We are almost two months into the grand experiment and I must say, I’m having a lot of fun.
Every day there is some new amazement; some days have multiples of them.
I’m developing rituals since I’m a creature of routine. Opening the barn in the morning and closing it at night is sort of a way to bracket the day. The other day, this guy appeared by the barn door. I kept a few books out, thankfully, so I went to my – no kidding – Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife book and have tentatively identified this as an eastern spade-foot toad. I think he or she is really cute! It’s 7 am and already I’m thrilled.
Then, walking up the path, I stop for a moment and just listen. I hear some rustling of leaves, close. I squat and peer and what emerges from the woods but a walking-stick. I’ve seen lots of them around, now, but this is the first actual movement I’ve witnessed. Not one, but two walking-sticks, actually. I’ve looked up walking-sticks and have learned that they eat leaves and are related to praying mantis. In some species of walking-sticks, the females don’t need males to reproduce, they essentially self-clone. People keep them as pets (accidental releases have the same kind of consequences as boa constrictor releases in the Everglades) because their life cycle is about as long as a school year and they don’t “need” a lot of room. I’ve seen them stay in exactly the same place for hours at a time.
I saw a summer tanager for the first time in my life recently.
I’m living the dream. How many people can say that? I am a ridiculously fortunate woman. Since I know practically nothing about the natural world, this experience is rich in intellectual stimulation. I want to know everything right now! Everything about this place offers creative possibilities.
And, there have been more thrills and chills, I must say. I’ve been almost wiped out on the roads three times now. I don’t know if Missouri has a insecurity complex, but they call almost every road around here a highway. The roads are in fantastic condition to this ex-Michigander. Last night, we drove home lit only by the sliver of a moon and stars everywhere on twisty hilly roads. In my head there is the mantra: Respect the center line.
We’ve seen gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.
Even on this dying planet, the beauty and diversity of life is awe-inspiring, sort of a trite word, but I can’t think of one that describes what I feel inside when I look around me. I look at the world now, knowing that we are in the Sixth Great Extinction, and feel gratitude that at least I get this peek before it’s gone.
That is enough.