301: Communing with summer

Today is by far the hottest day we have had this summer.  Even early this morning it was hot and steamy, the air thick with summer.  Instead of taking my usual walk I decided today’s outdoor time would consist of finding a comfortable shady spot and learning about summer through stillness.

Another steamy morning (and steamed up lens on the camera).

The first order of business was to find a good spot.  I checked out all of the old maple trees near the house, finally settling under the purple maple where the ground was soft and comfy, the shade was dark and cool, and I had a view of the pond.

The shade was nice under this maple, but the ground wasn't comfy.

Today's view of the pond from under the purple maple tree

I took a few photos, looking up through the branches of the tree.

I said hello to the moon as the leaves swayed in the wind.

Hello Moon

After a while I put the camera down and settled in, quieting my mind, feeling the hot breeze as it hit my skin, listening to the cicadas and birds as they chattered.  There must be a goldfinch nest in the purple maple tree.  They were holding quite a conversation over my head.

American Goldfinch

One flew over to the baby oak tree to have a look around and possibly check me out to make sure I wasn’t going to cause any trouble.

I had a good look at him too.  As he sat in the baby oak, his friends came out to play.  They flew over the wildflower meadow in that acrobatic, undulating way they have, no doubt attracted to the thistle which is going to seed.  The American Goldfinch is a strict vegetarian. Some barn swallows (carnivores) joined in, swooping over the lawn, drawn by a swarm of insects of some kind (gnats probably).  Hopefully they caught a few deer flies while they were swooping around.  The deer flies have been horrid this year.

I watched the trees dance in the wind, the sunlight playing in the shadows.  I explored this summer day with all of my senses.  I wish I could describe to you what it was like, the place I eventually arrived at just by sitting in the shade of the purple maple tree.  For a short while I was no longer bothered by the heat or the humidity.  Just before leaving my spot, I felt another presence there with me.  I turned around and saw this beautiful creature:

Red Fox

For a few moments we sat and looked at each other.  Then she walked off towards the Future Woods (which is when I finally had the presence of mind to pick up the camera!).


54 Comments on “301: Communing with summer”

  1. tedgriffith says:

    Wow! Thanks for the quiet interlude, very much appreciated! I especially liked the phrase about “learning about summer through stillness”. Rushing around seems to be the norm so much that stillness is almost foreign. Thanks again! 🙂

  2. tjfox says:

    Oh how lovely that you got to have a visit from fox! Even though we have plenty around here, we don’t often get the chance to see them and even then it is rarely up close or for more than a fleeting second or two before it darts off and hides.

    • Robin says:

      It was a wonderful visit, Fox. I’m beginning to think Fox has a lesson for me, showing up so much recently. 😀

      • tjfox says:

        I always try to pay attention when I get an unusual visit or one that happens more often. There is usually something I need to be paying attention to.

  3. bwinwnbwi says:

    Great pictures. As a child, my favorite book was Slip-The Fox. I’ve seen maybe three or four foxes in the wild. A brood of little foxes once (from a distance). And one time, on the grounds of Michigan State University, I followed a fox, actually getting close enough to grab it. I took it back to my rented room, kept it in my bedroom for 24 hours and then released it back into the neighborhood. During that time I called many places looking for a lost pet fox–no luck. I’m not sure it was a pet, it bit me and struggled but no blood was drawn from my arms. Obviously, the whole thing was a bad idea, but it made/makes a good story (and its true). My roommates made me release it. It wasn’t house broken!

    • Robin says:

      Incredible story, Bwinwnbwi. I’m glad your roommates made you release it (especially since it wasn’t house broken!). Have you ever heard a fox calling in the night? It’s an eerie sound. I’ve heard it from a slight distance. I can’t imagine what it would be like if the fox was indoors with me.

      Small world alert: I spent a week at MSU when I was a child at a gymnastics camp. It was my first trip away from home without my parents (and siblings, although I don’t think I missed them much at the time…lol!). It was my first time and place experience with a tornado warning. It was also an extremely hot summer, much like we’re experiencing now.

  4. Being quiet and still around your pond brought nature to you. Fitting title.

  5. jenna says:

    Foxy Loxy!!

  6. judithhb says:

    Thanks for the quiet interlude at the beginning of another busy day here in town.

  7. Oh, you have fox–how exciting! They are starting to come back here but I haven’t seen any of them as of yet. The goldfinch do have a very cute “Tweet,”, don’t they? They’ll eat every seed available on my flowers! Oh yeah, they are very photogenic. NIce captures of them, Robin.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Teresita. 🙂

      That’s one of the things I enjoyed that day — listening to the goldfinches “tweet.” I think they were the only birds out there actively tweeting. It was so hot that the other birds must have been sleeping or otherwise conserving their energy. The goldfinches, on the hand, didn’t seem to mind the heat at all.

  8. bearyweather says:

    Today was our first day in a very long time that was not steamy hot and humid. Looks like you found a good way to survive (I went to school to work where there is air conditioning :-)) I am never going to see a cute fox doing that.

    I agree, the horse flies and deer flies have been really horrible this year … they make going outside very unpleasant.

    Hope our cooler, drier weather gets to you, soon.

  9. boatacrosstheriver says:

    Love that fox! Saw one myself running alongside the creek the other day, right here in the big city. Thank goodness for rivers and creeks — they force a little but of green into our concrete lives.

  10. boatacrosstheriver says:

    Any luck with the Exiting the Woods print or did it turn out too funky?

    • Robin says:

      I left you a note on your blog about it. 🙂

      • boatacrosstheriver says:

        I responded there, too, but what I said was I really love the vortex aspect so whatever happens I want to keep that in it. And the ImageKind option you mentioned sounds good, if that’s no problem for you. I am horrible at technology, but I’ll have someone help me figure it out! Thanks Robin.

  11. carlaat says:

    What a fabulous day! Would have liked to have sat under that maple tree too and enjoyed the finches and fox! Love it!

  12. I love the phrase “the air thick with summer”–not to mention the notion of getting acquainted with summer through stillness.
    Stay cool, my friend!
    Kathy

  13. Marcie says:

    Yup..we’re having the same kind of heat..and the same magical light! Gorgeous images!

  14. Magic…it’s there, but you have to look for it.
    Or, be still, and let it find you…
    Thanks for sharing your magical afternoon.

  15. Karma says:

    Once again you have really captured the feeling of the day. I wonder how long this steamy, heavy heat will be upon us. Great fox encounter!

  16. penpusherpen says:

    beautiful Robin, both your descriptive words and the photo’s combined… gorgeous colours and markings on the Goldfinches…and the fox made a fantastic contribution to the ending of your blog… Ahhh.. sunshine ‘wherefore art thou?’ hast thou forsaken Britain? OH no there you are, peeking out from behind that dark and threatening cloud, looks like rain again!! 😉 Ah well, makes for a green and pleasant land methinks!! xPenx

    • Robin says:

      I think you’re right, Pen. Look how green and pleasant it was here in the Bogs when I was complaining about too much rain. Now things have been turning brown and drying out due to the lack of water.

      I’ll send you some of our sunshine, Pen. 🙂

  17. Pat Bean says:

    As always, your photos impress me. I especially like the first one’s captureof summer. Thanks for bringing nature from your neck of the woods to me and Maggie here at Lake Walcott in Idaho.

  18. Anna says:

    What great images! I especially like the first two photos…. gorgeous and mystic… and the moon shot! Lovely red fox. I enjoyed the post and photos… great title. Oh, I love your header photo too. 🙂

  19. lynnekovan says:

    Lovely description and photos. You described your garden interlude beautifully. Gorgeous fox.

  20. Isn’t it a beautiful moment when you are outdoors, enjoying nature, just “feeling” all that surrounds you, when you look around and find a wild creature observing you? It’s happened to me often while I’ve been gardening and suddenly I see a bird right there, within reaching distance, looking at me. I wonder what they are thinking about us? Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “A penny for your thoughts”! 🙂

  21. hugmamma says:

    Who could want for more…sitting peacefully beneath an oak, chirping birds for company, and a chance meeting with Mrs. Fox. The makings of…

    a beautiful day…a wonderful life. 🙂

  22. Derrick says:

    that first shot is stunning with the light beams shining through!! And good catch on the fox!!

  23. eof737 says:

    What a wonderful stroll through your yard with sights and sounds added to enrich our lives… I loved every photo and story.Awesome job! 🙂

  24. Christine says:

    The first picture has terrific lens flare!

  25. Christine Grote says:

    I’m so jealous. I saw a beautiful red fox running through the snow-covered woods last winter and couldn’t tear my eyes away long enough to grab my camera. Great shots.

    • Robin says:

      I almost missed her, Christine, for the same reason. I was so busy looking at the fox that I didn’t think to grab my camera until almost the last minute.

  26. Dana says:

    How incredible! What a nice reminder that we don’t always have to chase things to enjoy them. 🙂


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