On Fire and On the Move

Our air quality seems somewhat better today. Earlier in the week smoke from northern forest fires lay like a fog on the fields. Today there’s a faint gray haze and the sky’s a solid pale blue, but the sun’s colour is normal. I noticed only a whiff of smoke in the air when I was out earlier.

We’d have had a lot hotter temps this month if it hadn’t been for the smoke screen we’ve been living under, so I guess there’s one small blessing. Yet when I think of vast tracts of forest burning…

I wonder if the birds suffer in smoky air? The hummingbirds are still zipping around, busy at the feeder, especially in the early morning. Since it’s the end of the season I was able to buy a second feeder on sale and they seem happy to slurp from it, too. In just over a week they’ll be gone, so I’m enjoying them while I can.

I was out for a walk a few minutes ago and ONE grasshopper took flight beside the driveway. Can this be Saskatchewan! As soon as it landed I stomped on it — I don’t at all mind some species becoming extinct. Birds can’t eat them anyway, so…

Actually that’s not quite true! One fall morning about six years ago we saw a juvenile great-horned owl, still with his white baby feathers, sitting beside our garage. Mostly silent and observant, he opened his beak now and then to let out a shrill peep. Later we watched him run up and down the driveway devouring grasshoppers. You haven’t lived — or seen “funny” — until you’ve see an owl run. They’re so awkward, hopping as much side-to-side as forward!

poplar shoots
spring up in my driveway
bent on take-over
Birnham Wood creeping
to Dunsinane*

At different times this summer, walking along our driveway, I’ve thought of that phrase from MacBeth. The original owners planted a row of poplar trees on the west side of the property. Theses have grown tall in the last ten years and are no longer content to stay in one neat row. Shoot by shoot they are creeping toward our castle. Bob has been keeping them at bay with the lawn mower, but they aren’t giving up.

Which inspired me with a tanka on the subject. A tanka is a five line poem which, in old Japan, went in a syllable sequence of 5-7-5-7-5. Here’s what haiku master Alan Summers writes about it.

If you are interested in learning more about haiku, senryu, tanka, and other forms of Japanese poetry, courses are being offered this fall. For details, check out Call of the Page.

*The woods near Birnam in Perthshire, Scotland. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Macbeth is told that he will only be defeated when Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane. Later, his enemy’s army comes through Birnam Wood and each soldier cuts a large branch to hide himself, so that when the army moves on it looks as if the wood is moving.
https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/birnam-wood

Mirth & Melancholy

In June a pair of barn swallows started a nest on one of the rafters in our garage. Since they’re a threatened species — if not endangered by now — and since they consume huge amounts of mosquitoes, we let them stay. They’re with us such a short time. So I spread an old plastic tablecloth under their nest, we shut the garage door, and left them to it.

Those babies are trying their wings now; I’ve enjoyed stepping into the garage this week to see their progress. First little eyes and open beaks poked over the edge of the nest, now the little guys are out and around. I think some have been outdoor already; you can see their mirth as they discover the joy of flying. They’ll come back to the nest for a few nights, but soon we’ll only see them as they swoop and soar over our yard, foraging.

We’ve enjoyed their visit, but will be glad to see them gone from the garage; the hot summer days are upon us and there were a few times I worried if they could take the heat in that shut up building, even though the sides are all open where the rafters overhang the actual garage. (We need to put on siding yet.)

It brings a bit of melancholy to my mind as I see how fast summer’s passing. I’ll try to enjoy the beauty of all our seasons, but I do find the short, colorless days of winter rather depressing. So I will delight in today while it’s here. Today is the gold in our lives, the hours we’re adding to our treasure of memories. Tomorrow’s coin we haven’t seen yet.

Now I must run along. I’m cooking at the Villa again today, and tomorrow we hope to be off on a nice vacation. We plan to visit friends in the Peace River Country; we haven’t had a trip like this for a long time. Seems there’s so much to do in preparation!

One of the things I’m going to do is shut off all notifications from WordPress so I don’t have dozens of blog post announcements and comments filling my e-mail box while I’m away. I appreciate you all, my fellow bloggers and enjoy reading your posts. My apologies if you get no LIKES or comments from me for a good while.

Have a great rest-of-July. Happy blogging. Or happy traveling, if that’s your plan for this month.

Fandango’s FOWC: MELANCHOLY
Ragtag Daily Prompt: GOLD
Word of the Day prompt: MIRTH
Your Daily Word prompt: APPRECIATION

How Did We All Fit?

Memories from childhood summers, when my four siblings came to spend a month with us in our tiny house on Ave F. The upside was, we all fit in the city swimming pool. 🙂

POOR FOLKS

Five children squeezed
in a two-bedroom house;
crammed in every corner
sleeping on the couch,
the floor, three in one bed.
Having too much fun to see
that this was poverty.

Summer Children

children balloons

THE SUMMER CHILDREN

by Edgar Guest

I like ’em in the winter when their cheeks are slightly pale,
I like ’em in the spring time when the March winds blow a gale;
But when summer suns have tanned ’em and they’re racing to and fro’,
I somehow think the children make the finest sort of show.

When they’re brown as little berries and they’re bare of foot and head,
And they’re on the go each minute where the velvet lawns are spread,
Then their health is at its finest and they never stop to rest,
Oh, it’s then I think the children look and are their very best.

We’ve got to know the winter and we’ve got to know the spring,
But for children, could I do it, unto summer I would cling;
For I’m happiest when I see ’em, as a wild and merry band
Of healthy, lusty youngsters that the summer sun has tanned.