Just Hanging On

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The lower garden buzzed with activity this morning as I stood there, camera in hand, taking photos as quickly as the camera would record and refocus.  There were butterflies behind me, all manner of strange looking pollinators moving methodically from flower to flower in front of me, and bees buzzing all around.  I could feel the wind off the wings of a large bumble bee who flew up and around my shoulders inspecting the camera, and me, probably.

Totally aware, the pollinators watch me watch them.  How often has one flown away in the split second between focus and photo?  They can sense when I’m ready to snap the picture.


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Some mind, others don’t mind at all.  Hummingbird moths prove especially patient with my photo shoot, keeping on about their hungry business of visiting each flower.


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In the sun’s mid-day glare it is often impossible to tell where the focus falls, and I snap by instinct.  Only later, working at the computer can I mine the riches and discard the misses!


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But the bees were especially comical today.  They’ve grown fat and heavy by this point in the summer’s feasting; and as they landed on tall, narrow stalks of sage the whole stalk would fall over, with the bee still holding on madly, to sip its fill.


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I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  Many of the photos I snapped had a blur where the bee should be.  Happily, a few are clear enough to share.

I sometimes feel like the bees on these hot, muggy mornings of early August.


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We are just hanging on, waiting now for the cooler wave of autumn weather  to find us.  We are hanging on through the numbing heat, sustained by the sweet nectar of fresh peaches, ripe melons, fat blueberries and crisp cucumbers.


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We are hanging on to the long summer evenings where daylight doesn’t quite fade away until nearly nine, and creatures chirp and sing until past midnight.  We are hanging on to the pleasure of flowers blooming, and the fun of baby lizards flashing their blue tails across the deck in the afternoons.


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We know to hold on tightly to suck every last drop of pleasure from these last few weeks of summer.

The shelves at Walmart brim with packs of pencils and stacks of clean notebooks.  Back to school supplies now fill the shelves where picnic ware and sunscreen sat just a few weeks ago.


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Change is in the air; but only the first hints of it.  For today, there is still time to stand still in the midst of the butterfly gardens admiring the fine growth of Salvias and mints, Basil and Rudbeckia and all the activity they attract.


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We’re  just hanging on to the pleasure of watching butterflies cruise around from shrub to shrub as a hummingbird dives down into the midst of the bees, hovering just above them for a while and planning his attack.  My partner watched with me this morning, resting in the shade between bouts with the lawnmower.


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He pointed out the hummingbird, and dispatched me after the butterflies he sighted.  The photos then are teamwork today.

They allow us to hang on to the magic of summer mornings in the garden, keeping company with one another, and with the magical and wise creatures who join us there.


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Woodland Gnome 2015


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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

3 responses to “Just Hanging On

  1. August always seems like a whirlwind of activity as we try to cram in all of the summertime activities before it is too late. Guess I’d hang on to it a bit longer if I could.

  2. Sweet summer mornings! The pollinators do seem to be stepping up the pace lately – they sense that their time is limited. Last night heard our first katydid and the crickets are intensifying. Yep, the time of summer is growing shorter, but we’ll enjoy every minute of it!

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