far too much writing, far too many photos

Written yesterday — Saturday, September 28:

Yesterday morning: I stepped outside around 8 under a slate gray sky. The sheerest drizzle fell, so light, so polite that I wasn’t sure it was actually happening till I could see it on the car’s windshield. By the time I reached Montpelier and disappeared into the gym, it had asserted itself a bit. Still polite, but more distinct. Within an hour rain began falling for real; by 11, it had lost its manners and become a genuine downpour. It rained the rest of the day and well into the night, mostly coming down so hard that I could hear the rumble of it on the roof. Mist and fog moved in during the afternoon as the rain came down, the area adopting its primeval look: green, wet; large restless banks of fog moving through valley and hollows; hillsides and steeper slopes draped in mist.

I had company scheduled to arrive yesterday evening and so spent the afternoon cleaning house. Not my idea of a good time. At all. But necessary ’cause the place had developed a dire need for, bare minimum, a good vacuuming. (If nature abhors a vacuum, why does Hoover remain in business? And why is vacuum spelled ‘vacuum’ instead of ‘vacume’?) I did more than the bare minimum, in the process discovering loads of wood shavings left strewn around the basement level by the electrician who spent a day or two here a few weeks back. Also discovered: many spiders and abundant cobwebs -– as many as I could find got hoovered.

At the end of the process, the house looked like a decent place to live and hang out, no longer the flop in which I work, sleep, make meals.

And still the rain came down. My friends had said they might start the drive north as early as 5:30, getting them here around 8:30, in ideal conditions. Between traffic and torrential rain, however, ideal conditions did not reign. After 10 p.m., I went to bed and drifted off. Around 10:40, I woke to the thump of luggage being brought in to the downstairs guest room, me having left the doors open for them to enter whenever they pulled in.

They started to unwind, I cranked up the satellite TV, found Run, Lola, Run playing (yee-ha!). We settled down and watched until it wrapped up around midnight, when everyone retired to their respective bedrooms. And outside the rain continued.

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Written today, Sunday, 9/28:

My guests took off a couple of hours ago, I’m back in this space on my own once more, the vibe a bit different due to the injection of energy from the last couple of days. Lots of talk, laughter, food prep and time spent around the dining room table.

The autumn in these parts has so far been slow and gentle, the colors turning gradually, in muted hues. When I got up this morning the thermometer outside the dining room windows read 32 on the nose, but because of fog and overcast there was no frost -– flowers still abound, crickets and their ilk continue to whirr and chirp away in the grass. When I raised the shades in the living room, I found a visible difference in the colors around the valley from yesterday’s display -– between the rain of two days ago and last night’s plunging mercury, the autumn display got a major goosing.

I’ve had a long window box of marigolds out on the back stoop — a stopping place for bees, mostly bumblebees in recent days, as the smaller variety seems to have disappeared with the advent of shorter daylight hours. Earlier, out in the yard, I caught sight of a small-sized bumble bee flying from one marigold blossom to another, alighting on one, walking around the closely-set petals, then making the short flight to the next blossom for the same drill. Absorbed in its task. I stopped to watch, and as I stood there the bee seemed to notice me, stopped what it was doing, turned to face me, apparently checking me out. A handsome little bugger, looking more like an oversized honey bee than a slightly diminutive bumble bee, wings surprisingly small for its body, multi-eyed visual organs appearing heart-shaped. After a moment, it apparently had enough of me, returning to its work. I came back into the house.

I went outside a short time ago to bring the window box inside for the night, rustling the marigolds around before picking it up to dislodge critters hanging out in the greenery. The plants seemed to be free of insect life, I brought the box in, set it on the kitchen counter. A few minutes ago I noticed something flying around the dining room, discovered what looked like the same bumble bee, having made the trip inside with the flowers where it found itself in a world it didn’t seem to be crazy about. It headed toward the picture window in the living room and landed on the glass, trying to figure out why it couldn’t keep going to the big world it could see out there. I put a drinking glass over it, slid a piece of paper underneath the glass, trapping the bee inside, transported it outdoors where I removed the paper, holding the glass up into the air. The bee climbed to the rim of the glass and took off, heading in a leisurely way to the nearest flowers. Back to work.

We all go about our business, thinking our concerns are the defining parameters of existence. We forget we share this planet with creatures far smaller and far bigger, with concerns just as fundamental, just as abiding. We’re all travelers, riding this living globe through space.

It’s Sunday evening, the end of September. The days stream by, life rolls on.

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