Change is coming. I can feel it in the air. Hear it in the breeze.
So close and real it is palpable. As if, if I knew the exact moment, I could reach out and grasp it…
…like the moon…
The Full Flower Moon is upon us. Smiling from a star-filled sky. It is a most appropriate name this time of year. Even more so, it seems, this year. The air is perfumed with magnolia and jasmine, wisteria, roses, and sweet tea olive.
Things are changing. Something new appears each day. New butterflies join with newly opened blossoms.
New migratory birds drop by to add their beauty and song to the spring chorus.
Much is the same as ever it has been. Frog songs. Spanish moss festooning the ancient live oaks. The beauty of a new full moon shimmering over a peaceful sea.
Some things change. This Flower Moon sings a new song and leaves me wondering what this change brings.
Some things here at the old house in on the island don’t change a lot … the live oak trees, the spanish moss, the way the sandy soil of the yard sinks underfoot.
Other things seem to be in perpetual flux. The sounds of traffic on the road a few blocks away. The scents that whisper on the incoming breezes…right now, sweet with jasmine and wisteria…or sometimes earthy and salty with the scent of the marshlands.
The changes I mark most are the ones whose change reminds me that, over the span of time, nothing changes so very much. Constant changes. Like the ocean tides. The great horned owls in the hollow of the live oak…mating, brooding, raising their young…and moving on until next time. The anole coming out with the warmth of spring…big dominant males puffing their throats to warn off the small, slender teenagers with their cocky attitudes, and the coy females who in the end, really make all the decisions.
Frogs and toads are laying their eggs, and soon that too will signal change as they become tadpoles and tadpoles become frogs/toads and the damps areas of my yard come alive with song.
The pear tree has blossomed already. There will be fruit before long. I await the promise of the fig I have so carefully nurtured through all these winters and this spring’s random frosts far too late in the year…. without someone to cover and protect it, there would be no sweet fruit this year. No promise of tiny baby fig trees to grow and continue into the future.
Changes that serve as reminders that it is my privilege and my duty to protect this fragile environment around me. I don’t grow exotic plants. I nurture the ones nature placed here…and the ones generations past left behind. Like the ancient azaleas lining the yard and standing in odd circles about the yard where once… decades ago, they surrounded some long ago tree….now lost to the changes of time and the vagaries of weather. Yet the azaleas remain, reminding us of time past…and changes yet to come.
Immutable change…as constant and unpredictable as my ocean.
I am, by my very nature, someone who seeks ‘connection’ in the world around me. I revel in time spent swinging in the hammock swing under the ancient live oak in my backyard. Staring at the leaves, noting how much the spanish moss has grown since I first ‘introduced’ it to the oak tree five years ago, listening to the vast array of bird songs.
I thrive on walks on the beach, the feel of warm sand under my bare feet, the scent of the ocean, unexpected treasures to be gathered, or moments of wonderment in the sea and coastal critters we share these beaches and tidal marshes with.
Endangered Wood storks have returned to the coast after a long absence.
And the easily missed, once common and now making a slow comeback, Sea-beach amaranth can be found if you know what you are looking for…and are open to the tiny humble details to be found in nature.
Today I didn’t go anywhere unusual. I puttered about the house and yard. As I was clearing small downed branches from the week’s storms I spotted this lovely hiding near the bushes. An Island glass lizard, I see them every once in awhile about the yard and love seeing the tiny babies when they hatch in the summer.
Always something beautiful to see here. The white azaleas are in bloom in the yard, saved by their later bloom time from the late season frost which decimated most of our early bloomers. The camellias are still heavy in flowers and the wisteria has joined in. By the time the magnolia blooms, it will be swathed in soft purple wisteria blossoms.
A gorgeous day in the Lowcountry…mid 80s, clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Wisteria is coming back from the frosts that killed its first flush a couple of weeks ago, camellias and azaleas are offering a scant but determined final bloom and all around my neighborhood there are pinks, reds, corals, and soft purples rejoicing in Spring’s renewal. We have all the windows open every day and night and the fresh air is such a joy after the claustrophobic chill of winter.
The dogs spend a lot more time outdoors. I spend more free time at the first wave of farm markets. Last week’s excitement was over asparagus. This week I am giddy over the prospect of first crop green (spring) garlic (as farmers thin their fields) and sugar snap peas.
The bluebirds are nesting in the backyard. I love watching them skim across the open flight path between the azaleas on one side, the shrubbery on the other, over the ancient wisteria to their little houses along the back fence. As we are contemplating the possibility of moving from this lovely old house to a smaller place the one thing I should truly miss the most is this yard. Most people miss their homes…apparently for me home is the outdoors, not the in.
Which means I probably should not be surprised at little environmental themes that seem to be continually popping up in my writing. Who knew dragons had such an important environmental niche to fill? (okay, so that doesn’t really surprise me as they would be an apex predator and as such a linchpen in their cycle…. I just hadn’t really given it much consideration till they showed up) Glad they did.
As I may have mentioned a few times this month… it has been hot. And, for the most part, dry. A hard time for wild critters. I keep the garden and flower beds watered, not only for the plants, but for the toads, skinks, anoles, lizards, and snakes who live there. I have two bird baths and I keep them full and a kiddie pool out back that always has water in it (admittedly as much for the dogs as the critters, but I have seen ravens and even turkey vultures stop by for a drink.
Today I got a new visitor. It rained, hard, and then the sun came out, and the temperatures soared. My street in front of my driveway floods. Always. I was headed out to the curb to shove more recycling into the can when I noticed a hawk playing in the flooded street. It had a sip, flapped and splashed and had a wonderful time. I moved quietly closer, hoping to get a good look before it flew away. It didn’t fly away. Instead it turned and stared at me with bright scarlet eyes, walked a little closer and then resumed its bath.
Oh how I WISH I owned a camera! Or even a cell phone that would take pictures!
I moved a little closer and the hawk paused to consider if this was too close. Made a single hop, and went back to splashing in the deep water. It would stop, peer at me with those wondrous red eyes, then stride about for a bit, flap, shake….and return to its play.
I am fairly certain it was a Cooper’s Hawk… lots of them in this area… and it certainly wasn’t concerned about my presence. Finally after a good 15 minutes or so, it hopped (being no doubt too wet to fly) out of the puddle and I encouraged it to go up into my yard rather than sit in the road. Plenty of shade and cover and a lot safer. The hawk obliged by hopping and striding into the front yard. A few minutes later it flew up into the oak tree and settled in for a good preening.
Welcome to the neighborhood. Feel free to drop in any time for a bath.
Hard to believe how quickly things change… just days ago I was celebrating our new wren fledglings… today they left the nest and flew away. I was blessed for one gossamer moment to hold one of the babies in my palm as I freed it from a long strand of nesting material that kept it from getting airborne. Then it gave a little hop and was gone. All the babies and their mom are now outside the porch where they began… chirping and flittering about in the heavy foliage of those big, ugly privets I always mean to remove and replace… but somehow never can because they are ‘needed’ for yet another season.
not quite as sleek as they will grow up to be and still a little short on tail…but they FLEW… happy life little ones.
such a blessed day… woke up to my Carolina wren singing praise to the morning on the back porch as his mate brought flight after flight of food to their babies.
A dragonfly with an iridescent body the color of a midnight sky and shimmering wings stretched longer and wider than my hand as I carried it outdoors to freedom, then flitted joyously skyward.
Teens are at work. Parrot has had her shower and is preening. Dogs have had their runs and are snoozing. And I am happily immersed in my edits. Such a blessing to have wonderful beta readers to catch the flaws we no longer see 🙂
And today is Memorial Day and we are blessed by the sacrifice of those who have gone before, by the freedom they have ensured for us all, and the friends and loved ones with whom we share this day.