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Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Very Bunny Tale

One misty moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man...

So goes the rhyme. But what I met was neither old, nor man. I set off on my morning walk as usual, admiring the pale yellowness of the mist enveloping all the trees. As I thought of walking up to see the sunrise over Southgate (love the alliterativeness of that phrase), a hare jumped away a few feet in alarm.  I stopped.

It watched me unflinchingly, and started to make little clicking sounds with its tongue. What was it saying, I wondered. Then it bent its head and started to lick its neck. I watched for a few more minutes (or was it seconds), continued to amble. I was suddenly aware that a very tiny something not more than a foot away from my feet, scurried into the shade of the pines. A baby bunny!

Mommy must have been instructing him. "Stay still, the human will pass by without noticing. Then move to the safety of the trees."

I left them to their breakfasts, and walked further down. Two more hares sat on the crumbling asphalt of a driveway, just beyond a line of untidy hedge. One browsed on the weeds in the potholes, moving slightly stiffly, while the other crouched, watching. The stiff movement caught my attention, and I watched them for a couple of minutes. The hare with the stiff leg moved around slowly. I thought initially that it might have been age, then realized that it was possibly hurt in the leg.

On, past the house with a newly planted 'Home Run' rose, complete with labelling from the pot, down towards the line of trees separating both halves of the road. I froze.

A baby bunny froze with me, and her watchful mother. The baby was right at the road's edge, munching on the weeds that lined it. The mother was in the grass, doing likewise.

How close would I be able to approach, before they hopped away?  I stepped carefully, slowly towards the middle of the road. Could I manage to pass through without disturbing either? Not likely, but worth a try.

A few steps. The baby held very still. The mother set back her ears. A few more steps.

I was about 2 feet away. The mother took off with leaping bounds, stopping in the grass about 30 feet away. The baby nearly simultaneously hopped into the safety of the tree divider, scooting into the pine mulch at the base, to blend with the soft browns there.

Sorry for interrupting your breakfast, bunnies.

I finished my walk back up the cul-de-sac and headed for home. No turkeys in sight, this morning, I thought. But no, there they were. The mother turkey and --what happened to the fourth baby turkey? I stopped and looked, as she clucked anxiously at her three.

A few days ago, I had seen her with four, and today there were three.

Such is life.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

All the World's my Garden

All plants are my plants.

A bad paraphrase of the Tamil saying "Yaadhum oore, yaavarum kelir" : a sentiment that conveys the sense of " All towns are ours, all men our kinsmen."

That's the impression I get after days of walks in the neighborhood. I stop every day to admire the variegated Lantana, carefully planted in miniature sequence with another yellow flower near the railway carriage mailbox.
The enormous butterfly bush waves at me as I walk past it. It must take a good square foot of ground space. I must remember to supply as much when I get around to planting the one that I got from the garden center. Maybe I shall even see some butterflies flitting around the flowers, later in the season.
The lawns are stressed out, turning straw brown. This is the fault of the Scotts lawn monoculture, where they hawk bags of grass seed guaranteed to grow fast, stay green (if watered and fertilized with Scotts fertilizer, naturally). Only, we don't water, neither do the neighbors, barring a few who have installed timed sprinklers, or who bring out the hoses and temporary ones. Our lawn, which is a multicultural experience, composed largely of older fine fescue and some ryegrass, clover, dandelion patches, moss, low growing assorted wildflowers ( I hesitate to call them weeds), has weathered the heat spell with minimal fuss or watering, shaded by the large 'noble' trees on our lot.
Strange but true- I wistfully watched the gorgeous greenery of the Kentucky bluegrass lawns in early spring, but am having the last laugh as I watch those lawns turn to yellow, while our 'sad sack' of a lawn, untidy as it is, but shaded by massive maples and oaks, remains peacefully green in the midsummer heat.
The pines give me a whiff of resin as I pass by. Little solid drops on the tree trunks gleam as the sunlight hits them. I scrape one off and crush it between the fingers. The piney smell becomes unbearably intense,  the finger feels unpleasantly sticky, a simple swipe with a tissue won't do to remove it. It's going to take a good scrubbing to go away.

There's a little fairy garden on the far end of one of the lots. Small scale plants, with a little brown bridge, a couple of arches and (presumably ceramic) toadstools for effect. It looks lovely, even though I see it from a distance of about 5 feet, hesitating to trespass on the mulch to get a closer look. Some day, perhaps I can persuade M to try making one of these. Or not. The charms of the internet and allure of mindless TV beckon over the heat and humidity of digging in dirt.