Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pay Attention

For the past few weeks the brilliant flowers of Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) have captured my attention whenever I sit on our screened in porch -- which is for practically every meal.

We watched the flower clusters slowly open, first a few bright red blossoms, then a few more, then it seemed as if they all exploded at once. I call them my floral fireworks. The blossoms are now fewer than in this photo (yes, I am slow at posting here), but lovely and eye-catching still. What's more, local hummingbirds also are drawn to the red flowers.

When I am out on the porch, my gaze frequently falls upon the floral fireworks display. Sometimes I outright stare. This is a temporary state of things, so I fill my now with as much of it as possible.

And the dragonflies... on some evenings, when the sunlight softens, squadrons of dragonflies provide an aerial show for supper-time entertainment. They speed in a straight line and suddenly change direction at 90 degrees. Or they appear to almost stop before zooming off, all the while hunting mosquitoes and other tiny flying things.

When dusk has turned the shadows in the woods black, I step out the back door or gaze out the window, watching for fireflies blinking love notes to each other.

This is summer as much as the heat and humidity... this beauty, this don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it magic. I must remember to take a moment to pay attention, to pause, quit sweating and working and notice Life. I have tried to take a few moments each evening to watch the fireflies, to scan the skies for dragonflies, to notice the easy grace of the buzzards soaring on hot winds. If I don't Life passes me by.

When I woke up this morning I dreaded getting out of bed. This was the first day of the "Excessive Heat Warning" that will hang around through Saturday. I lay in bed contemplating my list of tasks and wondered how it would be possible. I altered the plan slightly.

Even though the relative cool of the morning will be short-lived I do not rush through breakfast. I know how to sweat, how to take care of myself in the heat. I worked outside until noon today and even though my clothes were soaked with sweat, I didn't find the heat all that bad. Many of the tasks on my list were completed or at least started, and I brought in baskets of elderberries, cucumbers, long beans, ground cherry and so on. Not bad for a morning's work.

I spent the afternoon indoors cooking -- after I had a little post-lunch rest. No need to rush through that, either. It is late evening and I must decide whether to work on the pile of basil and/or the basket of elderberries, or whether to put them away and save the jobs for tomorrow...

It seems that the fireflies and Full Moon are calling me...