afternoon walk

The best research tool I have is the “find” tool on my computer desktop. It lets me zip through several thousand pages of county agendas and other materials in minutes. As long as my keyword selections are true, I can find out whether the land use and private property rights subjects I follow will be addressed, even when they may be buried deep within layered paragraphs underneath obfuscatory topics. It’s tedious, nonetheless.

Buck and I talked about walking the woods yesterday, but we both worked at our desks all day, gathering up in his study only around one for a peanut butter sandwich and a handful of pecan halves.

By three, my whole body felt stiff and brittle from sitting too long, eyes strained, and brain tired. I stood quickly. Snap. Crackle. Pop. Oh, yes. Way past time for a walk and just enough before dark.

“Want to go?” Lou leaps and runs to the front door. The three of us lock up the house and head for the fireline trails, the deep Longleaf pine woods. It’s warm enough for shorts, but cool enough for a light fleece jacket. Perfect.

The forest floor is a mosaic of fallen leaves. A light breeze sways the tree tops. We walk in companionable silence, one or the other of us sighing deeply from time to time, really more of a breathing in of the fresh air than a sigh, a reoxygenation of our parched, desk-weary selves.

I hear the squeaky murmur of birds in flight, and the somehow wonderful sound of a distant train. My brain fog clears; creaky joints oiled with movement.

We wander until dusk, smiling into each other’s eyes, and ready for a simple supper.

breakfast for the deer

The sun was rising as I slipped out the back door with a cutting board full of chopped raw sweet potatoes and apples for the deer. We have a feed trough for them that we normally keep filled with dried corn, but a hernia repair surgery has sidelined my husband from hefting the 50-pound sacks for now and they are just beyond my abilities even on a good day. We’ve had three spotted fawns and their mamas (and aunts) as regulars the past few months. I have taken lots of photos from the laundry room window.

Spider webs dusted the tops of the pasture grass as far as my eye could see. They look like tiny silk parachutes, little circular tangles of puffed webs.

butterfly summer dreams

Swallowtail butterfly on Blazing Star

Lou Lou Belle, the little Chocolate Lab, doesn’t care that it’s drizzling rain. It’s nearly 8:00 a.m. here in panhandle Florida, long past the time when she and I would be out walking the woods or at least the sweet third of a mile from house to gate. Local family is coming for Thanksgiving lunch Thursday and the kitchen calls. Buck is recovering from surgery and sleeping a little more than usual. Me? I have a fresh mug of dark roast coffee, a circle of light at my desk, and memories of our butterfly summer in the Longleaf woods.