Still one of my favorite photos. Might have been my first overnight sleeping on one of the boats.
I remember waking up to the sound of wild turkeys and owls along the shore, seeing the clouds turn from cool blue to vivid crimson as the boat wandered slowly at anchor. Then sitting up to see the lotus leaves floating in that same reflected sky.
And the soul is up on the roof
in her nightdress, straddling the ridge,
singing a song about the wildness of the sea
until the first rip of pink appears in the sky.
from The Night House by Billy Collins
Renate climbed out the window after a bath
to sit on the roof in her nightgown,
combed her hair dry on summer nights
thick with fermented honeysuckle and magnolia
glowing up there in the moonlight and fireflies.
I liked to sit on the porch in the evenings,
in the swing behind the wisteria,
and could hear her up there, singing with the cicadas.
Passed a couple of really big milestones this week.
1) Today I finally was able to bring the boats home.
The Melonseeds have been away rooming in Doug Lawson’s rented garage for well over two years – since a month after the house fire. We needed our shed to store what could be salvaged from the house while cleaning and construction progressed.
Even after the basement was cleaned out from two feet of sooty water, and purged and repainted, it was temporary storage when we moved back in, until remaining projects got sorted out.
So Doug gratiously offered to space with his boats about 20 minutes away. We’ve had four boats, plus kayaks, two or three lawn mowers and wheel barrows, etc., all crammed into that two car garage ever since.
Then, of course, we got hit with this little thing you may have heard of – a worldwide plague – which has lasted over a year.
So before I could re-home the boats I had to clean out the shed. To clean out the shed, I had to first clean out the basement. Done, and done.
Also, after a year of doing nothing, I’m out of shape, so this project required some concerted hammock time to finish.
2) And, fortuitously, I was able to schedule my first dose of the anti-plague vaccine last week. Apparently, I’ve been drafted by Team Pfizer. Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play!
Weather was great today, so Doug and I met over at the garage and extracted my boats. Looked just like we left them – a fine dusting of pollen the only sign they hadn’t been on the water a few days ago. And home they came.
It’s been a harrowing couple of years, no question. Today, for the first time, it’s starting to feel normal again.
Looking forward to time on the water again very soon.
In their quest to identify the pollinator of the ghost orchid for the first time, a team of explorers, photographers, and filmmakers spent three summers standing waist-deep in alligator- and snake-laden water, swatting air blackened by mosquitoes, and climbing to sometimes nausea-inducing heights. They came away with a startling new discovery – and an even deeper love for Florida’s wildest wetlands – revelations that may help to conserve both the endangered orchid and its shrinking home.
WINNER, ‘ECOSYSTEM’ SHORT FORM – JACKSON WILD MEDIA AWARDS
WINNER, ‘SCIENCE IN NATURE’ SHORT FORM – JACKSON WILD MEDIA AWARDS
WINNER, ‘LIVING FORESTS’ – WORLD WILDLIFE DAY SHOWCASE
Produced by Grizzly Creek Films in partnership with bioGraphic:
Between the worldwide pandemic and the weather, there’s a lot of time to spend on house projects.
The living room builtin bookcases are essentially done. All the doors came from old schoolhouse windows stored in the basement these past 25 years. The rest was built from scratch.
One major piece left was to tile the alcove behind the gas stove. Technically it didn’t need it – the stove is shielded on three sides and only needs three inches of clearance from combustibles. But it just didn’t look right, especially to those of us who’ve had house fires start in just such a location.
I worked my way through college as a brick mason’s helper, and we did tile work to fill in between jobs. Once I got materials together and figured out a plan, the whole thing was done in a weekend.
I also finished the posts and trim on the columns, which turned out nice.
From my window, as I work remotely in semi-quarantine, I can see the red tulips coming up around the dogwood where they have bloomed for each of the last 20+ years. Wedding gifts, we planted them, along with a lot of other hopeful things, when we had so much to look forward to.
These photos were all taken in March snows that came to Virginia in all the past 10 years, all but this year. We had no real snows this year. Maybe that’s the new normal.
But the tulips and the dogwoods will continue to bloom. Next year, and the next. Maybe long after we’re gone.