Strolls round Fenner Nature Center are always therapeutic, as it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll be re-reminded of what’s really important. Some days that’s a more useful (vital) thing than other days.
Some days, there’s not much need for that re-reminder, or for clearing my head, or any such stuff. On those days, it’s all about the beauty of nature and the creatures smart enough to live in it – like these two.
Other days, it’s all about the re-reminders and trying to make sense of life and trying to right what’s wrong in it.
On this particular day, I did it all backward. My stroll was an early morning thing, and was a fabulous start to the day. The day, though, devolved into one of those days that really could use a subsequent stroll among the deer and the trees and the songbirds. I didn’t get back to the trails that day.
All of that notwithstanding, it’s getting to be the time of year in which I’ll get out there much more often.
That means there’ll be way more pictures coming up. More flowers, more leaves, more dragonflies, more butterflies.
Of course, I could just repost the photos I took last year. Some of those were pretty good, and I may have forgotten everything I learned about insect photography I learned last summer.
For now I’m sticking with more easily photographed subjects, like conifer needles. They’re fairly cooperative.
Of course, it’s early April here in Lansing, so I’m still able to snag photos of frost.
Then there are days wherein it seems like nature has the attitude. On those days, I’m not surprised nature is sticking its tongue out at me. On the better days, it’s simply a fungus. A happy orange fungus.
Either way, thank goodness for those strolls.
My friends, "Calico" and "Siamese" aren't getting along very well, and if I play with one, the other will get upset. They don't like the same things, so I can't really play with both of them. They argue about everything, and it seems like they are fighting over me. It's really frustrating when this happens, and I don't know how to make it stop.
I spent the last few weeks not keeping up with my exercise routine, among other things I was not doing. It was just in the past couple days I’ve gotten back into it, partly because of a visit to the doctor, but mostly because I know I need to do it and was tired of not doing it.
Well, I hit the pavement running, so to speak, doing more than I had been. And in doing so, I’m learning a few things.
First is that Milton the cat finds the sight of me doing sit-ups in the living room utterly bewildering. It’s not like he hadn’t seen me do this before, but Saturday as he watched he looked at me like I had finally and completely lost my mind.
Sadie the momma cat, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to add a tiny little bit of interest to her day. The way I do sit-ups, you see, involves my feet under the couch or the coffee table (Is it cheating? I don’t care. Don’t judge.), and my knees bent at about a 90° angle. Sadie, sauntering through the living room, had ample room to go around me, but instead chose to go under my knees, rubbing her tail up against my ankle. Well, sure, that’s way more interesting than going around, and proves once again how sweet of a kitty she is.
Finally, I find that I can do 25 push-ups at a time without much problem, the last four usually needing a bit more effort. So, at three different times throughout the day Sunday, I did a set of 25 push-ups. No problem. I got down to do a fourth set, got in position, lifted myself up on my arms, and seriously fell back to the floor. Apparently, 75 push-ups is my limit for a day (and hopefully not longer, although I haven’t tested that yet today). I can only guess how comical the sight of my arms just giving out and my whole self hitting the floor was. Even from my vantage point, I laughed.
Exercise tips are now welcome in the comments.
I hadn’t gotten my camera out for twelve days.
No pictures for almost two weeks. That hadn’t happened since before I had children. You know, like, the 1900s.
So, my apologies for throwing off the Earth’s orbit/groove with my very un-Sid-like behavior.
I can’t really consider this returning with a vengeance, yet I’ll throw these out there. This is the lilac at the corner of our front porch and what I think are some remarkable formations made possible by Michigan’s February. Zooming in is encouraged.
Keep warm, everyone.
All I wanted was to be a friend. To be there for her when she needed a shoulder to cry on, or someone to listen, or a hand to pull her up out of the shadows.
That’s all I wanted.
I promised I would be there, even if ‘there’ was hundreds of miles distant. I promised I wouldn’t desert her, as others had done. I promised I’d be a true friend, for as long as the universe would allow.
I was, and I didn’t, and I did, but not out of any sense of duty. Sure, it was all borne of kindness and caring, but I promised because I wanted to, and because the world can’t afford to lose beautiful souls to the shadows. There just aren’t enough of them. But mostly because I wanted to.
Well, the universe didn’t allow it. I didn’t allow it. In the end, I broke my promises.
And now my friend is gone. A dear friend with a beautiful soul – gone from me. She did what she thought best and is carrying on with her life, without me. All I can do is watch as she walks away. True friends are rare and precious, and to drive one away is terrible thing, but I did just that. Maybe we’ll cross paths again, but I don’t expect the universe is going to allow that either.
I feel terrible.
Sadness is prevailing here.
Foolish though it may be, I still hold out some small shred of hope that I can make this relationship, and others, right and whole again. To believe otherwise – to lose hope – would be devastating.
So, the wanderer carries on.
After nearly two months of precision work, with eyes for detail and deft hands, my lovely daughters recently finished putting together their Lego toys.
Not surprisingly, considering her proclivity for all things Star Wars (where did she get that?), my Audrey received a Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon for Christmas. It has 1,254 pieces. 1,254. It’s a remarkable thing, this vehicle. It even has the table on which Chewbacca and C-3PO played chess, or wizard chess, or whatever game that was.
A little more surprisingly, my Anna asked for and received from Santa a Lego Star Wars Death Star. The box this thing came in made me think that we received all the pieces for the actual Death Star – it’s that big. This set has – steady – 3,803 pieces. Remarkable. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I don’t think the real Death Star was built in a short period of time, but this Death Star was indeed finished after only two short months of sporadic work.
Both of these creations have been residing, partially finished, in our living room since Christmas. Today, the girls wanted them up in their room. Audrey had no problem hauling her Millennium Falcon up the stairs – it’s not too unwieldy – but Anna took one tug at her Death Star and was right away dissuaded from doing any more.
She asked if I’d bring it upstairs for her, a request I could hardly refuse.
Note: At this point, I should tell you that Legos had already taken over our house, in the form of other, smaller, Star Wars vehicles; Pretty Princess Pet Shops/Vet Clinics; Pretty Princess Tree Houses; Pretty Princess Science Labs; Pretty Princess Architecture Studios… They’ve all been in consistent cycles of put-together and totally-taken-apart through the months. Today, they were all in certain states of un-put-togetherness, strewn about together in a box in the girls’ room.
Also, if you don’t have children, or have forgotten how loud Lego pieces are when dumped on the floor – let me tell you, it’s a noise you can’t miss even from a floor away. The plastic is carefully formulated to make the most noise possible when jambled together with each other.
So, picture a fairly good-sized box with 400,000 Lego pieces, at the ready.
So, there I was, hefting Anna’s Death Star upstairs. I made it to her room, gently placed it on the floor under a window, and breathed a sigh of relief that I didn’t drop it. The box with 400,000 pieces was right there, though, and…
I cried out, “Oh, crap!”, and dumped the box of loose Lego pieces violently to the floor.
The girls were still in the living room, so I don’t know for certain what the reaction was… but I think I probably took ten years off both their lives. Poor girls.
But – I have a secret plan to make it up to them tomorrow. They’re going to LOVE it.
Here’s the scene: About twenty minutes into yesterday’s stroll round the nature center, I said to myself, that’s it, I’m cold and I’m heading back to the visitor center and I’m finishing the budget work I’d “finished” a time or two already.
The important thing to take from that scene: the cold. I was cold. Cold cold cold.
Yes, it’s February, and despite the warming of the planet it’s still likely to be below freezing here in Michigan. And I can take it. But still – I was cold.
So I turned round and set off on a fairly direct route back to the visitor center, which took me south of the woodland pond and through the maple grove. Well, not exactly. You can go into the maple grove or you can take the paved path around it – yesterday, without any real thought devoted to the decision, I chose the paved path around it.
I am so glad I did.
It was so cold, and had been similarly cold for a few days, that wherever I walked, my steps crunched with every footfall. It didn’t matter what I stepped on – twigs, leaves, ice, you name it – it all crunched under my feet as I stepped. All this natural debris, when frozen, is really loud when stepped on. Any wildlife tough enough to be out on such a cold day were alerted to my approach about 5 minutes before I got to them because of all my crunching.
Needless to say, with the racket I was making, I didn’t see much in the way of wildlife…
… until I came crunching round the bend near the west end of the maple grove, that is. A couple hundred yards from the visitor center – the heated visitor center – I could almost taste the glorious warmth of the library that sometimes doubles as my “office”, so I picked up the pace a bit. Even when I’m motivated to move and not waste any time on the trails, I want to observe as much of the surroundings as I can. That’s the whole point of my strolls there – to soak up as much of the beauty in the trees and birds and ponds and chipmunks and deer and butterflies and sunlit leaves as there is.
So – crunching round that bend, I caught a glimpse of a family of white-tail deer. Even with all my crunching, these deer were not the least bothered with my coming close. Sometimes they’re like that. Other times, they’re all about high-tailing it away from me as I get too near. This time, they were happy to watch me even when I got relatively close.
Eight deer watching me, curious looks from sixteen dark, beautiful, soulful eyes. This is why I love the nature center. Communing with the creatures, as I call it, is among my favorite things and brings me as much contentment as anything. So it will come as no surprise that I easily spent ten minutes watching these deer with as much interest in them as they had in watching me. In moments like this, I’m transfixed. It’s like I’m in a room full of people and suddenly catch sight of a pretty girl on the other side of the room – but not just any pretty girl, the pretty girl who steals my heart right then and there. At that moment, there’s no one else and nothing else in the room.
It was like that as I watched the deer, strange as that likely sounds. The rest of the woodland faded into the distance. There was no one else there, nothing else there. Just the deer and me.
More than that, the cold was gone. I simply was no longer feeling the cold as I watched these eight deer. It wasn’t until after I decided to leave them to their foraging and grooming that I realized again I was in fact cold.
But for those ten minutes – while watching a gaggle of deer do nothing much more than look curiously at me – the cold left me alone for a while. Alone with eight beautiful forest creatures.
Now, about these pictures. The observant and familiar enough among you (Holly) are saying that (1) there’s no eight deer there, (2) these deer are nowhere near the Maple Grove Loop, and (3) it wasn’t sunny yesterday in Lansing at all. Well, yes – right. Correct on all counts. I got no decent photos yesterday, so resurrected these from a year ago. For all we know, though, these may be the same deer…