A Goose Lake morning

Hi everyone,

Yesterday morning I looked out a kitchen window to our back yard and at the solitary figure of our once majestic maple tree. It now stands bare, stripped of its limbs, enduring the slow, public ignominy of losing its remaining bark. Rotting pieces lie around its base, adding a somber setting to the process. One day before long the trunk will stand like a statue to its former self and will be beautiful again. Not yet though. I look at it often and wish it good speed.

Yesterday morning I saw something different around the old tree, two things. One, the sun pointed out a spider web glistening from a brick pillar toward some distant anchor point.

Two, a dandelion stood among the shards of decaying bark at the base of the tree. And those observations were related. The dead tree, the dandelion, and the spider were all part of the same picture. You can’t see it because of my inadequate effort to shoot through glass, but one end of a web strand is attached to a dandelion stem! Imagine how much else we don’t know about the world around us.

I love Goose Lake. My coffee never tasted better.

The report from Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

There’s a sense of urgency around Goose Lake this time of year. The season of life is winding down.

Before many more weeks the leaves, though pretty for a time, will die and litter the ground, leaving bare limbs to beg for mercy when the winds of winter come chilling. Blossoms with their life-giving nectar will wither and perish. Most of the bees and other insects will die, too. Last week, honeybees swarmed around my hummingbird feeder and drove the hummingbirds away. This week, the birds are sipping alone. It’s the season when geese grow restless. They leave the lake by morning to forage in neighborhood fields and return at twilight, announcing their presence with noisy reunions. They form V-squadrons as if rehearsing for migration.

Most of the butterflies look weary now. Swallowtails with tattered wings is the norm. Eggs were laid sometime ago. Yesterday I saw a small green caterpillar on a geranium plant. A spider was on it. The caterpillar wasn’t dead yet but like the season, it will be soon enough. Butterflies and other insects that emerge this late in the year are doomed to waste their freshness but I’m grateful to see them.

Last night we noticed the first orb spider of the year. These artists have been there all along, silently adding to their girth. Now it’s time to construct their magnificent silk creations and turn our low limbs and shrubs into a gallery of their work.

Goose Lake is preparing to change its wardrobe. We’ll be watching, as always.

Imagine that

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I opened the lid of the pool trap to remove leaves and other debris pulled into it since the previous day. In addition to leaves, I sometimes find surprises. Yesterday, I discovered a toad sitting atop a wad of leaves as well as a cricket popping all over the place seeking a way out. I set the toad out and watched to see if it was okay. Then I scooped up the cricket and carried it in my hand across the pool to a safer spot.

On the way across the pool, the cricket began to talk to me in a high-pitched, rapid delivery that made it necessary to bring it closer to my ear to follow what it was saying. It was a remarkable occasion.

chrrrrrr chrrrrr well that was horrible chrrrrr horrible just chrrrr awful with that chrrrr chrrrr foul toad staring at me and I knew that tongue chrrrr chrrrrrrrrrrr would fly out any second and yank me into that chrrrr that chrrrr that terrible mouth and chrrrr I’d be gone just like that but then you came along and off went the chrrrr chrrrr chrrrr toad and then you got me in your giant hand and I thank you for save chrrrr for save chrrrrr for saving me from a chrrrr squishy awful death and I know you’re a giant because I’ve seen giants before why just look at chrrrr at chrrrr just look at chrrrr the size of your giant hand and your skin is soft and chrrrrrrrrrrrrr kind and now just look at that toad of doom sulking over there where you put it down just chrrrrr sitting there all grumpy and pouty by itself like it got robbed or something and that tells you chrrrr so much about the character of a chrrrrrr chrrrrrr chrrrrr chrrrrr toad and where are my manners my name is chirpy they call me that chrrrr because everyone says I chrrrr talk a lot I always have a lot to say

I attempted to say something but the cricket had more to say.

that awful chrrrr toad has chrrrr eaten three of my chrrrrrrrrrrrr cousins just speared them with that chrrrr chrrrr tongue that flies out chrrrr zooms out of its foul mouth chrrrrrrrr and grabs you and you suddenly disappear down into the creature’s stomach chrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr and I can’t think about chrrrr chrrrrr chrrrrr think about chrrrr what it’s like chrrrr down chrrrrr there and that’s what you saved me from so I know you are a good giant and my friend caty will chrrrrr thank you too when I tell him because chrrrr we all hate that chrrrr that chrrrr that chrrrr chrrrr toad and caty and I don’t speak the same language because he’s a catydid and I’m chrrrr a cricket chrrrr but we are still best friends chrrrr and toads eat katydids too and so do chrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr so do chrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr bats

and katy’s own dear mother got chrrr chrrr chrrr chrrrr eaten by a bat two nights ago and katy and I watched it chrrrr happen when his mother was flying from one tree to another and this chrrrrrrrr this chrrrrrrrr chrrrrrr this this this bat swooped down out of nowhere and chrrrr zapped his mother and then the chrrr monster flew over to a giant’s umbrella and took a chrrrr chrrrr took a chrrrr chrrrr nap like nothing had happened and that tells you chrrrrr a lot about the chrrrrr character of a bat and next very evening a giant let it go and we chrrrrrrrrr could not believe it

so anyway you are my hero for chrrrr saving me from the toad and setting me down in this chrrrr safe place I can’t wait to tell my mom about chrrrr everything that chrrrr happened and tonight I’m going to get my cousins and chrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr chrrrrrrrrrrrr we will sing to you and you won’t know me from the others chrrrrr but I’ll be singing loud as I can for the good giant so chrrrrr bye for now and chrrrrr thank you chrrrrr chrrrr chrrr chrr ch

You had to be there to appreciate all that happened. Last night we listened to the crickets singing, same as always, but somehow last night the chorus sounded different. One voice was louder than the others. Probably my imagination.

Going bat zip at Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

Yesterday evening I opened the patio umbrellas shortly before our guests arrived. In doing so I disturbed the rest of a neighbor here at Goose Lake.

At first it made no movement, much like anyone else who has just been awakened and isn’t ready yet to accept reality. It remained on top of the umbrella with its eyes shut. Sandy was setting the table two feet below it until I invited her to join me at one side so she could look up and see our guest.

Finally, one wing extended. It turned its head and opened its eyes. I was reminded of a human, throwing out an arm to stretch and slowly looking around as sleep retreated. A second after I took this picture, it sped off and disappeared into the growing dusk.

Bat Awakening

Whoa. Hey. What’s going on?
This isn’t where I made my bed
When I stopped here to rest at dawn. 
How did I get up here instead?
I don’t like the looks of this.
What a way to end a trip
Those creatures ruined my peaceful bliss.
I’m out of here. Gone. Zip.
(c) 2022 David L. Harrison, all rights reserved