Even knowing
there would be big
biting mosquitoes—
not so present during the dry years—
I set out on a twilight walk
across the lush green prairie.
Grasses are already thigh-high.
I wonder
who has been making
a narrow path
through the thick greening
and find the answer
when an armadillo and I
surprise each other.
Milk Thistle is just blooming
(those tall, beautiful purple flowers—
prolific,
invasive—
will be have to be mowed.)
Last year,
for the first time in forever,
there were almost no sunflowers.
This year, they blanket
giant patches.
The impact of water
on parched life
is astonishing.
The creek is flowing,
ditches are filled,
water stands in low spots.
Mosquito clans whirl round
my head, but cooling night breeze
and my waving hand
keep them from landing.
My shoes get wet
as I jump not quite far enough
over creek and puddle,
and I am glad.
As the light vanishes,
Venus and Jupiter,
high in the inky blue western sky,
glow brilliantly.
I stand in awe.
And listen
to frogs.
And breathe
in the cool, loamy air.
Then, there,
along the road,
the golden blinking lights
of summer.
Summer?
Seems way too early,
too cool,
too wet.
But there they are:
flashing in the darkness,
fireflies.

 

DSCN4551

Summer seems
so quiet.
The breeze has calmed,
catching the wind chime only
now and then
instead of constantly.
Birds chirp
rather than sing.
There is quite a lot of silent
motion: butterflies, wasps, dragonflies flit.
Now a hen lets out a string
of cackles,
then
there is a hush
before the breeze stirs
and chimes ring
again—
a guinea
squawks.
Cicadeas’ sizzle
starts. A rooster
out back
crows.
But even the sounds—
the chirps,
the squawks,
the chimes,
the cicadeas—
seem quiet.

DSCN4554

Evening is quieter
still. Air hangs
thickly.
Motionless, silent cranes
fish.
An orb spinner is so still
I bash into its web reaching
for a tomato.
In the night,
fireflies glow greenish yellow
all around the yard,
in trees. Stars keep company
in silence.
Where is that
mockingbird and why has he stopped
singing all night?

Conditions in central Oklahoma
are just right
for Lightning Bugs, as Fireflies
are known here.
Maybe it’s the cooler air,
the frequent showers…
doesn’t matter: We are delighted
and enjoying them.
Seems everyday someone
talks about seeing so many
Fireflies.
There’s a friend who glows
when she talks about going out
each night to watch them,
and the two with which she
had a close encounter.
The friend who tells the story
of a friend’s son
who collected them in a jar
and released them in his mom’s
bedroom.
And then there’s our friend Mary,
who paints a watercolor each day,
and yesterday,
showed us this one:
It’s a joy
when something in the natural world, besides us,
gets our attention
and holds it.

The full moon
rose bright and beautiful
last night,
with low clouds floating across it,
making it even more beautiful.
Fireflies dashed and flashed greenish light
against the silhouette of trees.
Later, heavier clouds arrived
and obscured moon from view,
though the clouds couldn’t
obscure its light.
The cloudy night
was aglow,
casting shadows
in through the bedroom window.
I awoke just after midnight
to outrageously exuberant
birdsong.
Mockingbird was singing
in the glow of the obscured moon.
An hour and a half later,
I awoke again
and Mockingbird was still singing.
An hour after that,
cool wind blew in the bedroom window
and I awoke
to see lightning in the eastern sky.
The light show was a symphony.
Mockingbird was silent.

This morning,
there is sunshine
and everyone is singing—
Mockingbird
and Cardinal
and Woodpecker
and Phoebe
and Cowbird
and the Meadowlarks,
who have changed their bright whistle,
adding a measure to their teasing lilt.

Barnswallows are nesting
in the chicken house.
They return each year
and we let down a section
of the wall
so they can fly in and out.
I enjoy seeing this couple;
haven’t heard any little peeps
yet.

A hummingbird has returned
(well, there may be more than one,
but I’ve only see one at a time),
as well as the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers
and cattle egrets,
which we haven’t seen here
for a few warm seasons.

Cattle Egrets

Kildeer at pond’s edge
is a constant source of
loveliness.

I was pulling up crab grass
along the sidewalk
and disturbed a nest
of baby Lady Beetles.
Gently put the grass
back in place.
There are jillions
of insects flying around,
pollinating,
this Spring.
I never before noticed how beautiful
is a wasp.

Lady Beetle Nursery

First toad.

He looks like he’s still half asleep,
and he didn’t budge,
just a foot from me,
as I planted a Jasmine bush.
We’re hearing choirs of little creeking frogs
along the swollen creek;
the deep hurrumph of bullfrogs at the Big Pond.
I’ve seen horned toads too.
I think they’re returning,
after vanishing
from this part of the country
for years.

Snakes and turtles have emerged.
Yesterday, I watched a box turtle stumble
along the rock garden
and a snake slither
the length of the porch.


One recent night,
I had to double-check
what I thought I was seeing:
never have I seen a firefly this early,
but there it was
zipping and blinking
around the yard.
I’ve seen it now
for several nights.

Whatever combination
of conditions we have this spring,
they have brought forth
pretty baby roses,
gobs of baby pears
and honeysuckle so sweet
that a whiff
sends your spirit
reeling helplessly
into some other realm.

Restless last night
from exhaustion
and seeing the patch of brighter-than-usual stars
through the window,
I arose from the bed,
shut off the back porch light
and set my bare feet onto the cool, dewy grass
and into the starry,
moonless
night.
I could see so many
and the deeper I looked
the more I saw
and the more I saw
the deeper I felt their presence,
the quicker my heart raced.
Fireflies were thick too,
making the starlight seem closer
and greener
and on the move.

The star that had beckoned me
through the window
and compelled me from my bed
was in the southeast.
Not a flat light in the high sky
but a close,
shining,
flashing,
clear
beacon.

I remember an August night
long ago
when a friend and I watched a flashing star
and debated
for hours
if we could see it move,
so that we
wouldn’t have to move
from that magical midnight.
Now it is May.
Another flashing star,
orange and yellow.
And I learn it is Arcturus
the brightest star of Bootes,
the herdsman.

Tonight,
go,
fall in love.

honeysuckle

The Hummingbirds have gone.
Perhaps they were early ones.
I hope others will arrive.

And, already,
we’ve seen a Firefly.
And a large black Butterfly.

I don’t think I enjoy any fragrance more
than that of Honeysuckle.
Last year I planted
a cutting my friend Debra gave me
and this year
it’s huge,
covered in delicate blossoms.
I get a waft through the window
or when I walk by
and I never don’t notice.
It sends me.
I can’t describe it.
Its deep sweetness
re-calls me
to my own –
as it would you,
yours.
Otherwise,
we might forget.