be experienced by someone of a different time.)

X. Dell said...

Here in the city, the only fauna I get to see are dirty pigeons. Your view is indeed wonderful.

FANCY said...

WOW...I like this...The last part I fall in love in...beautiful.

Charles Gramlich said...

Shauna, you're very much right. I remember even as a child I sometimes felt an instinctive fear of the forest. Dark and shadowy, and the sounds. Excellent point.

X-dell, where I work I often have pigeons stop along the edge of the windows just outside my fifth floor office. They can be pretty but I do like the variety here.

Fancy, thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

the walking man said...

"And I know, there is great mystery left in this world." and may it remain a mystery that fuels you.

debra said...

Taking the time to slow down gives us the opportunity to really see.

Heff said...

Nice post. We had rain 80% of the holiday, so I'm not quite as appreciative....

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, I appreciate that.

Debra, yes, you're right.

Heff, sorry to hear that. The weather was generally pretty nice here, though very hot in part of the days.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Charles,
Thanks so much for your visit. After this beautiful post, I can't imagine missing any more. I'm adding you to my blogroll to spread the word :)

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a perfectly lovely moment on the deck!
I once had a blue jay come and land on my head. They are such cheeky birds!

Sam

Danette Haworth said...

Where we used to live, I had very small, sparse azalea bushes just outside the screened-in patio. I'd fixed up that area so I had a nice view from the sliding glass doors--azaleas, ligustrum, birdfeeder and birdbath.

We had tons of customers. One of the regulars was a redheaded woodpecker who allowed no one else to eat while he was there. His technique was to take a sunflower seed, fit it into a crack in the wooden pole, and peck the seed open.

Even though he was cranky and antisocial, I liked seeing him.

Sarai said...

Wow that was very nicely written I could picture the exact place you were. Hope your weekend was good!

laughingwolf said...

don't blame you a bit, charles... not overly fond of em, tho they can be comical

CrazyCath said...

"...bring me melodies reaped from the throats of dozens of different species. "

Your writing is so poetic. So descriptive. I am gonna have to buy y'know. If I ever get the time to read again having discovered blogging...

Peace and tranquility permeates this post. Thank you.

CrazyCath said...

Beautiful comment from your wife too.
Respect Lana.

Charles Gramlich said...

I. A. Mitchell, thanks, I appreciate that. Glad you enjoyed it.

Jennifer, thanks for stopping by. Yes, Jays are cheeky, but so gorgeous. And they make some odd calls. We saw one the other day that sounded like a hawk if we hadn't seen it making the call itself.

Danette, we have a pair of red-headed woodpeckers here but haven't seen any little ones yet. We are hoping. They are really gorgeously plumed.

Sarai, it surely was. Thanks.

Laughingwolf, squirrels are awfully cute but man they can eat.

Crazycath, thank you. I'm glad you liked the comment. And yes, Lana is a true sweety.

Mary Witzl said...

I second what Ivan said: what do you mean nothing about writing? This is a pretty fine and polished piece of writing, and what a great ending, too.

And how I envy you the blue jays and cardinals. Wish we had them here...

Merisi said...

Beautiful writing!
That last paragraph just makes me melt, I feel a bang of nostalgia for my former home in DC. You have painted a beautiful moment in time with your words. Thank you for sharing it! :-)

I do miss birds colorful birds like cardinals and blue jays here. Chickadees are small comfort, but at least they come visit me here too.

indicaspecies said...

I reached here from a comment by Merisi at David's and am so glad I did.

This is a beautiful post and reminded me of Henry Davies' 'Leisure' which has been one of my first blog entries.

"What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare."

Great to read here that life is amazing, so elegant!

laughingwolf said...

in my teens, i had a bottomless gut, myself :O lol

Charles Gramlich said...

Mary Witzl, thanks. I appreciate the kind words.

Merisi, we do have several chickadees and some other tiny finch like birds. And a very curious wren who studies us as much as we study him.

Indicaspecies, thank you for dropping by, and for the kind words. I did not appreciate birds so much until we moved to Abita Springs in 07.

Laughingwolf, funny how the gut fills up as we age eh?

J. L. Krueger said...

Great post Charles. One of my pleasures here in Kabul is to sit out in the early evening and listen to the birds, some of which are familiar, many which are not.

Kabul is full of doves and English sparrows (those little buggers are everywhere). They also have a bird that is slightly larger than a mocking bird, but with the same skill at mimicking other bird's songs.