Today we paid a visit to the River Styx. No, not that one; the one out near Cross Creek, where the blue flag iris grow in the spring--and the one named in the prophecy about my friend, Janis Nelson (search for "Mistress of Magic" on this blog).
Just to prove I'm not making this up, here's a picture of the sign at the river crossing.
We decided not to eat a dead bird this year for Thanksgiving, but our meal wasn't completely vegetarian either--Forrest (the cook at our house) made a delicious crab bisque. Then we had a lovely salad of lettuce topped with bleu cheese, pecans, dried cranberries, and mandarin orange slices, topped with balsamic vinaigrette.
The main part of the meal, pictured above, was acorn squash stuffed with white & wild rice and assorted vegetables and topped with bechamel sauce, brussels sprout hash, cranberry chutney, and cornbread. Still to come: pumpkin pie.
This beautiful tree has shed enough leaves so that its "bones" are becoming visible; soon, it will be completely bare. I thought it looked particularly beautiful when I took this shot--about a week ago--its leaves rustling and almost twinkling in the gorgeous afternoon autumn light.
Remember that you can click on the picture for a larger view. Also, you can search the blog for "Steve's sycamore" and all the pictures of this same tree will come up.
It's happened. Hortense, the tortoiseshell feral, has decided that a comfy bed is the place to be, even if it means letting your muzzle be stroked by a human.
I honestly never thought this day would ever come. However, Forrest--who earned the nickname "Chicken Jah" a few years ago for his rapport with some free-ranging near-dinosaurs--has managed to lure this most-feral-of-all-ferals to the futon.
Also in the picture: Bootsy, the trendsetter--the very first of these ferals to become a housecat. And Sake's tail; that's the grey blob between Bootsy and Hortie.
I am always intrigued and amused by the sightings of people—both holy and mundane, as in the Virgin Mary, Mother Teresa, and Elvis—in trees, office windows, food, and other various places.
What interests me is not so much that these images show up—because I know our brains are designed to find patterns in our surroundings, and also because I do believe that there are instances of spiritual energies that manifest in the elements for whatever reason—but how people react to them.
Several years ago in Clearwater, Florida, there was a stunning image of the Virgin Mary that appeared in the windows of an office building. Many people were drawn to the image to wonder and to pray. So many people came that the building was eventually sold to a local church. Unfortunately, a local high schooler decided to toss some ball bearings through the window with a slingshot, and destroyed the image. Too bad; I don't think that kind of destructive energy serves anyone well.
The cypress knee pictured above at first reminded me of the Virgin Mary, but since she's dipping a rather elegant toe toward the aquifer, I think I'll just call her the Goddess of the Springs.
This is my favorite time of the year for afternoon light, but unfortunately my work schedule doesn't give me many opportunities to get out and about at that time of day.
Here's a view of the springs near my house, taken one day last week when I did seize the opportunity to try to get some good shots. I think I was really about an hour too early to get the kind of light that I like—maybe I'll get another chance soon.
In our search for pretty things that give fall color to the yard, we discovered pink muhly grass.
The grass is pretty spectacular when it catches the last rays of the setting sun, as it was doing last week--shown in the picture above. (You can click on the picture for a bigger view.)
And, best of all, muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is native in Eastern North America from about Massachusetts down to Florida and then west along the Gulf Coast--so it's relatively easy to maintain.
Our grass benefits, I'm sure, from being in a part of the yard that gets watered by sprinklers during the hottest part of the summer months.
Usually around the middle of November, our area welcomes hundreds of sandhill cranes who arrive from up north to spend the winter in our marshy areas. We watch the skies, listening for the cranes' distinctive cries.
We have a small, year-round breeding population of cranes that live here, but their numbers mushroom every winter. We haven't heard any cranes yet, but we're watching the skies, and listening...