What we see

1956/5th July 2022

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

These pictures of July 5th put me in mind of the famous line from Dylan Thomas’ poem:

“Do not go gentle into that good night”

Our sky frequently rages, at the end of day.

Though quite often it does not follow through with its promise of storms.


While it did not amount to a storm that night, we did get rain, judging from the disheveled appearance of the tiny groundhog that awaited her morning carrot.

And the generally refreshed look of my humble garden.

Gaillardia continues to bloom enthusiastically in spite of some rotten pox it has acquired:

This morning before I could be distracted, I planted yesterday’s purchase, a cone flower.

Tapping the earth gently around it, I remembered what my mother would have said at such a moment:

“Now grow!”

Mum’s plants were always under threat of removal if they did not perform.

There were many things Mum would not tolerate.

Slugs in her gardens had a particularly bad time.

The plants I had at my previous home were often decimated by slugs but I could not bring myself to destroy them.

For a time I kept some plants safe by surrounding them with copper tape. But you can only do so much.

The Washington garden was my first and I think even my mother would have been challenged by the very steep slope and its general “state”.

It was a small parcel of wilderness that rebelled against encroachment. I added a few plants at the periphery, but mostly I was happy to enjoy whatever turned up.

My only regret in leaving Washington was that the property would likely go to someone who would have a different attitude to the surroundings.

Grant called me excitedly one day: “come look!”

Usually he’s spotted a bird or animal. This time it was to view a link he had come across.

It was a real estate listing for that Washington house which had just been re-sold for approximately twice the price I had garnered. Hardly a surprise, considering the changes that had been made.

It was hard to identify the rooms I had lived in for some ten years. Staged for the images, it looked stark and antiseptic. So I stayed detached and unmoved.

But there also were images of the exterior.

Gone the beautiful clematis, gone the rose I had nursed back from the edge. Flowering trees we had encouraged from cuttings. Gone the stunning Japanese maples.

Gone too no doubt, the many garden visitors I so loved. But I could not afford to stay there so I am resolved just to remember the pleasures I enjoyed and hope that those visitors have found refuge elsewhere.

We have a slope here too. It’s a groundhog dorm.

It’s a microcosm of creatures, some of which send up their ambassadors to ingratiate themselves. Or not.

Japanese beetles are defined as a “serious pest”.

Candy-striped leaf hopper. (right)

“Their liquid waste is sweet and attracts other insects.”

No idea who this jolly chap is.

Milkweed is not a thing of great beauty, by human standards (which clearly don’t count for much).

Once the flowers are done, they look a mess but it isn’t a matter of what I like.

It’s what the Monarchs need. It drew a lot of flies this year, many of which overshot their target and ended up indoors, having to be escorted back out.

That episode has passed mercifully, making way for Asian Lady Beetles (not Ladybirds).

Yesterday morning, it was my turn to call Grant to look at what I had noticed, though when he arrived he rather burst my bubble. Apparently my brain had not quite engaged at that point and I was marveling at these teensy tiny creatures that appeared to be “rope climbing”.

Too tiny for my naked eye, but when I looked through my lens they had the form of angels!

Oh yes, Carolyn, for sure!

“Midges!” said Grant.

“Caught in the web!”

“Um, yes. Yes, of course!”


The brain sees what it wishes, I suppose.

Like angels in the milkweed.

My other cone flower was added to the “cemetery plot”:

In clear view of Chucky

But also in my line of sight!

At lunchtime, another curious sighting:

Not an outsized hummingbird, but a Hairy woodpecker drinking from their feeder.

At first I thought she was just perching for a moment, but then I saw her poking at a drinking port.

There are water bowls for thirsty wildlife, so I don’t think she was interested in just having a drink.

Do woodpeckers like sweetened water?

Yes, apparently they do and they have the long tongues which enable them to use a hummingbird feeder.

You learn from observation!

Earlier I observed that the brain sees what it wishes to. I asked Grant what he could see in this cloud. He immediately saw something quite different to me though we could agree.

So what do you see? There are no prizes. Sorry!

And no, I won’t try to tell you you’re in the only 1% who can see those things! (The latest iPhone craze)

9 thoughts on “What we see

  1. The slugs will be your friends, Carolyn, if you feed them, put a plate with cucumber bits, soft bread, unsalted butter, and porridge, all in small bits. I have written an essay “The emotional life of slugs.”


  2. Every time I happen to stop and see your beautiful photos, I get an appreciation for small things. Your photos are always so beautiful.

  3. I really like the colours in your garden. Ah, the cloud photo: At first I saw one of the Seven Dwarfs’ faces in the far left corner (his beard, tiny eyes, a nose and an ear) … but when I went back to look at it again, even I struggled to find my own picture 😉. I guess, even on a motionless picture of clouds, the images can change … now, it only reminds me of candyfloss!

  4. I have to confess to killing hundreds of slugs over the years. I ‘salted’ them. But they ruined so many of my plants!
    Great to see the hedgehog, we have never had one in our garden since we moved to Norfolk.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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