Land Journal: June 2012

Every morning when I am at home I get up shortly before sunrise and spend a little while outside, watching the sun come up and the new day come alive. I walk the 400 feet up to a small pond and go for a swim. When I get back inside I write in what I call my "Pond Journal" a little about what I saw, heard and felt. I decided to put that journal up here to share with a wider world what I have written since I see this, like photograpy, as a way of bringing back a record of my observations of the natural world.

On August 26 I moved from Worthington, Massachusetts to Foster, Rhode Island. I continue to write but my writing has taken a different direction, less condusive to daily posts. So, for now I am closing the Pond Journal, leaving it as a story of my time in Worthington. Stay tuned for new directions in the future.

June 30, 2012: Summer

Warm sun; gentle breeze; fat frogs floating amongst the lily pads; dragonflies buzzing by overhead, their wings sparkling in the sunlight; they’d best not get too close to the frogs.

June 29, 2012: Still and Gray

Rough, textured gray clouds sliding by overhead, sending down a brief, light rain shower at sunrise; giving way to smoother gray clouds. Still air: just an occasional faint breeze stirring the leaves of one or two trees, or some of the cattails around the pond. Perfect weather for mosquitoes, but also therefore lovely weather for swallows.

June 28, 2012: Clear Blue Morning

The sun rose into a clear blue sky as the northwest wind flowed across the land and wrapped around me as I stood on a rock in the field. A large flock of birds swept across the sky, lit up by the sun, and disappeared over the trees to the northeast. Grass in the unmowed part of the field is over six feet tall now and sways in the wind. A robin landed in the tree above me, his breast fiery red in the morning sun.

June 27, 2012: Cool and Gray, but Full of Life

Blue-gray clouds fill the sky and a cool northwest wind is shaking the trees and turning up the leaves. Gusts of wind bend down the cattails. But there are birds calling all around and the swallows are doing their aerial dance above the field. The elderberry by the pond is in full bloom: big clusters of tiny white flowers.

June 26, 2012: Summer Morning

Back home after two weeks of traveling in China, Nepal and Bhutan. The beautiful New England forest here at home is rich with the greenery of summer. The air is cool this morning but the sun is warm. An occasional breeze from the northwest stirs the leaves. This year’s catkins are starting to form on the cattails. The small red flowers of the lily pads are opening up as well. Summer is here. Fat tadpoles come shooting to the surface one after another and then dive back down deep into the pond. I think they are coming up for air but trying to avoid being eaten.

June 8, 2012: Summer Sunrise

Slowly the great glowing fiery orb of the sun slips up over the horizon into a clear blue sky. Just before sunrise a white mist hung over the field but it vanished almost instantly in the face of the sun’s light. In the west, the moon, now four days past full, hangs above the trees. The sun’s light catches mist rising off of the pond. Birds are flying high in the sky. Flowers are blooming. Summer is here.

June 7, 2012: A Cool, Still Morning

The sun’s light is muted by a thickening layer of high clouds that suggest more rain may be on the way. A low, wet, unmowed part of the field that has been left to whatever wants to grow there is now dense with a rich variety of plants, mostly around two feet tall except for some of the grasses that tower five feet high in places. There’s a lovely variety of textures to this patch of greenery, from the swathes of soft grass to the bolder texture of the ferns, with wonderful variety of other plants mixed in. Many of the plants will flower at some point in the summer. Seen close up everything is covered with fine water droplets that sparkle in the light, especially the grasses with their soft, textured seed heads that are very good at collecting moisture. The water level in the pond continues to creep up, just as the water temperature continues to drop, both unusual trends for early summer. The natural world around me looks clear, sharp and bright – and very alive – this morning.

June 6, 2012: Clearing Skies, Drops of Water

Sun shining through misty clouds, casting a soft warm light on the wet green land. The steady patter of water dripping off the trees, but clearing skies overhear. Closely spaced puffy clouds with just narrow bands of blue between them opening out into scattered clouds in a blue sky, with occasional strands of mist and fog floating by lower down. A frog floats in the pond with just his eyes above the water, still for a long time and then suddenly I hear a commotion from him and see the last of something disappearing down his throat. A swallow flies low over the pond, touching the water with his bill, I think grabbing some insect off the surface of the water. Big drops of water on the lily pads in the pond reflect the sunlight. There’s a certain perfection them: the water gathered into clear smooth round droplets, more polished than the finest jewel.

June 5, 2012: Cloud, Cool, and Calm

It’s cloudy but bits of blue are showing through at times. A large hole opened up around sunrise but then abruptly closed again. The air temperature is all of 47 degrees: unusually cold for early June. Sparrows and robins are searching about on the ground and making short, low flights; looking for things to eat. The sparrows in particular seem to move about in pairs. Even when it looked like “intruders” were being chased away, it looked to be one pair chasing off another pair. It is the height of nesting season. The water in the pond has cooled off by 10 degrees Fahrenheit relative to where it was just a week ago. This morning it is 63 degrees: a nice cool temperature for swimming. The air is calm and I have to look closely to see even the gentlest movement in the tall green cattails that sway in the slightest of breezes.

June 4, 2012: Rain-Washed Landscape

Gray clouds are drifting by low overhead, pushed by a cool breeze blowing out of the northeast. Two inches of rain have fallen in the last two days so the landscape is well-washed and the many greens are rich and vibrant, but also soft in the cloudy light. The pollen that covered the surface of the pond five days ago is gone so the reflections of the cattails are once again clear and sharp, and the lily pads look bright against the dark water. A bird carrying materials for its nest flies back and forth across the pond. A male barn swallow sits carefully guarding its nest while just behind the female is tucked into the nest. Soon I expect there will be baby birds there. The sun looked like it might peek through the clouds a few times, but rain looks more likely than sun today.

June 2, 2012: Rain

A heavy, soaking rain is tumbling steadily down out of gray clouds that have enveloped the hilltop. An east wind pushes cloud fragments across the field, turns up the leaves on the trees, and rushes through the cattails around the pond. Even underwater in the pond I can hear the rain as it falls on the water. The 70 degree pond water feels almost warm compared to the wind-driven, 50 degree air. Yet amidst all this a hummingbird is darting from flower to flower amongst the milkweed, drinking nectar.

June 1, 2012: June!

Another gorgeous clear cool morning; a perfect start to June. The sunlight slowly creeps across the green fields. Birds soaring and darting and racing, and sitting quietly on a nest. Some grass near my trail to the pond has reached chest high. The white flower I could not identify a few days ago appears to be hoary alyssum, an introduced plant from Europe. Near the pond the rhododendron is just starting to show some white flowers. The bullfrogs are silent this morning; maybe it is a little too cold for them. An occasional light breeze stirs the leaves. The sky overhead is the soft clear gentle blue of a June morning.

Go to May 2012