July 18, 2009, nine miles.
I felt quite rested today after a good night’s sleep, ready for my GOOD MORNING run. No anxiety today about how I would feel following being rear-ended in a car collision or about careless drivers unaware of runners. I was ready to see SOMETHING…I WANTED to see something…but didn’t know exactly what, but knew I was excited in vivid anticipation to see what my open posture would bring me today. Sure enough, not two blocks into my run, exactly where I have found shells of blue- and white-ivity, observed the prematurely fallen, broken birdlet’s egg, and witnessed the sparrow’s ritual into her end-ness, on the side of the abandoned building of ceramics and furniture stacked high to the ceiling, a butterfly fluttered erratically, although he had a smoothness to his path, from tree, to bush, to weed, to air, to beyond the building. He was handsome in his assured and bold yellow-and-blackness, and after checking http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/, I am only guessing that he is a western tiger swallowtail. I knew immediately that it was gonna be all about bugs and insects today! Oh, he was handsome, he was, and I had to pause out of reverence, though my muscles were not even closely warmed up, to take in the largeness of his beauty in a hot summer, late morning.
When I could see him no longer, I continued on, my eyes open to see not only birds and squirrels, but the insects and bugs in front of them. A mile further, I was approaching a path that takes me briefly into a wooded area when I saw a washer-and-thread shaped copper-penny-flash flit in front of me. I HAD to see what it was and followed its path, zigzagging in a way that would make the neighborhood human inhabitants wonder if they saw me, but I needed to see what this bug was. I hoped that it would land on a nearby tree branch but it chose a car directly in its path. A ladybug! Can you believe it?! A ladybug! A ladybug is not unfamiliar to me, but somehow, the direct sunlight shone on its wings, making it become some kind of magical fairy! A ladybug! How such an everyday bug could seem so extraordinary, so magical in the right light!
In the hot 85-degree temperatures, yards and gardens were bathed in water via sprinklers, but the grass was not the only grateful recipient. Birds also took advantage of the sprinkling waterfalls. What I think of as sparrows were flying through the sprays, walking on wet grass, playing like small children prancing about. I felt bad to have interrupted their play as they flew off as though heading south for the winter when I passed by them.
The lavender continues to bloom magnificently, offering its fragrance to any who will stop, absorb, and breathe. One gathering of blooms I saw hosted at least 50 bees with dragonflies flying about.
At the end of my run, I couldn’t bear to conclude this explorative journey, so I decided to maintain that open posture and see what six- and eight-legged creatures might cross my path for the rest of the day. I took the boys to the neighborhood pool where they swim and splash for hours, which is why I pack drinks and snacks for them. I sit under selected trees in my Rite-Aid folding chair or on the grass when I feel a need to stretch my legs. With my journal at hand and while reading a book that is fast becoming a favorite, in the league of Mary Oliver and Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I became distracted by a bee’s travels as he walked from grass, to cement, to the plastic white lawn-furniture table’s leg, towards the sugary sweetness of my mango jet tea smoothie. I tapped the leg a few times, and, angrily, he jumped to the ground and scurried away. He did return, though, several times, like the magpie who stubbornly returns to my dog’s bowl full of chow, an easy meal had not been for the human blocking its path.
What are those tiny bugs called, I wonder? Those miniscule beings, minute, barely half a pencil point in width and maybe two millimeters long, that crawl on your skin? You are reading or otherwise occupied but you feel a pin prick or several, or the sensation of a sharp razor lightly brushing your skin. Just before scratching, you look down and see these critters and wonder, who are they?
In my Rite-Aid folding chair, another insect soon captured my attention. After bending down, I looked at a bug carrying a geometric pattern on its back with antennas curving like long, black eyelashes, and kneeled, observing, until two boys, probably between the ages of six to eight, strode by, wearing flipflops and swimming trunks in yellow colors and patterns reminiscent of the western tiger swallowtail butterfly. The ice machine at the pool is a source of fascination for kids, and these boys were not immune to its draw. Each grabbed a plastic cup seen at picnics, filled them with ice, and started back to the pool before being distracted by a movement in the brick pattern between the concrete of the outdoors lobby area and the fenced pool. Within the cracks was an ant, huge in their (and my) eyes, a centimeter long, so they stooped over, marveling at it, before being distracted by a bee just a few inches away. Remembering the sting of bees, they considered how their ice might affect the bee and started spitting the iced water in its direction. A lost ice cube was retrieved and returned to one boy’s mouth before he resumed his deliberate spitting. After several trips to the ice machine, a third boy joined them in their task, asking if the bee “can still use its stinger?”
They returned their attention to the bee, or where they thought the bee should be, and saw, much to their dismay, that it had fled. For fifteen minutes, until their dad announced it was time to leave, they combed the bricks, the cement, the grass for that ONE bee, different than others (they would know it if they saw it, they declared) like I combed the fur of my dog for ticks in those hot and humid Kentucky summers.
After a few hours, it was time to pack up, my boys’ goggles, towels, and sunscreen, and my books, journal, and smoothie cup. I felt content about the day, a very GOOD MORNING day for me. I liked being in a posture of receiving whatever nature may bring, a posture I name GRATITUDE.
Although I do wish I was more familiar with the names of butterflies, insects, and bugs. Could confidently identify the chittering of birds. Hmmm. Perhaps a trip to the bookstore is in order.
LL, 7/18/2009. Prevail.