Intersections with nature

Dear President Biden,

Remember that plucky little Italian sunflower I told you about the other day – the one that had fallen over onto the sidewalk whose stem had taken a 90° turn up towards the sun so that the flower was hovering about 6” off the ground? Well, I went to check on it yesterday and it was gone. The people who live in the house and who have control over that spot of ground are putting up a fence to enclose that spot of ground and apparently a fallen over, but still very much alive, sunflower wasn’t part of their plans. Given where the fence is situated, it makes sense that they would have removed the sunflower; I just hope they did so before they started work in its vicinity rather than trampling it mindlessly.

As much of a bummer as the sunflower’s demise is (even though it was completely expected since it was clearly living on borrowed time), there was something of an antidote in the exuberant extra budding of the volunteer foxgloves in our yard. About 10 years ago we had to take down a diseased birch tree since it was posing a serious hazard from rotten limbs that could come crashing down. We didn’t, however, have the stump removed or inserted with whatever horrible poisons are generally inserted into tree stumps to kill-kill them and now a healthy little crop of foxglove volunteers annually shoots up around and through the middle of the old stump. Well, this year, for the first time that I remember, the tip end of the tallest one of the bunch is doing this weird curvy, curly thing and the final foot or so is covered in light purple buds. The rest of the stalk has nothing but brown, dried out stamens up and down it where the buds have fallen off, but that tip end is going strong. I may have missed them, but I’m not seeing any other foxgloves around that are doing this.

I have two more nature things for you.

The next one is that Sunday mid-day Laura came in the house and asked me to come outside to help her with something. She led me over to the rain barrel and told me there was a baby rat in it, which evoked quite the heavy sigh from me. Fortunately the barrel was empty and the baby rat was still alive. And I was also able to put two and two together and figure out that the weird, insistent intermittent noises I’d been hearing throughout the night before were coming from the baby rat in the barrel. Anyway, after getting the drainpipe out of the way, I tipped the barrel over and shook the little thing out, at which point it double-backed and ran over Laura’s foot, causing us both to do our best shrieky-afraid-of-rodents-stereotypical-female-things that we followed up with a good laugh. And some shivers.

The other nature thing was the same day – Sunday – but much calmer and much, much further away. On our way home from taking the shortest possible evening walk with dog Buddy, the sun was starting to set and for quite some time it was behind a large bank of very thin roundish-clouds arranged in something of an irregular circular shape. The whole thing was glowing in multiple pastels with golden shimmers and it was absolutely gorgeous – probably one of the most beautiful things either of us have ever seen. I thought about taking a picture but since my phone camera isn’t great I figured it would just show a bright light and I really wanted to take in what I was seeing rather than fuss with trying to take a picture of it.

So there’s a run down of my recent intersections with nature. I hope you have had some good ones too. And I also hope that you are getting some props for urging Gov. Cuomo to step down – good call.

May we all be safe to enjoy our intersections with nature.
May we all be willing to do what needs doing to protect nature – baby rats and all.
May we take strong stands against sexism and harassment.
May we accept the gifts that come our way.

Tracy Simpson

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