nature


Blessed November sun,

warming my face.

Behind me,

a hummingbird,

like a sprung bowstring,

emerald-green,

but more precious, alive.

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Well, actually
they just swooped in
and hung out
for awhile.
Looking quite sociable,
and communicative.
Rather well-behaved.
Perhaps just there
to inspire a poem
in me.
I felt so honored.
It was quite a sight.

Not all that many;
just intense.
A real rapport.
Spiritual.
My heart swooned when I saw the first one winging in.

“Silly girl! We don’t eat spiders!”
“Not the ones on houses, anyway.
Maybe the ones in trees. We cool!”
They winked and flew away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

yellow jacket

At work on Monday, July 8th , I was clearing away some weeds so I could clean a basement window. I was alone at a house, getting it ready for sale. I sat down on the ground and had my feet in the window well as I was pulling away the weeds.

I must have stirred up a wasps’ nest. Suddenly, yellow jackets were swarming all around, stinging me! It was a panic. I’d never been stung multiple times, before.

In the short time it took for me to jump up and run away – brushing them away with my hands, beating the air with a towel – time slowed down. I didn’t know how many times I was going to get stung; or if I was going to have an allergic reaction.

I got stung at least 6 times by the little buggers – 4 times on the inside of my upper left arm; on my left ring finger; and the back of my right ear lobe. Ouch! I think I got stung a couple of times around my ankles, too, but I had on heavy socks and barely felt it. Fortunately, they were just tiny, maybe 15-20 millimeters.

Surprise, surprise! I didn’t know that some wasps make their nests on the ground. A friend later told me that it’s the ground-nesting wasps – yellow jaclets – that are more aggressive. A window well with a lot of old dried-up weeds is apparently an especially attractive place for them to nest.

Unlike bees, wasps can sting you several times in quick succession. The venom contains a pheromone that attracts other wasps, too.

I managed to escape the wasps and went inside the house to regroup.

I was in pain and a little dazed. I didn’t seem to be having a very bad reaction other than that. The pain was acute, but not overwhelming. I ignored it, filled with hubris at my imperviousness. I brushed it off as an interesting anecdote, a good story to share.

These little pests had surprised the heck out of me! I thought it might be helpful for other people to know that wasps can nest down in the ground like that. Next time, I’ll inspect carefully before I plop my feet down into a window well – maybe make a few tentative pokes with a pole.

*

The following Sunday – six days later – the weather here continued to be warm. I was mindlessly scratching myself and accidentally agitated the stings on my arm. I stopped as soon as I realized what I was doing. The next morning it persisted, though; maybe even a little worse. I took an antihistamine, which helped.

By the evening, though – after working 5 hours – it’d really flared up. There was a big red, swollen area a couple of inches across. I sprayed on some ‘antibacterial pain relieving spray’ of unknown vintage. That just made it worse. I started to become very concerned as to the state of my health.

*

A friend had been hospitalized last December with a staph infection. It was incredibly frightening! She had a big abcess on her inner thigh. It had almost broken out into her bloodstream, which could’ve been fatal.

The doctors didn’t know what it was.They were treating it very seriously, concerned that it might be MRSA. It seemd to take them an eternity to eliminate that as a diagnosis. So it goes…

My poor friend was absolutely traumatized. She was also doped up out her mind on all the morphine they were giving her; a drug she was not familiar with. As she turned on me in anger, I explained that it was the drugs talking to her. Thank gods that we both pulled through that one together; our friendship ultimately stronger than ever. 

This all came back to me, now. Was I getting some potentially necrotic, irreversible ailment?!

*

I looked some stuff up on the web – “How long does wasp venom stay in your system?”

“If condition persists after a week, get thee to a doctor.” Sweet jay-zus!

I looked up what remedies might be recommended for the itchiness, then conveyed mineself to the farmacia.

I perused the various ointments and such as were on offer for this type of ailment.

As if from heaven itself, a pleasant voice on the p.a. system floated out to me: “Suffering from nasty insect bites? Try new miracle cure Allegra. It contains antihistamines, which address the root cause of your itchiness…”

“What was that? Oh, hmmmm… Allergy something? Ah here it is, let’s read the label…”

“DO NOT USE IF YOU HAVE ALREADY TAKEN ORAL ANTIHISTAMINES,” it said.

“Okay, that’s out. Too bad – it says ‘cooling relief’, though. Sounds heavenly!”

I narrowed my choices down to a tube of hydrocortisone and some good ol’ Calamine lotion. I paid my money and absconded with the remedies.

*

I tried the hydrocortisone first. “Uggh! No, no, no! It’s swelling up into a Shiny Red Swollen Lump!”

I wiped off the hydrocortisone and started in with the Calamine. “Hmmm, yes, that’s… doing something…” Once it dried, I kept repeating the process until I had applied several layers. Soon I had a nice opaque, solid coat of it on there. Yes, this was working!

“Let’s see, what are the ingredients? Active ingredients: Calamine 8%  Zinc oxide 8%. Good ol’ zinc oxide, I always say! ‘Give me zinc oxide in my sun block, or give me naught!’”

*

Well, there you have it! How I persevered with potentially necrotic wasp bites and survived the crisis with my dear friend, whom shall presently remain anonymous.    FYI !

 

*

*

When the muse whispers in your ear, you must answer. I was going to do my nails, but I knew that if I delayed writing this for too long, I would forget. “I better go craft my words,” I thought to myself.

*

I walked outside yesterday evening to do some errands. For whatever reason, I am too often locked away at home, inside, in my own world. Miracles have been in short supply, hereabouts.

When I stepped outside, I was nearly bowled over by a wave of the most delicious smell. It was sweet and intoxicating.

The rain had just begun to sprinkle down. As it hit the asphalt, the residual warmth of the day released a pent up sigh of scent. I love that smell! It brings back so many memories; whispers of  possibilities – the open road;  new vistas; the country; fresh, clean air. There’s an enchantment, a nostalgia; like a long-lost  friend or lover.

The grass, the leaves heavy on the trees and the many rhododendron blossoms joined in the sigh. The rhodies are coming into their fullest bloom – they’re all blooming together.

As I went on my way, the sweet smell was everywhere.

As I went down one of the roads in my neighborhood, there came the familiar annual cloud of cottonwood seed balls, drifting in that heavy, perfumed air. It’s a sight that fills the senses, heralding the arrival of summer. I remember with pleasure the cottonwoods of my youth; another time and place, so far away. What a blessing; what fulfillment.

I thought about that wonderful, sweet air. It is as if all the green things had been holding their breath, praying for just a littttle more rain – even the asphalt and concrete. In gratitude they all breathed a deep sigh of relief; one collective exhalation that filled the air, my thankful lungs and very soul.

//

All content copyright to the author, amyeighttrack (rhymes with straitjacket.)    May not be reproduced for commercial purposes without permission. Please give photo credit if otherwise shared. Thanks.

*

I really got a good response to my previous posting of rhododendrons. It was my most-viewed-day ever. So here by popular demand are more photos, this time featuring a few other fans of flowers – bees.

The bees – especially, the big bumbly ones – like the sunshine. It makes it easier to get around. It’s pretty cool here, so there’s not a lot of them and they’re not aggressive; kind of shy, in fact. I saw one giant old ‘king bee’ that I tried to get a picture of. It was making quite a buzz! Their buzz is how they warm up their flight muscles so they can get airborne. I think it saw me and floated off away, across the street.

I have white, pink, red and lavender rhododendrons in my yard – and a few purple ones struggling for space. (I’m going to try to give them more space next year.) I have the privacy, so it’s allowed me to photograph them repeatedly under different conditions.

Seattle is renowned for its rhododendrons. In fact, there is a world-class botanical garden of rhododendrons here in Federal Way. If you like my photos, you can find photos of many more species at their website here, and even purchase plants & seeds.

I was visiting with my friend Dodie last Sunday, griping a bit about the rainy spring we’ve been having. She gently rebuffed me, pointing out how wonderfully green it makes everything.

Rightfully so. Through new eyes, I noticed how beautifully lush all the leaves on the trees were; and the luminescence of the many rhododendrons glowing through the dusky grey mist.

*

To see  photos in full screen mode, click on photo. If they have not already been enlarged, you can then click on full screen image to zoom in.

bumblebee hovering near blossoms

close-up of bumblebee hovering

another bumblebee hovering, wrapping itself around pistils

A bumblebee nestled in flower, resting or gathering pollen. Flies like blooms, too.

I took a 13 second video of a bee on the blossoms. It’s nothing spectacular, but you can see it here  If you can’t see the bee very well, try replaying it once or twice

Pink blossoms in the morning. The blossoms have gotten huge and heavy and are starting to droop from the weight.

off its bloom

pink blossom close-up in sun & shade

pink blossom by branch

red blossom

Red bud, blossom and husk. You’re supposed to cut off the husks after the blooms drop. This one is from last year – I’m a lazy gardener.

red blossoms and buds

lavender bud opening

lavender bud opening 2

lavender bud and blossom

lavender blossom

close-up of white blossom

purple bud opening

purple blossoms, cloudy day

purple blossoms in sun and shade

Click on images to see full screen. All content copyright to the author. May not be reproduced for commercial purposes without permission. All other use, please give accreditation.

*

pink blossom at night w flash

pink blossoms at night w flash

pink blossoms at night in rain, no flash

pink blossoms in rain

pink blossoms in rain

pink blossom by mossy branch

white blossoms in rain

ferns

white blossoms

white buds and blossoms

white and pink blossoms

pink blossoms in morning

pink blossoms in morning

a bird pleasantly warbling

for a long moment…

I encouraged it with silence

and communed,

enjoying its song

**

A seagull wheeling in the strong cold winds off a bluff,

good-naturedly chuckling back at me

sharing its delight and freedom.

Warming me with its wisdom,

I’ve ascended a new plateau

on this blustery day

**

up on a ladder today,

the chattering of crows

not so personal…

perhaps just curious

about the strange big bird

and what she’s doing up here, with them

**

once I discouraged a crow

in angry chatter

bullying another crow.

I called hawk and eagle.

It heeded and flew off.

Later, a hawk appeared,

gazing  intently

from atop a telephone pole

**

once, I found the world’s tiniest

hawk feather

waiting for me in the dry grass

I put it in a pouch

**

the birds are my companions

I call to them

working, amusing ourselves

we don’t even care if we’re overheard

you either understand

or you don’t

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