this sad country
bird bath emptied in the night
by a thirsty doe
The prairies are definitely in a dry cycle this year. Most of our “Possibility of thunder showers” forecasts have evaporated and all the sloughs are dry. Since there’s no water lying anywhere near, I’ve been taking pity on the birds in our yard and putting out several basins of water in the back yard for them. It’s been a joy to watch them from my kitchen window, coming and splashing about, as well as dining on hapless insects floating on the surface.
Last week another creature found my water bowls. Early one morning I saw a doe drinking out of the largest basin so I be sure to top it off at dusk every evening. Several mornings now I’ve found it right empty and a number of telltale hoof marks on the ground. Last night I filled it to the brim around 9 pm and there was only a dribble in the bottom this morning.
Our yard light provides another source of nourishment for the birds, too, judging by how many birds are harvesting bugs on the ground below every morning. This morning I saw robins, sparrows, a kingbird and a brown thrasher feasting there.
There are many fires burning in northern forests; I heard of over a hundred burning out of control in BC alone, plus fires in Alberta and northern Sask.. All this week our atmosphere has been hazy with smoke, sometimes it gets rather hard to breathe. Still, I dare not complain when others closer to the fires are in thick smoke every day and many communities have been evacuated because of encroaching infernos. It must seem a daunting, maybe even hopeless, task to fight fires on every hand, but I’m so thankful for those brave souls out there doing that work.
We’re taking a holiday this week, going to a part of our country where rain is plentiful. In fact, there’s rain in the forecast almost every day this week — I just wish we could bring some back with us! Meanwhile, I hope the creatures around our yard can find another source while we’re away.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned an old Japanese haiku legend about the haikai master, Saikaku: he supposedly composed 23,500 verses in 24 hours. So I compose an hour’s worth of verses myself. Here are a few “looking out my window” haiku:
in my garden an unwanted rooter pig weed
north wind this morning the scarecrow sheds his flowered shirt for a white pullover
two dozen sparrows cling to the caraganas ornamental visitors
Reading Dale’s response to Crimson’s Creative Challenge has inspired me to have a go at it as well. Like Dale wrote, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. You can read all about the CHALLENGE here, and this is the photo meant to inspire us:
And here’s my 150-word true-to-life tale:
“Mom, why’s that duck’s head and front blue? Did somebody dye it?” “Why doesn’t the other have a blue head, too? Are they different kinds?” “How come the one’s beak is yellow?” “Why’s the brown duck’s feathers sticking up like that? Is it mad?” “If they aren’t mad at each other, why aren’t they swimming together?” “Why are the ducks only here in summer?” “What do ducks eat when there’s no popcorn?” “Where do ducks sleep at night?” “If they fall asleep in the water, will they drown?” “Why aren’t there any baby ducks? And why…”
Randi was trying her best to answer Frankie’s many questions as they strolled along the creek, but was feeling rather brain-strained when an older woman approached them on the walk.
The elderly lady gave Frankie a big smile and told Randi, “Someday you’ll think of this as the best time of your life.”
Having fared for some time on the sumptuous sunflower seeds in Mrs. McPherson’s garden, Mabel settles on a pole to contemplate life. And the great-looking guy lingering by the pool below. Seeing herself reflected in the water gives her a bit of a shock, though. She finally faces the fact that she’s a little on the plump side and decides she must do some drastic dieting. It’s now or never if she wants to impress that slim, handsome male.
She resolves to survive awhile on slimming celery seeds snatched from the Pinkerton’s market garden field. No more stuffing herself on those calorific treats! So she flaps her wings, preparing to find and face the abstemious feast. Alas! Lift off doesn’t happen. After a few attempts, Mabel sighs, realizing she’s going to be walking a lot for the next while.