Dorothy should have been at my house yesterday. In her red shoes. On the yellow brick road. Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion tagging along.
The Wizard of Oz has always been one of my favorite movies of all time. When I was a child, I always watched it every time a television station broadcast it, usually at Thanksgiving. My kids grew up watching it as well.
We often got a kick out of singing, “Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road, follow, follow, follow …” in our best munchkin voices. One of the lines from the movie that has stuck with me over the years is when Dorothy and her odd friends chant, “Lions and tigers and bears…oh my!”
I had an “Oh My!” moment yesterday on Page 1, Chapter 9, in my Opportunity book. On my front porch.
Hubby arrived home from work, changed his clothes, and ventured off to his civic club meeting. Home alone for a couple of hours, with just kitty for company, I decided to phone one of my best friends, Leigh, and chat awhile. My front porch swing beckoned me, so I grabbed a glass of iced tea, my cell phone, and dialed her.
We chatted and gabbed and talked….as we always do….for quite some time. Still full daylight, dusk wasn’t falling yet, and I fully intended to stay parked on the swing in the cool evening air discussing life with my long-time friend until one of two things occurred – either darkness descended or hubby came home.
But my porch swing reverie was cut short when I experienced a major “OH MY!” moment. Right in the middle of an interesting story Leigh was telling, I noticed my cat scurrying from the sidewalk onto the porch. I thought it was odd that she was kind of slinking along and came immediately to me. Then I saw it. OH MY!
A black snout emerged from around the corner where our front porch meets the garage. My first thought was “Whose big black dog is running loose?”
Then I felt those fingers of fear gripping me and it felt like my heart jumped into my throat when I realized it wasn’t a dog! That snout belonged to a really large head and that head was attached to an animal way too big to be a canine. It was a BEAR!
A black bear lumbered into full view about 40 feet or so from where I sat. OH MY! I literally froze on the swing, whispered into my cell phone in a tiny, quiet voice, “I’m not going to talk because I’m freaking out right now.” Leigh said, “What’s wrong?” And I couldn’t answer as I sat perfectly still, eyes locked on that black creature.
The bear took a couple steps, looked right at me, and back tracked a step or so. I was terrified it was going to come up on the porch when it took another step forward. Right then, a neighbor across and down the road from our house, started mowing along his steep driveway. The noise of his tractor evidently frightened the bear enough that it retreated and disappeared around the corner of my garage. OH MY!
I gathered up enough wits to grab my iced tea (didn’t want to entice that bear ONTO the porch for something sweet) and to sprint to the front door, rush inside the house – the cat beat me in though! – and lock the door. Once inside, heart pounding and feeling totally incredulous, I told Leigh, “Oh. My. Gosh. I just saw a BEAR in my yard!”
And then she freaked out and, good friend that she is, listened as I gushed frantically about what just transpired and how it scared the daylights out of me! OH MY! I nervously looked out my windows, but the bear wasn’t in the front yard. I went to the back of the house, looked out the kitchen windows, still babbling – probably incoherently – to my friend. No bear there either.
Where did it go? I can only assume it hurried down the hill behind my house and into the brush. It seemed gone, but I fought off fear that it would come back. Leigh was just relieved that I wasn’t going crazy or seriously harmed or something. She laughed to calm my nerves and jokingly told me at first she couldn’t figure out what she had said that freaked me out so much. OH MY!
Needless to say, I stayed in the house until hubby came home then repeated my “OH MY” moment for him. I told him I thought my heart might have finally started beating normally, but that my “OH MY” moment had startled the heck out of me. He couldn’t believe it either. We’ve lived in this house for over 11 years now, and we have never, ever seen a bear in our yard – lots of other critters, never a bear!
We suspect this creature of the wild had visited our garden and was making its way to a scrumptious treat on the other side of our house. That’s where the raspberry bushes are and they just started producing their second crop of berries.
As I’m writing this post, I’m discovering two things. First, I didn’t have my camera on the porch with me, so I don’t have a picture of my visitor, so this picture I found will suffice (it looked just like this!).
And secondly, I don’t want to feed the bears!!! I don’t want them visiting my yard or coming so near my house for a free lunch! I prefer seeing bears from a distance or at the zoo, not a few feet from my front porch swing!
And I’ll tell you another thing….it’s bad enough being startled by a bear….but if I see a lion in my yard…or a tiger….I’m moving!! Lions and tigers AND bears?? OH MY! Dorothy, move over, I’m coming back to Kansas.
Birds plummeted through the sky like they were being shot out of a slingshot or a rocket.
Last evening after dinner, hubby went outside to finish mowing our two-plus acre yard. I plunked down on the front porch swing, enjoying the cool evening air and engrossed in a book.
I didn’t pay much attention to hubby’s mowing job, but the steady roar of our trusty John Deere lawn tractor sounded in my ears, as well as a car or truck passing by. An occasional car horn toot to sound hello greetings from a friend driving past caused me to raise my head from my book and wave.
Suddenly the droning stopped and I heard my husband yell for me. I stood up, turned around because he was in the side yard behind me, wondering what was wrong. He was just sitting on the tractor with a goofy grin on his face and I couldn’t figure out why he wanted my attention. And then I saw them. Birds!
The birds were going crazy! A flock of birds were swooping, dive-bombing and coming awfully close to my husband’s head! They circled around him; they flew straight up into the air and then made a beeline for the ground. They quickly darted through the air, floating and turning, soaring and swerving.
Hubby laughed, “Look at the bird acrobatic show!” I watched as they catapulted through the air, lunging and plunging, flying and diving each time. I felt certain they were attacking him because they flew extremely close to him.
“What’s going on?” I asked. “Why are they angry at you? Is there a nest nearby or what?”
“No,” he replied. “This happens every time I mow. I think I’m stirring up all the bugs in the ground and the birds are flocking in to eat them.”
A feeding frenzy. Not angry birds, hungry birds foraging for a tasty treat, thanks to the human on the noisy mower.
Hubby shrugged, started up the tractor, and proceeded with his lawn manicure job. And the birds kept up their acrobatic performance. I imagine there were some satisfied songbirds with full tummies.
I sat back down on the porch swing, picked up my book, listened to the tractor’s constant hum, inhaled the scent of freshly cut grass, and a big satisfied sigh escaped from me. Ah, life in the country…. no annoying noise, no loud neighbors, no steady stream of traffic, no distractions, no addicting games like Angry Birds.
Just a simple evening enjoying the simple things in life, including a few hungry birds. In my Opportunity book, Chapter 8, Page 26, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You awaken to sunshine streaming in your window accompanied by wafts of fresh, clean air gently blowing through the screen.
You realize it was so cool during the night, you pulled the quilt up over yourself and you’re snuggling inside it because it feels a little chilly.
No harsh buzzing of the alarm clock rings in your ears because it’s your day off work, but you do catch the lilting melody of song birds coming from outside.
You leave your place of slumber and glance out the open window to see the most glorious baby blue sky decorated with bits of cottony fluff here and there. A dazzling sun gleams from the east causing the yard to look resplendent in verdant trees and grass.
The temperature hovers around the upper 60’s with an expected high in the mid 70’s. Throwing open the patio door and kitchen windows invites a cooling breeze into the house refreshing enough to compel you to linger at the kitchen table with your soothing hot cup of tea. You observe a tiny sparrow hopping along the deck railing and notice butterflies chasing each other, flitting hither and yon.
There’s a faint rustle of leaves as the cooling wind blows through the trees. You hear cicadas chirping, morning song birds, and occasionally a car driving by. But that is all. It’s peaceful and serene. It’s beautiful and picturesque. It’s life here at Mama’s Empty Nest.
And that’s my idea of a picture perfect morning.
That’s what it’s been like here the last few days and I can’t express how much I enjoy mornings like these. Quote anthologist Terri Guillemets wrote this: “I used to love night best but the older I get the more treasures and hope and joy I find in mornings.” I couldn’t agree with her more, especially on mornings like these.
Yesterday all day I found myself singing “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from the musical Oklahoma. I’ve actually lived in that state and while I’m sure native Okies believe their mornings are the most spectacular, I beg to differ. Rising to incredibly hot temperatures isn’t my idea of a beautiful morning, and that’s what I remember most about summertime there. I’d much rather sing about mornings right here in my home state.
Treated to a repeat performance of my picture perfect morning today, my mind’s card catalog of songs brought up “It’s a Beautiful Morning” by The Rascals.
“It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhh
I think I’ll go outside a while an jus’ smile
Just take in some clean fresh air boy
Ain’t no sense in stayin’ inside
If the weather’s fine an’ you got the time
It’s your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day
It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhh”
Morning songs just keep playing in my head on this magnificent Page 11, Chapter 8, in my book of Opportunity. Cat Stevens’ “Morning Has Broken” comes to mind. As soon as I run through that song, a Herman’s Hermits tune, “I’m Into Something Good,” follows with “Woke up this morning, feelin’ fine, there’s something special on my mind.”
When I dig a little deeper in my song file, I find myself singing “Good Mornin” from that marvelous old movie, Singing in the Rain. That tune reminds me of crooning my version to our awakening children when they were young: “Good mornin’, Good mornin’, You slept the whole night through, Good mornin’, Good mornin’ to you!”
And lastly, I find myself humming an old English folk song called “Early One Morning.” I don’t recall when I first heard that song because it seems like it’s always been in my memory. “Early one morning, just as the sun was rising, I heard a young maid singing in the valley below. Oh, don’t deceive me, Oh never leave me. How could you use a poor maiden so?”
What about you? What morning song are you singing on this fine day?
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It’s the evening of the 4th of July. After a busy weekend, I’m resting in my overstuffed easy chair in our family room with my feet propped up on the ottoman. The French door leading out to our backyard deck is flung wide open letting in a nice cool summer evening breeze.
Hubby is watching something about the Revolutionary War (he’s a real history buff) on the History Channel on TV and I’ve been catching up with my blog reading and Facebook friends’ news. A couple of hours ago, we stood on the deck waving goodbye to our son and his girlfriend who were here for the weekend. They’re headed back to the other side of our state where she lives and the state next door where he lives.
Mama’s Empty Nest is quiet once more after a weekend of young people coming and going. We hosted a picnic for some of son’s college friends, now married and immersed in their careers in the city near us.
The sound of young adults laughing and enjoying conversations and games made Papa and Mama happy. But now, everyone is gone, the sun is setting, and all I hear are birds singing. Sounds so peaceful, doesn’t it?
All of a sudden, this strange VERY LOUD metallic sounding noise pierces the silence. Startled, I ask hubby, “What in the world is THAT?”
He listens, shrugs his shoulders as the noise escalates and we realize it is coming from the sky above our house! Our first thought, because we are in its flight pattern, is it’s the Med-Evac helicopter which life flights serious emergency patients from our local hospital to city trauma centers.
But no, the sound becomes absolutely deafening like a jet – a very low flying jet – getting closer and closer and louder and louder until it seems like it’s going to crash into our house!
Hubby runs out onto the deck and I think, “Should we head for the basement instead??” The noise overwhelms us so much, it panics our cat and she darts wildly into the house.
My instinct is to run and hide somewhere, but instead I follow hubby outside with my heart pounding so forcefully I truly thought it was going to jump out of my chest! I’m literally terrified and expecting to experience impact when an airplane falls from the sky and lands on my house or my home is obliterated from a falling bomb! (Yes, that thought really did run through my mind!) Suddenly we see what looks like a fighter jet whoosh by in the sky.
So much for a quiet evening at home. The jet zooms off towards the city, and we still don’t know why it was flying up here in our rural neck of the woods. All I know is it took a while for my heart to resume a normal beat, I really was that frightened.
No need for fireworks at our house on the 4th of July! We had our own experience of “rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air.”
The experience made me thankful though (after I calmed down!) because I realized how very blessed and fortunate I am. My family and most likely yours too has never, ever had to live in a war-torn country where the ear-splitting sound of a jet plane flying over to drop explosives on your home is as common as daily life.
It also reminded me how horrifying that day in 2001 on a September morning was and how unbelievably petrifying it must have been to experience that shocking event first-hand.
And I’m realizing today in the 6th chapter of my book called Opportunity on Page 5 that I take my blissful home for granted. I take peace for granted. I take life for granted. And it all could vanish in an instant.
So I’m thankful to God my Father for the unbelievable blessings He’s bestowed on our country for so long and I pray for His continued favor and protection for all of us.