Do as you would…

1933/1st August 2022

“Good evening, missus. Are you coming out?”

Little Red was having a snack on the path when I wanted to go out to look at the evening sky.

She took another nut, then fled to the bushes as I opened the door. She moves so fast, sometimes I think she’s actually a shape-shifter.

Our sky is often very dramatic but I love the peace of a summer’s evening.

The simplest cloud formations.

A lingering contrail all that’s left of a passing flight.

The deepening hues as night descends.

Drama has its place, of course.

Most summer afternoons show plenty of menace but it’s mostly false promises.

A nice thunderstorm would have been quite welcome yesterday.

But by sunset, the sky was clear.

Tomorrow’s another day. I can only milk a blistered toe for so long!

While waiting for the weeping toe to dry up, I wasn’t completely confined to quarters and when I saw this chap on a window I had to hop on out to say hi.

We hear cicadas all the time, but I haven’t seen one since I was a kid at school in Cambodia.

Some of the girls used to catch them. At night, after lights out, they could make them sing by squeezing their body in the right place.

It annoyed the nuns.

A source of fun at in a rather un-amusing period.

Possibly not for the captive insect.


Since I was out, I gimped up to the Rose of Sharon.

My garden shoes had rubbed a hole in my left foot so I was stepping: left toe, right heel, left toe, right heel….

If anyone saw me they would think I am a serious drinker.

Perhaps I’ll go back to wearing my muck boots.

Bit hot, but more stable.

One of the blooms was a day old. It looked so frail, ephemeral.

But for one*, my mother’s hibiscus flowers lasted a single day. She picked them early each morning, placing them in a box which went into the fridge.

In late afternoon, Mum inserted thin bamboo sticks into the flowers that she then arranged in a big bowl of green leaves for my parents to enjoy for the evening.

*It was called: “Two-day pink.”

Mum loved flowers the way I love animals. She hated to see flowers damaged by bad weather or poor care and when she had cut flowers, she kept them going to the bitter end, not wanting to discard them.

Like most people, I love the sentiment of being sent flowers.

But there is something sad about picked flowers. Sort of like caged birds. I know it’s not the same thing, but just as you would probably never see most birds in the wild, you would not see many flowers unless you had a large garden.

And just as I would opt not to see the bird, I prefer to see flowers still attached to their plant.

Since I have owned a garden, I have come to appreciate flowers in a whole different way.

It makes me happy to watch the activity around flowers.

Just now, two little white butterflies are flitting about together over the buddleia. Most days this time of year, I catch sight of a Monarch butterfly and follow its flight around the garden, up over the roof and then back again. I always talk to it. It cannot possibly understand, but how do we know whether or not, on some level, there is communication?

Butterflies are so special.

They are so delicate, so beautiful, so totally amazing.

And they are so totally beyond the possibility of communication or comprehension.

How could such a fragile, perfect creature ever understand something as enormously clumsy and imperfect as a human being?

There are people, I know, who are capable of inter-species communication. And there are many who profess to be.

What a divine gift and what sacrilege to falsely claim it.

Coming down from the Rose of Sharon, I noticed little purple flowers in among the grass and when I downloaded the pictures I was able to appreciate what my eyes cannot see without help.

“Self-heal prunella” says PlantNet.

This is one of the pleasures of modern technology. Until quite recently, I would not have had the chance to observe so many microscopic living things right here in my garden.

Coming in this morning, I saw a tiny movement on the door post. Squinting, I was able to identify a tussock moth caterpillar.

“Oh you don’t want to go in there!” I said, fetching a leaf to move it. Many caterpillars cause rashes and I am certain they do not benefit from human touch.

With caterpillar on the leaf, I turned to take it out but somehow the dangling lens cap of my camera swung round. Down went leaf, caterpillar and all.

For the next ten minutes I grovelled on the doormat searching. All curled up, a tussock moth is seriously small and blended perfectly with the mat.

But I could not bare the thought of stepping on it. To that tiny creature, I was the size of Jupiter. Maybe not quite, but it made me aware of being such an oaf.

Caterpillar was re-rescued and placed in a flowerbed.

When you become aware of living things, you should also treat them as you would wish to be treated, no?

Next concern for the day…a dozy groundhog. Really dozy.

It’s a little hard to see in still photos but the little head kept sinking, as if the owner was falling asleep. Just like me in oh so many college lecturers. I’ve seen this happen before but I don’t know if it’s unusual.

One of the flowers my mum always especially liked was zinnias. I’m not sure why, but they were not my favourite. I think I considered the petals less dainty because they are not as fragile as most.

Which is possibly why Mum liked them. I suspect they are hardier and more long-lived.

Since I started growing them, I’ve re-evaluated my opinion.

They are pert and pretty and bright.

6 thoughts on “Do as you would…

  1. I talk to all sorts of animate and inanimate beasts and objects. Some respond. Most don’t, but that is no good reason to cease talking to them. I find trees are very consoling and can accept any amount of troubles and woes and still remain joyous.

    1. I once had a strange experience with a dog. Somehow I read someone else’s thought about the dog “Get away from me”. It was a very special dog but how I managed to “hear that person’s thoughts, I’ve no idea. Immediately after she made a fuss of the dog and said how much we loved it. It was extremely strange, but I know I didn’t dream it!!

  2. We don’t have Cicadas, which is just as well. (For them) My wife would hate them near the house like that, and they would be obliterated by the sole of one of her sandals.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Yes, your flowers are surely pretty and bright – the zinnias are beautiful! And I’m surprised that those massive clouds did not deliver a single drop 👀 … hopefully some rain will come soon.

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