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“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go”…….screeeeeeeeech…………..whoa, wait! Christmas is officially 57 days away. We haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet! Back up the truck (or the calendar pages), we haven’t even hit the month of November.
But the scene which greeted me outside my house this morning enticed me to sing Christmas carols. That’s because it is snowing here at Mama’s Empty Nest! A pristine white overlay cloaks the still green grass in our yard, not a usual occurrence for October here in my area of the state. About an inch or so already accumulates on the maple trees that haven’t dropped their coats of pretty fall colors yet. It’s an odd sight.
The weather forecasters predicted this, but I scoffed when I heard their report. I expected maybe some snowy bits mixed in with rain, but not this.
Not the ground covered with a fluffy white blanket, the outside world wrapped in colorless cotton, and a steady dusting of Suzy Snowflake and all of her friends continuing to descend.
My house looks as if it’s ensconced in an unremitting snow globe, one where the snow never stops and settles.
I’m posting pictures. I know it isn’t Wordless Wednesday, but for me on this 29th page in Chapter 10 of my Opportunity book, I am shocked. Let’s just call this Speechless Saturday.
Oh well… “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful and since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”
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.
Every night I think there is a party going on in my yard.
It’s like the wildlife in our area borrow the line, “Let the wild rumpus begin!” from the children’s book, Where the Wild Things Areby Maurice Sendak.
I know this because I have seen wild critters roaming in our yard, I have smelled them, and our cat morphs into her security sentinel mode as evening descends.
If we allow her to remain outside after dusk, she mans her “post,” one side or another of our deck where she watches the lawn for trespassers.
When we force her to come inside (because she has tangled with skunks one too many times and she is no longer allowed outside after dark!), she sits for hours in our upstairs bedroom window. Her cat eyes trained on the front landscape from her lofty perch, she scans it for any perpetrators.
Skunks frequent our yard regularly. In the summer when we sometimes sleep with our windows wide open for fresh air, I have awakened often in the middle of the night to a horrible smell.
Our friend, Mr. Skunk. Why he chooses to spray his offensive odor near our house, I do not know, except I wonder if he runs into all the other party animals romping through our lawn, possibly those rowdy raccoons.
Occasionally I suffer from bouts of insomnia. I’m one of those people who can’t drink or eat anything with caffeine after 7 p.m. or I can be sure I’ll spend a mostly sleepless night and I don’t live in Seattle!
One night after tossing and turning for a couple of hours, I meandered downstairs to the family room to read around 2 a.m. I was startled to see the motion detector light flash on our back deck and something walk past the patio door. When I looked out, a little fearful about what I might see, a possum stared back at me.
He had climbed up several steps, walked past my open (but screened) door, sauntered across the deck, and descended down the stairs on the other side. I really can’t imagine why he took this path, since there was nothing on my deck to entice him up there!
The daytime hours reveal just as many creatures using our acreage as a thoroughfare as those nocturnal critters. We’ve seen groundhogs, rabbits, moles and mice, muskrats, snakes, and even a snapping turtle.
My kids also once saw a bear in our area, but I’m happy to report that’s one animal I haven’t laid eyes on yet, thankfully (except for the zoo)! Twice now I’ve seen a little fox scurry through on his way and we also have had families of wild turkeys.
Did I ever tell you about the time a turkey flew smack dab into the side of our house during a snowstorm and landed kerplunk, dead as a doornail, on our deck? Yep, that happened.
Imagine getting up one morning, hearing a loud whump against your house, and finding a dead turkey covered with snow lying on your deck. And it wasn’t even Thanksgiving! Life in the country!
And then there are the white-tailed deer. They are abundant in our neck of the woods and every fall they seem to go berserk. It’s the rutting season and later in the fall, hunters will stake out their tree stands in the woods, waiting for their prey. This makes the deer crazy – literally.
You never know when a sweet little Bambi is going to plow straight into your car while you are traveling 45-65 mph. I imagine the damage done to vehicles in my home state just from deer collisions is staggering.
I speak from personal experience. Just this morning at o’dark thirty as I was on my way to a local school, one of those wild things emerged from the thick woods and darted across the road directly in front of me. It was dark and it was raining and I was on a country road. I’ve had more close calls like that than I can remember.
I usually don’t worry too much about hitting the deer, I worry more about the deer hitting me because that’s what has occurred to our family twice since we’ve moved here. The first time happened to me in my two-month old car.
A doe literally appeared out of nowhere and slammed into the left front bumper of my car. She fell down, scrambled dizzily to her feet, and I was certain she was going to run into me again. That one caused $2000 in damage to my new car.
Last year, shortly after middle daughter bought herself a brand new car, she was tooling down the highway minding her own business when BAM! Bambi rammed into the driver’s back side of her car, putting a huge dent in her lovely new vehicle, and sending broken glass and deer fur raining all over daughter’s passengers and the inside of her car. She was just very fortunate that no one was injured.
I know there are a lot of animal lovers out there who think it is cruel to hunt and kill these wild creatures, but I’m not one of them.
Hunting season will be here soon and here’s what I say – “Let the wild rumpus begin!”
“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” as Mr. Rogers would say –my neighborhood shown below to be exact.
I love it when a summer day arrives like today promises to be. Days like this remind me of scripture from the prophet Isaiah, chapter 55, verse 12 ~ “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
On a day like today, it does feel like the hills are bursting forth in songs of praise to our Father God and the trees are clapping their hands in joy.
This day has delivered clusters of cushion-like cottony clouds floating around in a sea of brilliant blue sky. Mr. Sun splendidly shines down on our little two acres of green earth but isn’t scorching us today as the temperature is expected to be around 79 degrees. Low humidity makes it perfectly pleasant to be outside.
Pretty pink posies mixed with yellows, reds, whites and purples decorously dot our deck, porch and flower garden.
Butterflies of more than one variety flit and frolic around the bountiful butterfly bush. Zippy little hummingbirds drink nourishing nectar from blissful blossoms.
A profusion of produce proudly waits to be harvested from the garden.
On a day like today, it makes me just want to sing and praise God, Creator of all, for His handiwork. Just thinking He created all of this for us to enjoy and savor makes me feel so very, very loved and thankful!
And on this masterpiece of a day, marvelously manifested from our Master, I will be blessed to feast and fellowship with some of my favorite people, my family. My husband and I will heartily host a homecoming picnic with our son, who arrived from out-of-state last night, both of our daughters, sisters, and brother-in-law.
It really is a beatifically beautiful day in the neighborhood!