I am still walking most mornings. It is a bit more challenging these days as the sun is sleeping in later than I am. There are no streetlights out here so it is quite dark. This morning I left with a flashlight in my hand just in case I needed it. I turned it on as I started out just because I didn't want to startle or be startled by anything.
But I quickly turned it off. It felt like an intrusion. It's the same reason I don't listen to music on these walks. When I began walking this spring, the world was full of the birds' songs at first light. Now, they are not singing so much. In fact, it has become almost a rare sound.
Likewise, the frogs peeping at night in the spring has been replaced by the songs of the crickets. Sweetheart and I and Martin (Chuzzlewit) relaxed in the hammocks last night under the twinkle light in the orchard after the kiddos were in bed. There was a gentle breeze and the crickets serranaded us sweetly. There was the occasional thud of an early apple falling.
I had the boys collect up all the fallen apples yesterday morning. There are several kinds of apples here with one tree already ripe. I steam juiced a batch and have the dehydrator making apple chips as I type. I fact, I've already got my morning batch of plums picked and juicing away, a basketful of mint picked, and the first ripe cucumber awaiting lunchtime. There's breakfast baking in the oven, too.
I took a shorter walk this morning so that I could get all these things done before everyone else is up. And, now as they are all still sleeping, I am writing to you all.
As I started to write before, it is still quite dark out when I begin my walks these days. At first there are only shadows and dark shapes that I can only identify because I walk these roads so much. Gradually, my steps become more sure and I am able to pick out more of what is in the shadows. Usually, my only company are the deer walking along.
I hear rustling in the bushes at grasses at my feet, but I keep walking. One morning I stopped to discover who the rustler was only to watch a lovely furry black and white creature emerged from the brush. Not wanting to startle the dear (!), I backed up and got away as quickly as possible. Now I don't wait to see who's there.
On one part of this morning's walk I was walking back towards the sunrise. The sky was a pale, pale pink. There was a dead locust tree, its branches a stark sillohuette against the early glow. Every branch was so distinct. A bit further up the road I passed an evergreen tree. It was as though every needle were outlined and a tree I've passed many times suddenly appeared as a work of art. Its lines so different than the locust tree, but each was simply startling in its beauty.
I wish you could have seen it.
I turned the corner back towards home, thinking of all I wanted to get going on before the day's crushing heat sets in. I picked two blackberries from a neighbor's bush, a morning tradition she doesn't mind, and found myself back passing the barn the chickens and rooster still quietly sleeping.
I picked the plums and starting them to juice, turned on the dehydrator for the apples, and grabbed another basket for the mint. I came back in after the mint was picked and took my camera out to the garden. The only upside to all the fires around here is that it makes for a lovely sunrise and sunset, and diffuses the light in a lovely way for pictures. The sunflower above is the first to bloom in the kids' garden. They will be so happy to see it. I took more pictures that I share over the next few days.
I came back in to the smells of mint, coffee, apples, plums and sausages baking. I think Autumn may be on its way!
Now, I hear the pitter patter (hah!) of little feet upstairs and know it is time to go. I hope you all have a lovely day.