“Many are the stories in the naked city.” Same with the naked Big Empty. Today temperatures remained almost Bear comfortable meaning that The Big Empty was comfortable at midday, my favorite time to go out. At that time of day, my brain goes on walkabout, and all I can really do is physical stuff. It’s not the prettiest time of day or even the most interesting, but you know… I took Teddy as it was his turn.

I love nature for nine million reasons including my conviction that it loves me. “Come on,” it says. “You know you want to.”

Midday is a good time to watch raptors and the other birds at the Refuge are pretty active then, too. It’s not the time of day to see mammals. Coyotes and cougars are crepuscular (great word, isn’t it!) and Teddy pointed out a lot of carnivore scat today. Whose? Farm dogs? Coyote? No idea. It will be easier for me to tell when it’s dried out and the contents revealed.

Today I saw two hawks. The Harris Hawk flew low about 50 yards in front of us and when I caught up to the spot where his flight had passed the road I saw he’d dropped his lunch. My best guess is that he’d grabbed the mouse, taken flight and something came up behind him. It could have been one of the Red Tail hawks I see often.

Poor hawk…

Later, towards the end of the walk, just passing the marsh with the small walking loop around it, I heard a sudden commotion among the Red-winged and Yellow-headed blackbirds who call it home. I looked over at the racket and saw the male Red-tail hawk was flying low over the marsh causing the blackbirds to send up the alarm.

At one point in our walk, Teddy (who’s only about 18 inches tall at his highest point) ducked. I saw a small black and white duck flying low over the trail in front of us where Teddy was walking. Cracked me up that Teddy literally DUCKED (c’mon, laugh, you know you want to). I don’t know what the duck was; possibly a Coot.

There were people out there today, too. An elderly couple sat at a picnic table then took off each in their own cars. As he passed Teddy and me, the man rolled down his window, “Isn’t this great?”

“Yeah. It’s not hot, it’s beautiful.”

“Right? And the goddamned wind isn’t blow 60 mph. Have fun!” He waved.

“Have a great day,” I said, still feeling that COVID-19/we’re all isolated tug at my heart (and eyes)

Early in the walk, I had noticed a strange looking plant that was hit by frost last night. What could it be? I saw more of them as I went along, and figured it out.

Mystery plant

Here’s the thing about nature. Even if you walk the same 1 1/2 or 2 miles on the same road every single day, and you THINK you see things you’ve seen before, you really haven’t seen anything before. I had never seen milkweed in its “baby” stage before, but I’ve “known” milkweed since I was a toddler. Now I can look forward to the beautiful flowers, the arrival of Monarch Butterflies and all that comes with this amazing plant.

The familiar things — Canada geese, for example — anchor you. They’re like old friends at a party full of strangers. Then you get more comfortable at the party, more curious about the strangers and you see more. I’ve only seen Northern Harrier hawks twice (to know it).

The yellow-headed blackbird is found all over the U.S. EXCEPT in the part of California where I lived so long and hiked so much. Wetlands? I’ve never spent time in this landscape.

The sky tells me we will get rain in a couple of days. agrees with the sky.

Free to study Nature’s mysteries,
He breathes in the divine;
His spirit grounded in Truth,
Sure of himself, he casts off all restraint.
Wide sweep the winds of Heaven,
Grey loom the distant hills,
And with true strength is
Creation spread before him;
He beckons sun, moon and stars,
And washes his feet in the stream where rises the sun.

by Sikong Tu

30 thoughts on “Medicine

  1. Had to laugh at the thought of Teddy ducking for a coot — we used to call them mud hens! I was thinking that looked like skunk cabbage — much rather it be milkweed, which I don’t know very well except for the flower. It will get up to the 90’s over the weekend here — but the beaches are open for active play, and so are trails. We’ll see what happens next!

    • There’s skunk cabbage out there but it’s really little right now.

      I hope people are smart for their own sakes. I will be very glad when this is over — not that it’s affecting me much, but the DRAMA is exhausting.

      • I agree — I used to think I was pretty adaptable, but not so much when the changes are almost daily! In some ways, every day is the same as the last one, but not quite! It IS exhaustng to not quite know how the next day will go!

        • Human behavior is the big puzzle for me. Texans are arriving en masse as always to spend summer up in the mountains. Watching these HUGE rigs pulling toys I wonder, “What are they going to do if they get sick and all three beds in our hospital are taken?”

          Meanwhile, because of money, most of the businesses around are jonesing to open for REAL, not the 30% the governor has permitted (for now). We have had 113 cases in the San Luis Valley and 3 deaths but the numbers are steadily climbing. I don’t know.

          One small town — in the county that has been hardest hit — has set very strict laws for people’s behavior, well that’s great, but they only have two cops.

          OH WELL…if people made sense, we’d have no literature.

  2. Every walk in nature is different, isn’t it. And you have such a gorgeous landscape to explore. With your companions of course 🙂
    I always enjoy joining you on the page.

  3. Aussies are a smart breed – just be glad it wasn’t a goose that flew over head – he might have goosed you! Indiana is opening up early. I can’t help but think it is motivated by the economy and not by medical/scientific data. I may be starting to go into the lab soon – but I work alone and so I’m not too worried. Even so I’m not jumping into consumer mode. I was pleasantly surprised by my credit card bill – only $140 for the month of May… that was all the food and gas spent! I hope the Texans don’t bring disaster with them!

    • Teddy is very smart. Colorado is one of the first states to open up, and my region is opening up more than the rest of the state because it’s so remote that some believe the risk is small. The only thing I know for sure is that I do not want to die of this virus. That pretty much defines my behavior. I’ve also noticed my expenses are lower now. I think it’s because of shopping only twice a month and planning ahead. If you go back to work, take extra care (like I have to tell you, right? 😉 )

  4. Love your posts. It is often the highlight of my day. Thank you. Also enjoy Keith Olbermans Thurbercast on Twitter. Keeps me centered.

  5. Love that you discovered baby milkweed. I am not sure if we have that in Tasmania. I did have to look up crepuscular, it is indeed a wonderful word. I may now have to find a way to use it in conversation.
    I chuckled at Teddy Ducking. My wee girl Treacle was being sussed out by an eagle Wedge tail recently. She had gone out from under our Acacia trees into the paddock ahead of Busby and me. I noticed the bird coming down circling lower and lower. Of course wishing I had my camera with me. As I was sort of dawdling, Busby my big dog flew by me barking. It was only then I noticed the eagle had come down really close to Treacle with talons he/she was now folding up to get away from the barking massive dog who had come to save his sister. Phew. She weighs 8 kgs but I believe the eagle would have managed that weight.
    I have seen a Jack Russell dog with scars on his back where a Wedge tail eagle had grabbed him, only for the fact the dogs owner saw it and grabbed at his dog was it saved.

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