Happy birthday to this sweet little neglected blog! 4 years old and changing every day.
These are Dog Days indeed- one of the hottest I can remember in my 8 summers enjoying life without air conditioning. It’s usually not nearly as bad as people make it out to be- close the blinds, open the windows at night, use the ceiling fan when you’re in the room… I’m good. Sometimes it is an obstacle to cooking just when all yummiest the food is available, but I sweat it out every week or so and live to tell the tale. It is nice to smell the fresh air and hear the birds singing with the windows open and this time of year, the Cicadas! My old favorite insects are back and their chorus is what really makes summer official. Indeed, there is even a Cicada in Maryland named the Dog Day Cicada. It comes out annually, unlike its more famous red-eyed brethren.
Did you know that the Dog Days of summer occur when the constellation Sirius makes an appearance in our night sky? The Scandinavians are into celebrating anything related to non-frozen times of year and all the old Pagan traditions, so this is obviously their holiday, occurring between early July and mid-August. That is more or less when the Dog Day Cicada calls too. But here is another did you know: Did you know that there are actually 18 species of Cicadas that live here in Maryland? And that the periodic Cicadas are actually 3 different species? That is what the Maryland Biodiversity Project has listed on their website. There is not a lot of information- most of the species have no records, and the Dog Day Cicada has none! Is it a rare Cicada? I’m not even sure. Today I found a barely alive perfect looking Swamp Cicada hanging out in the driveway, so my guess is that this species is the common choruser.
Here is to the soil that remains unturned and the concrete that is not poured over it, so that these sweet friends can sing for many generations to come.
Is everycreepingthing still a blog? Gee whizz, you could have fooled me, I guess it is!
Although historically experiencing a degree of hibernation each winter, recent inactive seasons may have led to some uncertainty about whether Instagram has fully replaced this outlet. Well, rest assured we are awakening from our slumber, earlier than ever before, and we are ready to learn!
Yesterday was almost 70 degrees here in Maryland. It is kind of nuts, and no guarantee that we won’t yet have a blizzard, but I am so relieved. I had forgotten how wonderful it smells to sleep with the window open, and feel sunshine on my skin.
I am also happy to report that despite growing knowledge about our natural world, this time of year is still filled with eternal rites of passage that I somehow have never even noticed happening before my eyes. Continue reading
The shortest time of the year is also the beginning of the days getting longer, and for now it isn’t even so unbearably cold out.
Comparison with summer is unfair, but once summer is far enough away it is also impossible. Continue reading
This blog has basically been hibernating since the solstice. No doubt this has something to do with my recently increased work hours and some demanding extra-curricular activities. But the same blogging lull also took place last winter. The natural world is at its quietest during those cold dark six weeks. There is less to see, less daylight after work to see it with. It is a strange time of year. I have spent some of my indoor-kid time thinking about the Wicca class I took in college with my favorite religious studies professor.
The Wiccan Wheel of the Year divides the Earth’s annual orbit into four parts, the solstices and the equinoxes, and then four parts again, the points halfway between these. Each part lasts for six weeks. Groundhog’s Day, or Imbolc to the Wiccans, is celebrated half-way between Christmas/Chanuka/Solstice and Easter/Passover/Equinox. Today in the U.S. the celebration of this strange seasonal transition is perhaps most visible in the strange form of the Superbowl. But not to be forgotten, Groundhog’s Day remains with us as the Paganieist of our Pagan remnents- a holiday when we literally seek a weather forecast from a furry rodent. What will these next six wheeling weeks bring- more winter? Almost always. But we remember that Spring is on its way. The birds get more visible, and more desperate, as the winter progresses. Temperatures are low and birdies extra desperately need their food- which there is less of by now- the best berries have already been eaten. Birds also like the sun, and are more easily seen and heard on bright days. Recently I have heard the Red Bellied Woodpeckers, the Nuthatches, and the White Throated Sparrows making a racket in the yard again. Cardinals and Song Sparrows have started singing morning make-out music. They were quiet during the darkest days. Now it only gets colder, but nature is waking up. So too this blog… perhaps.
The sun is setting so early now, but the days will only get longer from here. Those of us who just started full-time jobs and are always cold cannot honestly embrace the winter. But although it has technically only just started (!!!!???) at least coming home from work will soon involve sunshine enough to go for a walk or a run and check out all those bountiful winter buds.
Meanwhile I have legally downloaded some new music and found some great youtube videos and am basically living the indoor millennial dream.
On a walk today (I hope you took one too because I think the whole winter thing is about to get realer) I was amazed that so many trees are still in full orange yellow and red throwdown mode. I have a book called Fall Color and Woodland Harvest that is wonderful- but who needs it when you have days like this to see it in person?
The Witch Hazel was blooming!
And the Poison Ivy was in fruit… It isn’t the friendliest vine from the human point of view, but a little bird told me those berries are good to eat during the cold weather if you happen to be a feathered friend.
My old friend the Mimosa Tree was there too. Continue reading
I am grateful to live in a place where I get a cross-breeze and feel safe enough at night to leave my windows open. It has been hot this summer in Maryland, and often the humidity thickens the air like pectin in a jam, but I have barely used my air conditioning. The days and nights that it is on I feel trapped and claustrophobic and altogether disconnected. Disconnected from the summer no less, the most precious time of year. As I get older I have the idea that I know what comes next. Summer ends, and it usually ends before I am fully in it. It is not like when you are a child and whatever is happening now is, has been, and will be happening always and forever.
Even the filter I bought for the eternally pooping tadpoles is a little on the loud side. See I like the smell of the fresh air, but really the best thing about summer nights and open windows, and I am choosing only based on this exact moment in time, is the sound of that thick wet night. I forgot all about it, until this week when the symphony started up again. A buzz of I know not what, and crickets, just in the last few days, playing songs that remind me of all the sugary and magical summer nights I can remember. Days ago the night was quieter, and I had forgotten this sound and all the memories that went with it.
Happy One-Year Anniversary to this blog! First birthdays are special, and especially meaningful to a girl has documented the comings and goings (and mind-wanderings) of 4 entire seasons on a small piece of the Earth.
One year ago I had just returned to this Western shore of Maryland, and here I have remained while seeing and thinking and writing about the wilds of the suburban edge.
I like it here! I like the world outside, and I am very thankful to have learned so much about it, and grateful for friends and strangers who have laughed or learned or looked at this, whatever it is.
If you would like to read any of the posts I am most proud of, I list them here for you.
Denmark and Anne Frank
Trees Have Rights Too!
I hope you will stick around and see what happens.
I still have some growing to do!
The spring wildflowers are coming out in abundance- it is their favorite time of year, when the leaves haven’t come far out on the trees to block out the sun, and the temperatures are rising enough for sweet little pollinators to come and help the flowers achieve their sexy goals.
It is amazing that these small plants spend years putting out one small leaf, and dying back. The leaf photosynthesizes away and the plant stores up the energy that it created, and after many springs it has enough stored sugars to produce two leaves, and then it is ready to create a flower too. That flower might be lucky enough to get pollinated and form a new seed which could produce its own flower in 7 years.