31 July 2009

Finding the familiar

I spent several hours today at the gallery in Ridge Spring. It has been well over a month since I've taken a turn as "gallery associate," keeping the place open for visitors. Although I would not have not gone to Alaska or not have spent generous time with family (and I'd depart within the hour if given half a chance), I find I've missed the place.

Much has changed. A new sign on the school building-turned-gallery, for example. A pretty but vicious-looking vine tendrilling its way through the front shrubbery and along the handicap ramp. Paint and a new (to us) mirror in the restroom.

But, it's the same, too. Familiar art. Welcoming wicker chair in the porch. Steady traffic on highway 23 and the coming and going of Ridge Spring's personnel to the maintenance building next door, an array of vans, golf carts, pickup trucks.

Mostly, though, what's familiar is the building's restful feel, restful not always having been a primary characteristic of the recent weeks, And then, there's the afternoon thunderstorms, the rooms, even with their huge windows, receding into gloom.

Ahhh ...

20 July 2009

Looking back a bit

Our three weeks post Alaska have been full. I don't want to be so focused on the present and the routine we're striving to establish that I fail to acknowledge the memorable.

Like a wedding on the 4th of July. I was the officiant for the very pretty lakeside service. How lucky I was that the official photographer's flash fired just as I made my available light shot, illuminating the bride's face rather nicely. Tal and I enjoyed an amazing hotel room for that weekend and long visits with family, the groom being Tal's great-nephew.

And, my parents have moved. Here's a photo of them during June visiting the new house while the pre-move renovation was going on.

And, below is that same room a mere two weeks after the move. Pretty spiffy, huh?

Late in the day of the move -- almost three weeks ago now -- Mom presented my sister, brother and me a dilemna. The remains of a large bottle wine out of the old refrigerator wouldn't fit in the door of the new refrigerator. So, we did the most logical thing we could think of. Cheers.

Ah, Sibley

Tal and I were roused from sound sleep at 4:15 this morning by Whitby and Belle, highly disturbed as they were by something outside the bedroom window. And, what sleeping weather it had been, the AC off and the windows open. So often good (cool night offering great sleeping) and bad (wakeful dogs able to see and/or hear what was going on outside in the middle of the night) are the same thing ...

I let the dogs out to scare off whatever had been out there (the barking pretty much took care of things long before I managed to get the back door open, I suspect; after all the windows were open) and then went to the porch to whistle them up. While I was out there, what a sound I heard in the distance. I just stood, rooted to the carpet.

It was an owl, but not the normal call we hear so frequently close to the house. I'm used to that, the barred owl and its sharp, insistent hooting. This was gentler, decidedly different. Sleepy as I was, though, I went back to bed once the dogs were inside.

At breakfast, however, back out on the porch, I remembered and went after the Sibley while my cereal began to sog. Unlike the other bird books on the shelf in the sun room, the Sibley describes the call and I was pretty sure I would have no trouble "re-hearing" that lovely sound as my eyes read the words.

What I heard early this morning was the great horned owl, its muffled hooting still perking me up pretty far into the day.

Thank you, David Allen Sibley. AND, thank you, Mom and Dad, for the 2007 birthday gift!

19 July 2009

Summer morning

It was three weeks ago today that Tal and I enjoyed 15 or so hours in the Anchorage International Airport, an experience that seems so very long ago. After flying across the country, stopping in Minneapolis and Memphis along the way, and arriving home exhausted, we've not quite yet settled into a routine despite our best efforts. But, we're getting by rather well.

In fact ... we are having an unseasonably cool weekend -- not like our typical July at all. Currently, it's 65 degrees and the doors and windows are open. AND, Tal took me fishing yesterday. One of our favorite bodies of water, known as Satcher Pond, had beckoned all week, quietly invading my thoughts at unexpected times. I mentioned this and the possibility of acting on it during the day on Friday and immediately Tal, deeply pleased by the suggestion, I judge, began making plans, cleaning up and loading the boat, assembling and checking tackle and the like. We were so organized we sprang from bed at the 5:00 alarm and were on the water by 5:30, long before sunrise.

We caught lots of fish, keeping two for our breakfast of fish and grits and biscuits. Not particuarly physically nourishing, I realize, but nourishing in other pretty powerful ways.

We fished mostly at the far end of the pond, at the Weaver Road bridge. This photograph was taken in the vicinity of 6:30 and features, rather indistinctly given the light level at the time, Tal's fishing rod and line in addition to dawn's luscious color. Enjoy!