One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

The Hawk of Red October

Isn’t it nice when Sunday is actually a  sunny day?  We’ve really had a pretty terrific weekend here, weather-wise.  Our temperatures have risen into the sixties and Summer’s come back for one more kiss.

There was heavy rain late in the night, so the driveway was a lake and gray skies persisted when first I dragged myself from beneath the purring pile of cat and  covers.

There was some wonderful coffee and telephone fellowship to get the day going nice and easy and to give the sun a chance to shine through…although I had plenty to fill the day with, I also wanted to get outside and do something to celebrate the beautiful day.

Here, by the way, is the mirror left behind for me by the previous tenants.  I love the flower shape and it’s just the right size to fit above the bathroom sink and further brighten up that sort of narrow space.   I’ll need to pick up some serious brackets to support it.  Oh…and reflected in the mirror is the dining room table, for which I got new screws today, so that’s well assembled and ready for use.  Still settling out the whole overall plan for the room, but I’ve got some good and even exciting ideas and I’ll keep you in the loop.

The cat and I laid out the other rug in the dining room and we opened a few windows and the door to the porch to let in some fresh air as the day continued to swell.  And that’s when I heard the hawk.  Camera at hand, I headed out onto the porch and eventually spotted the great bird, occasionally splitting the air with one of those trademark shrieking calls.

After snapping a few photos from the height of the Nest, I found myself drawn across the back lawn, trying to find a closer vantage for another photo of the hawk and I was drawn down into the back corner of the yard where the sloping land funnels into the Path of Justice.

Beyond the trees seen from my east-facing deck is the local courthouse and it’s large parking lot.   A wonderful path from our yard to this larger parking lot has been maintained for the comfort and convenience of summer barbecue guests.  And it was this path the day led me along, drawing me into another world as surely as Alice’s rabbit hole transported


It’s a short path, but visually pretty interesting, with a variety of plantlife sharing the area.  And then, after a few moments in cool shade, there’s the other world of the parking lot.

It sounds a little silly, perhaps, to  be transported to a parking lot from my green back yard and find nature there.

But it was the parking lot and surrounding wooded areas that the hawk had its eye on.  The trees, of which there are many and of great variety and color, were alive with birds, no doubt stopping by the Cape during their autumn migration to warmer climates.  We get a lot of such visitors this time of year.

And because of the hawk’s presence, they were more heard than seen, keeping themselves hidden in the flaming colors of the autumn trees and evergreen boughs.  I could hear the familiar sounds of chickadees and robins and there were many other birds seen only in furtive flurries and at a distance.  I hadn’t thought to bring my binoculars along with me, so it quickly became a walk that was more about the fantastic fall foliage as it was about birding.

And so I wandered along the perimeter of the parking area, hoping for glimpses of birds and letting the season’s bright colors play in the sunshine, teasing my eyes.

I suppose the walk was a celebratory treat, though I had forgotten until just now that today was my 100th Day of A Cigarette Free Life.

And anyway, when fall gives you a day as brilliant as this one, you just have to get out there and soak up those colors.  It’s like money in your emotional bank for the dim days of winter.

The bittersweet vines wove their way through this bit of evergreen, their yellow berries only just now drying enough to crack open and reveal their persimmon interiors.

As the far side of the parking area wraps around the courthouse, it brushes against a wetland area and the curls around adjacent to a wild median area along the edge of the Cape Cod Rail Trail bike path.

There’s a lot of variety growing in that area, a combination of native plants and things which have been planted purposefully, or just brought in by birds and other creatures.

For a walk through a parking lot, it really was a beautiful stroll and I managed to feel excited and refreshed without really  having strayed at all far from home.  Which was good, because all too soon it was time to make my way across the great parking lot and back to the along the path back to the Nest.

As the laws of Murphy indicate, once I was safely back in the Nest, the hawk I’d gone searching for in the first place revealed itself once more.

The chrysanthemums along the fence are blooming happily just now and the late season afternoon son was just right on them when I got back from my walk.  I just love Cape Cod light.

I feel a little guilty that I’ve not given these plants a little more in the way of tender loving care this fall.  I just sort of tugged them out of their comfy home and stuffed them into the ground here, before dashing off to a hundred other things…and they have responded admirably well to such despicable treatment.

This puts them solidly in the column marked Blessings, if you are keeping score.

I was able to accomplish a few other things with the afternoon, although in general things seem to still classify as a charming but tidy mess here at the Nest.  I’ve decided that having the place full set up and settled into is a reasonable goal for the first day of the new year, and anything sooner will be some extra treat.

I did get out for a bit of grocery shopping late in the day, coinciding, actually, with sunset.  Since I’d no perishables amongst my purchases, I was able to follow the sun to the beach – First Encounter, actually – and the bay without having to stop at home to unload parcels.

It was a nice sunset…and possibly one of the last I’ll get to enjoy this year in without a jacket.


Comments on: "The Hawk of Red October" (11)

  1. What a gorgeous hawk!! I eagerly await the report.

  2. Only few words, poetry, I hope the gardener don’t want to make a zen master or something like that from himself, we are a little concerned.

    I hope all stands revealed now, Martin!!

  3. what lovely colours! up here most of the trees have given up their foliage and are sporting the sparse style for winter. there is one tree in our yard that still has its leaves. the rowan (mountain ash) still has its leaves and they’re a gorgeous yellow/coral pinky type colour. at least, that’s what it had on this morning. it’s been so windy here that the poor thing could be bald by now.

    i sure can tell that winter is on its way. i’m just glad that we’ve not had snow yet. i’m not ready for that right now.

  4. Gorgeous sunset. I always think, wait it must be sunrise since you’re on the east coast. Then I remember the odd geography of the cape.

    The sunrises are beautiful, for sure, but rare sights for me (tho it happens later and later each day, so this season it seems less unlikely…). But you’ll always find the sunsets near the end of the post!

  5. I don’t recall ever seeing a more beautiful parking lot. I suspect it’s the eye of the beholder-with-the-camera, though, that finds such beauty there. I like your path of justice. :)

    The sunset pictures are magical. Beautiful. Even in pictures it took my breath away. It must have been awesome to be there.

    All around, it was a most delightful day, Java. And it was a surprisingly pretty parking lot, all things considered.

  6. Obviously it was a post in progress und I’ve only seen the first version, so my comment was a bit too fast; like I was told recently: “Good things come to those who wait… “.

    Martin, patience is a lesson I seem destined to learn this fall, too. I’m glad you came back to see how things turned out – it was a beautiful day!

  7. The combination of spirit guide (the hawk) and enticing path seems to have turned a familiar place into something new and magical. I love it when that happens. The photos certainly show someplace where there was much to see. It was nice of the hawk to come back for the photo op right there at the end, what a great shot.

  8. It takes a trained eye to stop and see the beauty in a parking lot. Thank you for showing us how to see it.

    Since I arrive in Indiana, the raptors have increased with the urban spread, something I would never have guessed. We see redtail hawks, turkey buzzards, cooper’s hawks, kites, and the occasional peregrine falcon around here. And that’s just in the city.

  9. Beautiful crisp colors! More beautiful reds showing all of their detail. But that body of water sure has a steep incline! ;-) Seeing the photo of a sunset close to the water prompts me to ask if you have ever seen an “emerald flash” or if the phenomenom actually exists.

  10. What a beautiful humdinger of a post Greg! Following the hawk into a different world is so wonderful an idea. it’s those unexpected moments of discovery, and of allowing yourself to be drawn in, that I love the best.

    It really was a wonderful break from the rest of the day, Bird! I’m glad I let the hawk lead me along…

  11. …and what a magical parking lot it is. Who knows where any path will lead?

    I was driving through the local canyon and noticed a bunch of tree tobacco plants at the end of their bloom cycle and thought of your kicking the habit. (Nothing at all like the cute little ornamental tobacco plants, these guys are scrappy and invasive weeds that have taken a shine to the local hillsides.) 100 days–that’s really excellent! Do they make tobacco-control patches for the landscape?

    I like the ornamental tobaccos…have always wanted to grow some of the taller varieties, actually. Your invasive one, does it have those long slender, trumpet-ty flowers, or is it just annoying with little redeeming quality, much like smoking itself?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: