Friday, May 21, 2010


The rain that seemed to go on endlessly just a few days ago has indeed ended and given way to bright sunshine, cool morning breezes and a clear blue sky.  And that cozy feeling you get when you can sit inside and do not very much because weather won't allow it gives way, in my present circumstances, to feelings of jealousy that Steve can be outside, carrying lumber around as he prepares to make railings for the deck, while I'm still inside relatively immobile.  But I can marvel at what Steve has shown me from the outside, and told me about.  And yesterday afternoon after the sun had gone behind the house I actually maneuvered myself out to the deck and enjoyed the fragrant air and the evening views up the creek.

We are in the middle of a natural wonderland.  Henry the blue heron makes daily, swooping forays up and down he creek, often landing right at the end of our dock to stalk some delicacy he sees in the water.  If Henry happens not to show up for a couple of days running, we ask each other where he is.  "Where's Henry?" has become one of those comfortable private catch phrases that mean more than they actually say.  (We had a "Henry" in Delaware, too.  We imagine that he found out where we went and followed us here.) 

Yesterday Steve saw two enormous turtles on the wetland fringes of the back yard. One of them left some scratch marks behind--is this egg-laying season for these turtles?  What kind are they?  We need to find out.  A hummingbird hovered over us as we sat on the deck, attracted to the extravagant salmon pink of the kalanchoe I bought to brighten Steve's office over a year ago.  The plant has thrived here, as if celebrating Steve's freedom, and the hummingbird's reaction to it suggested the sort of company we may have if we were to plant something with actual nectar, like a trumpet vine.  A trumpet vine requires strict, brutal discipline or it will become invasive, but the potential for crowds of hummingbirds may convince us it would be worth the trouble.....

Busy little Carolina chickadees and bluebirds flit and fuss incessantly from tree to tree along the water, and a tiny Carolina wren perches on the railing of our front porch at 4 o'clock every afternoon, like clockwork.  He "serenades" us with a teasing, single-note call that is way too big to emit from that afterthought of a body.  (The tiniest creatures seem to have been given voices that compensate for their lack of physical stature.)  On the other end of the size scale, there are at least a dozen osprey pairs nesting in the tallest of the cypress trees that grace the banks of the Little River, just beyond our creek. At least one of them does graceful reconnaisance over us every afternoon.  And then there are the crows, their raucous conversation announcing their arrival like so many ladies who have over-enjoyed a liquid lunch.

There are more wildflowers growing in the wetland than we ever dared hope.  I've shown you a picture of the wild iris.  They have now been joined by spiky little water hyacinths and a buttercup yellow ground cover whose name we don't yet know.  A wetland rose of sharon is growing almost within reach of the dock--we hope it is the scion of a plant whose seeds we collected along the river last fall.  It's still sprouting leaves and growing towards its full-season height, too early for blossoms, but the leaves and growth habit are unmistakable.

When I am once again ambulatory I promise to take some pictures of all these wonders and show them to you.  Until then, daydream a little....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Laid Up

I was walking yesterday morning, minding my own business, when I tripped on a wire and inflicted more long-term pain upon myself than I have experienced in my life.  There are some times when you know you've done something that is potentially serious and will require more intervention than mere first aid.  The burning pain at the base of my pelvis was my clue.  I had torn the hamstring in my left leg.  I "knew" it before I knew it.  I just lay there in the dirt for a good half-hour while I tried to figure out some way to drag myself into a chair, using my arms and one leg.  I knew I had to get to a hospital, but had no idea how I'd propel myself into the car, much less survive the ride, sitting, due to the nature and location of the nature of the injury, on the tear itself.  I felt like a big baby but had to face the fact I needed an ambulance.  I called 911, grateful for the system but apologetic at having to bother them with my ridiculous problem.

"Life is what happens when you're making other plans."  A rare day off when we were planning to take the boat out and set the first crab pots of the year, and when I had intended to buy a big pork shoulder to try out my never-used smoker, was instead taken up by an ambulance ride to the hospital in Elizabeth City (two firsts: the ambulance and the hospital visit for myself) and then seemingly endless waiting on a bed in the emergency room.  At the end of it all I was given confirmation that it was indeed a tear, some pain meds (motrin and percocet, both of which, despite their splendid reputations, are taking their sweet time to kick in), a pair of crutches, and instructions to contact an orthopedist first thing Monday, there being none on duty at the time in the hospital.

Straightening my left leg from anything but a completely prone position is still excruciating, though slightly improved (maybe a 9 instead of a 10 on a 1 to 10 pain scale) over yesterday.  The crutches are useless to me because they require me to keep my leg in the only relatively pain-free position I can find, bent at the knee. In a standing position, the remaining muscles in my thigh can't help with that under their own steam--they end up cramping from the strange position, adding to the pain.  For locomotion, then, I've taken to crawling around the house like a crab, face up, pulling myself along with my legs, then pushing the rest of my body forward with my arms, dragging my butt on the floor.  (The bamboo needed a good scrub anyway!)  In this manner I managed to push myself into the shower this morning and cleanse myself for the first time in two hot and dirty days, sitting on the shower floor.

Dear Steve, meanwhile, has been living out the "in sickness and in health" part of the traditional marriage vows.  It goes without saying this ordeal would have even more difficult without his patient assistance, waiting on me hand and foot.  He's also getting a little insight into the myriad small but vital maintenance chores I carry out in our life together every day, making the engine run smoothly.  Not that I needed reminding, but this experience drives home once again how grateful I am to have him in mt life.

Other news:  the lien situation drags on.  There was indeed a debt against this property, and it was our purchase of the property that erased it.  Unfortunately, it's that debt satisfaction that was never recorded.  Dealing with bank bureaucracies to get that done is taking forever.  There is still light somewhere at the end of the tunnel, progress is being made.  But it's glacial.

And now for a crawl to the great room, or maybe to the deck.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Night Sounds

We recorded this last night on our deck. You don't know whether to laugh at the comical sounds, be amazed at their volume and variety, or curse the fact that they are keeping you awake. The creatures making these sounds are not 30 feet away from the recorder, and we have no idea what any of them look like, especially those making those "bubbling" noises.

Welcome to the woods!

MP3 File