Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Field Notes From the Cobble
The air is hot and muggy and full of mosquitoes. Walking in the woods is out of the question so we walk the road to the bridge. The Housatonic River rolls under the road there and winds it's way, snakelike, through a series of meadows. Farthest from the edges of road and river, the mosquitoes are fewer and it is possible to stand still for a moment to watch the water dimple and swirl over rocks and gravel as it makes its way to the Long Island Sound 100 or so miles away.
On the opposite side of the bridge is a bit of marshland bordering a vast corn field. Common egrets feed there, and a blue heron. Possums and raccoons forage at the water's edge, and foxes and coyotes hunt the small mice and voles that hide in the tall grasses. We bend over tracks left in the mud, now dried and cracked. A wild turkey has been there, and a coyote. A possum has left small starred marks and an egret landed, leaving its splayed three-toed sign.
In August the roadsides are awash in shades of white and blue. Queen Anne's Lace holds wide, saucer-like flowers to the sun. Wild blue chickory (we call them cornflowers) always grows in the same place. Goldenrod plumes glow yellow even though the sun is hidden behind a thick haze. In the distance, low clouds kiss the tops of the mountains. The harsh call of a crow breaks the silence. A duck answers from the river.
If one is still enough and quiet, the river and meadow will yield their secrets. The industrious bee, the stinging mosquito, the feeding birds, the transitory water all have stories to tell. I import them into my own day's tale and share them here with you.