Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lovely Moments

I'm still only halfway through my latest read, so this is a diversion - just a little chatter about some great moments (with a bit of background).

On Thursday, we finally were blessed with a wonderful cold-front which brought daytime temperatures briefly down to the lower 60's, nearly a 30-degree drop and a huge relief. We were shivering and loving every minute. Our relatives back home in Oklahoma always laugh at what we consider "freezing", as well they should. During our brief time in Michigan, we were forced to invest in an entirely new wardrobe for a genuine winter; we'd forgotten about the warmth of wool, having long since parted with our woolen sweaters. They're simply useless in Mississippi. Here, a winter coat is something that primarily sits at the back of the closet molding for 9 or 10 months, then hangs unbuttoned on your frame when donned. A woolen sweater is a thing that makes you sweat.

I don't handle heat well and never have; while living in Oklahoma, I often begged my father to move us to Colorado, where my uncle lived and where we spent many summer vacations. When my husband tired of his work in Tulsa and was offered a choice of upstate New York or Mississippi, I said, "New York, definitely." Hubby, as it turned out, had longed to work at the engineering lab in Mississippi for many years.

So, here we live, in a climate with an 11-month pollen season and a winter that is officially "December to February" but where one often sits on the porch in shorts on Christmas Day. The cold front was a major blessing. I felt energized and buzzed around town, running errands. Because I recently mentioned the view of the Mississippi River, but had no photo of the cannon on the hill, I took my camera along and stopped at the Welcome Center.

After climbing the stairs, at right, to reach the hill with the cannon (and snapping a few photos of cannon and bridges), I was halted by a shrub with beautiful flowers. The pink flower, above, was one of them. Because I had a very long lens on my camera, I had to keep backing up to try to get the flower into focus and didn't see a man walking toward me till he spoke. His name was Robert and he was from London. Robert came across the Atlantic by cargo ship (for the experience) and then traveled across Canada and has looped down and across the United States. He's been traveling since June and he was shocked --shocked!-- at the lack of "walkways" and the loose dogs in the South. "No wonder Americans aren't fit!" he proclaimed. "They have to drive everywhere!" He was a lovely, lovely man and I enjoyed our conversation.

Yesterday, with the weather still cooperating but a bit weary from a very long night, I followed my husband into the backyard to read while he mowed the grass. After he finished, we stood together and simply looked up. I wanted to spot the hawk that landed outside our kitchen window, recently; and our next-door neighbor mentioned having seen the hawk dive toward a chipmunk, so I knew his or her visit was not simply a fluke.

Hubby joined me and we stood, amazed by the beautiful sounds coming from the trees. The birds were in high gear and their singing streamed from every angle. The look of childish awe on my husband's face was truly a wondrous sight and we were both stunned when the hawk flew over, just moments after we'd looked up. I ran for the camera while hubby watched the tree in which he landed, but it was too late. Our hawk moment was over. Still, we had a wonderful time watching our mockingbird dart around, landing on fence and tree and then taunting the cat as he played in the grass. And, we spotted a very large nest about 100 feet up in one of our ancient oak trees. So, another hawk spotting seems likely.

I just wanted to share a few wonderful moments. This time of year is my favorite. You can see there's not much sign of autumn leaves, just yet, but we are grateful for the cool air and lovely moments outdoors. God is good.

Happy Sunday!


  1. Anonymous3:39 PM

    What a lovely post, bookfool! I so enjoy reading your thoughts, hearing about the people you meet and the beautiful things you see...

    You said:

    "... a winter that is officially "December to February" but where one often sits on the porch in shorts on Christmas Day"

    I'm jealous! I'm usually bundled up in a thick woolen coat with gloves and a scarf on Christmas Day. If you ever want to trade houses for a while, let me know, you're more than welcome to have ours in the Great White North! :)

  2. Thanks, Lotus, I'm glad you enjoyed my post!!

    Oh, wow, I would trade places with you in a heartbeat! I do love winter, here, in many ways; but, I miss the snow and bundling up. Admittedly, I remember what it's like for the muscles in your face to grow so cold that your nose sticks in place if you wrinkle it and I didn't like that feeling. It's easy to reflect on the romantic bits, like walking during a snowfall while thick flakes swirl around you and to happily block the horrors of toes that burn when you warm them up or driving while hanging your head out the window because the windshield is iced over (I do recall having sleet blow in my face as I drove like that, during one storm).

    9-month summers can make winter seem much more upbeat to someone who handles heat badly!!! :)

  3. Lovely moments indeed. Cool weather always invigorates me too. I grew up in the land of snow, used to play in snowbanks when I was little, skiing, skating, toboganning. So much fun! I haven't lived in a place with snow for so many years now but I'm still not used to it and every year I miss it. Last winter, we got one day of snow in Tokyo and I dragged H out the door with our cameras. It made my winter! :)

  4. Thank you for sharing such a lovely post with us, Nancy! It read like an excerpt from a book.

    I had a hawk moment last week. I was walking on the bike trail, thinking I should have brought my camera, when I noticed a huge hawk sitting on a tree branch just off to the side of the path. I couldn't have been more than 8 ft. away from it. I stood and watched as he sat and watched me. Then he finally swooped down in the fallen leaves and snag a mouse and flew off! It was spectacular.

    I'm with Lotus. I'll trade houses with you for a bit. Our winter usually lasts from Nov. 1st to May 1st, give or take a week. Too long!! And speaking of snow, we're supposed to get some Wednesday night. Sigh.

  5. Nat,

    We only had a few "good snows" that stuck each winter, in Oklahoma, so our sledding and fort-building days were cherished. It was also exciting seeing the world blanketed in white, before anyone drove or left tracks in the snow - so pretty!

  6. Thanks, Les!

    Your hawk moment sounds awesome!

    Well, gosh, you know I'd be happy to trade places with you, also. I love Lincoln and I think I could even tolerate all that Cornhusker red, since I grew up with a nutty Nebraska alum. My dad used to wear red on football days and he plastered his office with Cornhusker memorabilia to give the OU grads a hard time. He was so funny.

    We're having what we call a "Mississippi snow". It's raining cats and dogs. I'm happy to have a break from the sunshine!!

  7. Indeed He is! :) I enjoyed the walk in your yard.

  8. I love your pictures.
    I agree with the man who is shocked at Americans lack of walking, because we have such little opporunity to do so.
    It is also one of my favorite seasons. We haven't been out as much as you and your husband because my husband can't breathe lately with the pollon, but...God IS good indeed.

  9. Joy,

    It took me a minute to figure out what you were referring to. Oh, yeah, the "God is good" comment. LOL Some days I'm a little slooooow. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed visiting my backyard!


    Thank you. That camera was the best thing Santahubby has ever bought me. :)

    What was funny about that comment the English fellow made is that he simply reiterated what I've been saying for years. In Europe, you walk and walk and walk because you have to. I love that!!

    I've been wheezing, too; my husband had to nudge me outdoors and I probably paid for it a bit; but it was worth the burning lungs, if only to hear that glorious birdsong. :)


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