Friday, August 8, 2014

Vermont backyard flowers. Smallest Sounds (Summer sitting in the backyard). South Burlington, Vermont

     I like to sit outside early in the morning before the traffic, airplanes, and temperature rev up, for it is then that one can hear the smallest sounds.

     An early rising bumblebee bends a flower stem spreading pollen about with its hearty wings beating against its tiny body, creating a buzz note of maybe a middle C, causing a *dust bowl effect inside the flower.

     The sun peers over the heads of the Oaks, Black Locust, and Maple trees. I hear it creeping up behind me as it cascades down this side of the tree’s branches and leaves, falling vertically, and then approaching horizontally, chasing the shade, creeping up my back, warming and tickling my bare neck. A light breeze seen but not heard later in the day now whistles quietly, swaying tall uncut virgin grass, shaking grass seeds, their progeny, onto the bedrock. 

 Dainty poppies dance showing off each their own pink, red, orange and peach dresses-I can hear their giggles as they twirl and bow and swirl on the dance floor in delight.

     Bright blue flash and a soft landing announces not Jet Blue, but a Blue Jay landing atop a blackberry plant stake, his wings flapping for a whirling helicopter like landing. An errant mosquito inadvisably warns me of her approach with her soft buzzing. The last sound she hears is the clapping, or should I say clasping of my hands together - squish.
      Squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and lilies, yawn as their large bright yellow flowers open wide-along with red bee balm, they ring the breakfast bell. 

     A nearly loud small sound briefly startles me, steering my attention to the raised bed of strawberry plants. Rustling and scampering little feet tear through the strawberry plants - as though a rhinoceros was charging through the forest - announce a predator with an astounding appetite given its size. As the rustling stops, a strawberry pierces through the canopy followed by its new owner, the predator of my fruit and vegetable gardens-a chipmunk. 
Resting on the edge of strawberry fields forever, the red stain faced chipmunk chomps loudly, irreverent of his mother’s lessons to chew quietly. 

     Queen Ann’s Lace bows in the now bright sunlight, exposing a single tiny red flower in the middle of and surrounded by a multitude of tiny white flowers. A drop of blood from the queen’s pricked sewing finger has stained the white veil. 

No needle through thread sound did I hear, yet I imagined her royal highness admonishing herself with a small indignity following an abrupt silence piercing – Ouch.

     A few more bees, moths, butterflies and birds are now about, though their smallest of sounds are lost amidst the unaware (oblivious) traffic of human over-activity and our big loud sounds.    

     I will continue to stop, look, and listen as long as there are quiet mornings, evenings, and places where the smallest of sounds are pervasive and heard throughout the day, for it seems to me the seemingly purposeless smaller sounds are the most purposeful of all. 

*American bumblebees' "buzz-pollination" or "sonication" — in which the insects grab flower stamens and vibrate their wings, shaking loose sticky pollen.

Note Read about one Vermont native bumble bee we possibly wiped out.
"You don't understand. We didn't kill one or some of them,we killed them ALL". Will this be our legacy?

Bernie publishes essays and photos reflecting Vermont values of Green and Clean and Community. He urges us all to pick up litter and maintain a litter free environment through caring, community, and contribution in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health.   

No cell phone, no smart phone (unless you count tomato cans tied together on a string); what am I missing? We have eyes, and ears, and nature abounds around us- what are we missing? Only what we fail to see and hear, taste, and touch. Its all closer to us than we might realize. Stop, Look, Listen.