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There is a beautiful
autumn…
mild temperatures,
sunny, cool, slightly breezy days,
chilly, clear nights,
bright air,
a cloudy hour here and there,
a little rain…
The first freeze
was three days ago.
Frosty white grass
and 32 degrees at 7 a.m.
But it’s been warmer,
sunny mostly
since.
And with a little more rain,
grass is still greening,
while dried tall grasses
drop their seeds,
silently planting
for another year.
Crickets still sing
in low places.
There are still Cicadeas!
in the Willows.
A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
perches atop a dried sunflower
in the pasture.
Cottonwood leaves
wiggle and whoosh
in the wind.
Some kind of cocklebur
turns from silver
to purple.
Soft mounds
of wild white asters
flow beneath the fence line.
There is a new,
prodigious,
crop of tiny grasshoppers
and I also disturb
pairs of small yellow butterflies
that flutter up out of the grass
as I walk through the prairie,
touching home.

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They’ve been here a few weeks—
a few of them,
as if tuning up
for the concert.
Now they have all gathered,
practiced
at vibrating their tummy tymbals,
and perform their calls
en mass.
Away for a few days,
I am back on the porch
for morning meditation,
focusing on my breathing,
when I hear the concert
playing all around.
I abandon the focus on my breathing
and sit in absolute splendor,
focused instead
on the rhythmic ebb and flow
of their sizzle song.
One section ebbs
and another picks up the flow,
back and forth.
Eurasian-Collared Doves
hoo-hoo their plaintive call
and woodpecker
raps a drumbeat on the telephone pole.
Guineas’ sharp, incessant squawk
and high-pitched chucking
sound the dissonance.
Below and above it all,
the steady,
lazy,
en-trancing,
cicadea sizzle
takes me deep
into my core
where such peace
thrills.

hummingbird in August

I had assumed
that these cool evenings and cool mornings
in August
were temporary –
a glitch in the normal weather pattern
of furnacey August days.
But the rains have come intermittently
and the days have not heated;
the breeze through the windows
for many nights and mornings
remains soft and cool.
So I’m beginning to wonder…

I’ve seen lone Monarch Butterflies
and I wonder if they’re a prelude
to the mass migration to Mexico.
I’ve watched the Hummingbirds
get fiesty again,
chasing and slamming into each other.
And then,
I saw a little yellow bird
eating – a lot –
in the Hackberry,
while, across the yard in the Arborvitae,
a little, bright blue bird hopped from branch to branch.
I think they are Warblers –
different species,
but different species of Warblers
migrate together.

Dare we hope for a long, lovely autumn?
The Cicadeas still buzz
and a sweet fragrance still wafts
off the blossoming Mimosa,
but I wonder…

prairie in summerPrairie in Summer

It’s summer.
Not because the calendar tells me so,
nor the thermometer.
It’s the pulsing buzz of the Cicadea.
A lazy rattle
that rises and falls,
rises and falls,
rises and falls.
Once they start,
we sink into a different feel;
we settle into summer.

I remember living in the city
with a tiny plot of grass in the back yard
and a lone tree
that struggled to live.
Our row of houses backed up
to an elementary school,
with half a block,
on our end,
of concrete
for basketballers.
There,
in summer
I’d pretty much lose my will to live,
in the heat
and humidity
and air pollution.
And then I’d hear the Cicadea
in that lone tree in the backyard
singing through the relentless slap
of basketballs on concrete.
And I would
come back
to the prairie
and the hot, dusty breeze
and the steady rhythm
of summer days.
I’d stop resisting
and settle down,
settle into
the sizzle of summer.

cattle in the shade

Cattle in the Shade

wild morning glories

Morning Glories Growing Wild Along Country Road

We have entered the deep days of summer:
we had our first 100-degree day yesterday
and the forecast is for seven more.

That’s probably just the beginning.

You can feel it on the morning walk.

I counted dragonflies with three different kinds of markings on those lacy wings:
clear with brown flags
brown and white stripped
green lace on a green-bodied, yellow-eyed one –
having their morning mosquito breakfasts.

The morning glories – white ones, and pink – are wide-eyed along the gravel road,
and nowhere to be seen by mid-day.

And the cattle, even first thing in the morning, are standing under trees.
Dad says they like the northern shade
and that it has something to do with light wavelengths.

One mamma, chewing in the sunlight,
looks up at me as I pass,
grass hanging from her mouth,
and stares,
communicates, something.

There’s been a shift.

Even with all the summer chores –
watering the garden
picking the squash, the tomatoes
putting the food in the freezer
swathing and baling hay –
there is a shift in pace.

How is it that we’re busily working,
but at a summer pace?

I think it has something to do with the heat,
and the cicadeas’ hypnotic song.