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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Saved One

There were two birds, actually.  They must have been sitting side by side on the low hanging branch of the liquidambar tree as I came by with my reel mower. They startled out of their low perch, but they could not fly away very far, because they ran into the glass door to my room, and beside that was our eight foot tall fence.


The first bird did not make it, because just as I was planning to take its picture, Leo caught it in his mouth, and by the time I could get him to release it, its neck was broken. But I was able to save the second bird.


I found it in the middle of the yard, and it flew off to the corner by the fence. So I went and got a towel and used it to pick the bird up, and I carried it out to the front yard, where I released it, and the bird flew off.

We cannot save everybody. That is impossible. But sometimes we can help a little.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Changing Seasons

Go away for less than two weeks, and everything changes. You leave in the height of summer, when the grass is green and flowers are blooming, and you come back to see drought  conditions, with trees shedding their leaves, butterflies on their last wings, deer looking starved and emaciated and blackberries turning into prunes.

People and animals who were alive when we left are now dead.  The landscape is eerily different, and we feel as if we had been through a time warp.

We are back from a trip to visit my mother in Bloomington and to speak at the Missouri Libertarian Party Convention in Jefferson City.

Bow on our return

Lawrence stayed with Bow and took care of our dogs and birds as well. We had to come home immediately after the Missouri Libertarian Convention, because, while we were in Bloomington,  a son of our neighbor friends was killed in a tractor accident, and we wanted to get back in time for the memorial service. But while we were still in Jefferson City, Lawrence texted us some more bad news. Brownie had just died.

The Memorial Picture that Sword posted about Brownie
When we got back, Bow did not say anything to me about Brownie's death. He just set about grooming me very meticulously.


Sword and I had gotten a manicure while away, but Bow thought I needed a new manicure, and a pedicure.


And a facial.




I went outside to mow the backyard the next morning, but a butterfly came and landed on a leaf and stood in my way, so I had to stop.



It was the red spotted purple that we had seen many times before around this time of year.


The dead leaf the butterfly was standing on is one of many leaves that our tulip tree shed during the drought that had fallen on the land while we were away.

The orange spotted purple on a dead tulip leaf
Leo is now our only dog. Here he is, amid a multitude of dead tulip tree leaves.

Leo in the backyard amid dead tulip tree leaves
There had been grass fires while we were away. Not on our property or near it,  but close enough that it impacted people in our community. And unrelated to that, a young man, thirty-one years old, a husband and a father, and a pillar of the community, had been cut down  in his prime in a tractor accident. He was the eldest son of our neighbors and friends, and Sword and I went to the memorial service. The local elementary school gymnasium was packed to overflowing with the hundreds of people who had come to pay their respects. We sat next to Bow's friend Charla at the service.

There were many more people mourning this young man than there had been libertarians at the Missouri Libertarian Party State Convention. He was well loved and will be sorely missed.

I asked Lawrence later whether Bow had said anything about Brownie's death. Lawrence said he had told Bow that Brownie had died, and Bow spelled out "b-a-d". "Bad? What do you mean, Bow?" Lawrence asked. Bow elaborated by spelling out "s-a-d". But soon after that, he asked Lawrence to play chase with him. 

Life goes on. 



Thursday, July 6, 2017

Summer Delights

For Bow, it's the little things that matter.



In the summer, he gets Pickle Ice from his friend Charla.


Bow has been getting better at managing the Pickle Ice eating process. I give him a plastic measuring cup, and toward the end, he dumps what is left of the ice into the measuring cup and drinks it all up.


Meanwhile, I go wandering all over the property, to see what I can see.


It turns out there is more than one butterfly milkweed plant on my property, and the one that is deep within the unmown pasture is much more vital than the one by the fence line. It has many more blossoms on it.


Occasionally, a green sparkling sweat bee is attracted to the butterfly milkweed, but despite its name, I have never seen a butterfly attracted to its blooms.


The pipevine swallowtail much prefers the tall phlox by the lagoon. All the tall phlox flowers are at their loveliest, just now.


Even the sumac blossoms are lovely, once you get close enough to see them clearly.


Sometimes a tree that has been felled by a storm and chopped down, and hacked to pieces, and left by the wayside turns out to not be quite dead. "I'm not quite dead yet!" it seems to shout.

The remainder of the cottonwood tree is sprouting green new branches.


On the Fourth of July, we chose fireworks that gave off much light, but not too much noise to avoid upsetting Bow and the dogs.


The next day it rained. and in the morning an armadillo was rooting in the front yard.


Such is our quiet, domestic life. Life from death. Death from life. Beauty and decay. But there is also language.

What does Bow talk about? Not much, these days. The other day he asked for more milk, and I gave him a big lecture about how there was milk in his cereal and he hadn't finished it, and about how wasteful that was. He patiently listened, and then he spelled : טוב.

That means "good", but can also be a way of saying "okay." It took me a moment to interpret that. How did this relate to the big lecture I had just given him about not wasting food? But then I realized that by "okay", he meant: "Okay, give me the cereal bowl, and I will finish it." And so I did, and he did.

Bow does not make big speeches. But that does not mean he does not understand perfectly well how to use language effectively.  There is nothing all that brilliant or revolutionary about this kind of language use. It's what most humans use language for most of the time, too. It's a very rare occasion when any human being says something truly revolutionary. Not even on the Fourth of July.

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