Tuesday, April 14, 2015

choose one spot, and watch

Yesterday was supposed to be rainy.  I planned to spend it inside working and doing a bit of spring cleaning.  But instead, the sun came out.  And it was warm.  I threw open the windows and headed outside.  There was a list of things that needed to be done.

I needed to feed the bees, so I could give them some Honey-B-Healthy, a natural feeding stimulant with lemongrass and spearmint oil.  I mixed ever so tiny an amount of it into the sugar syrup I made.  And ever so tiny an amount was such a strong and lovely clean smell in the kitchen.  So I could then ignore the dirty dishes because it smelled so very good in there.

So I headed outside.  To pull the maple taps and store the equipment away in the barn for another year.  With night time temperatures no longer consistently below freezing, the taps are dry.  And it was time.  But it reminded me of how quickly the season, even a very good season for sap here, can be.  And of another year passing with our children.  This Spring when they are 8, 11, and 13.

While out in the woods, I was aware of how different our woods are, just a few weeks having passed from when we tapped the trees.  Then, covered in three to four feet of snow.  Now, warm and muddy but snow free, and, most notably, noisy.  The birds are back.  And it is not just their song and calls that are making all the music out there, but also the rustling sounds of the dry crackly leaves under their feet on the ground and the pecking at the dead trees for bugs, and the fluttering take offs when I surprise them.  It is loud out there.

As I left the woods on the river bank and crossed the grass to the other patch of maple trees, I came across the hill between, scraggly, rough and beautiful actually, which had just burst into blue flowers, not having been in bloom yesterday when I was making my rounds with the chickens and bees.  

I stood still for a moment.  And then I saw it.  Movement.  

I sat down and chose a flower.  And waited.  And realized that if you sat very still and waited, eventually, each flower would be visited.  And taking a shot every few seconds once a bee arrived, you could get a sense of just how the bees work a bloom.  Watch.

All this made the feeding of bees the syrup seem quite silly, since they were clearly finding their own food in the wild.  But I was committed.  I had made the syrup.  And I was pretty sure there was not much lemongrass and spearmint oil available in our yard just then.  Though, senses awakened now, I could smell the lemony smell of our thyme in the garden, the patches of it, brown, dry, and crisp, baking in the hot sun.  It's funny what you become awakened to the sounds, smells, and flickers of movement after months of trudging through a frozen tundra.

I closed up the hives just as the kids arrived home from school, and Elliott and I got to work on our planned activity for the afternoon.  Seed starting.

And I was reminded of how much I love the child created seed labels.  And Elliott's tiny drawings on each.  How many more years will he be willing to do these for me?  I will have to save this year's after they are used, I think.

And before we knew it, it was time for dinner, and time to put the chickens, rooting about in the garden by day, away for the night.  As I closed them up into their coop, I heard splashing from down the bank in the river.  And that's when I spotted three river otters playing together.  I ran up to the house and gathered the kids and sent Jonathan for the camera, which was missing, hiding behind a soil bag actually.  The camera and Jonathan didn't make it back in time, but the kids ran ahead and saw the otters, who played a bit and then moved on to get away from our noisy disturbance of their play time.  It is so very hard to stay quiet when otters are popping up high out of the water and staring at you, then diving and wrestling and splashing with each other.

I sent everyone back up to the house and stayed for a few more minutes to see if the otters would come back if it was quiet.  I tried the choose a flower and wait for it to come approach I had used with the bees on the hillside earlier in the day.  The otters did not return.  But the sun set.

And a solitary beaver swam by with a stick.  And these ducks.

Sunset reflected in the water.

And this chattering squirrel reminded me it was time to go back up the bank and into the house for dinner.

Which I did, after watching the colors deepen just a bit more.

This choosing one spot, and noticing and waiting and staying quiet and experiencing.  Such a good day of it, year of it, life of it here, at home.


  1. Hello old friend!

  2. This is such a beautiful idea to choose a spot and wait. I love how it relates to our life - how we can take the time to mindfully inhabit that space.


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