Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Few Beautiful Things

This week I was listening to a radio program on climate change. The guests were upbeat and positive about moving forward with mitigation and adaptation in the face of the great climate changes underway. One noted that there is a lot to be sad about in this world, including climate change, and one can easily be consumed by that sadness. To remain positive he thinks of something beautiful each day.

I like that, as I often feel overwhelmed by the daunting issues of the day. I try to highlight beautiful things in this blog, although sometimes days go by without a post. My new resolution is to post something beautiful each day to keep my mind and spirit focused on the wonderful, beautiful plants, animals, and people around me.

Since I've missed a week of posting, here are a few beautiful things from this past week.

Peaches! Our youngest tree, about 6 years old now, is yielding delicious, juicy, baseball-sized peaches. Some evenings we stand under the tree eating a fresh peach, the sweet juice dripping from our mouths. Thursday night Amma, Srini, and I canned 7 pints of peaches, fruit that we'll enjoy through the winter. Our kitchen counter has two large trays of peaches not quite ripe enough for canning yet. We eat sliced peaches on our cereal, with yogurt, with ice cream, in muffins. We never spray the tree so the fruits are not perfect, but they are fresh and healthy and safe, and still beautiful.
A Wood Turtle. While waiting for a colleague in the field Thursday morning I watched a rufous-sided towhee that was perched atop the tall flower stalk of a mullein. Every minute or so he'd say "towhee." As Kodi and I walked around the woodland opening--a recovering gravel pit--I looked downslope and saw a wood turtle. She was out in the open foraging, perhaps headed for a patch of ripe blackberries or maybe to nibble on the mullein, or grabbing a beetle or other insect that crossed her path--they are opportunistic eaters. Wood turtles are docile with a beautiful sculpted shell. I was able to walk right up to her and say hello.

Each morning my in-laws visiting from India walk up Bald Hill Road and back. They have a keen eye for flowers and animals and other interesting sightings. Yesterday they returned exclaiming about a beautiful mushroom. Later in the day Kodi and I walked down to have a look. It was a large, beautiful chicken of the woods, also called a sulphur shelf. I think this one is Laetiporus cincinnatus: a rosette of flat, wavy-edged caps with colorful white and orange bands, growing on a fallen red oak trunk just off the edge of the road.
And last, but not least beautiful, the speckled swan gourd. I'm growing these beautifully-shaped gourds for the first time. One fruit is nearly full size and looking like an elegant swan!

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