Saturday, May 26, 2007

Since you've been gone...

One thing about the world: it keeps to a tight schedule. It doesn't put its plans on hold when you have your nose buried so deep in your new job you don't have as much time and energy as you normally do to document it on your blog. Flowers don't wait for the weekend to bloom so that you'll have time to photograph them. Ducklings at the local pond don't slow their growth in hopes that you'll have the chance to come by and see them while they are in their super cute phase. Nope, not a chance.

I seem to have a lot of things swirling around in my head these days. Lately, while sitting on the tube or walking on the street or lying in bed at night, I notice that my brow is deeply furrowed for no apparent reason. I like my job, I guess I just don't always like working. It gets in the way. There have been dozens of times over the past few weeks where I've seen something beautiful, or something interesting has happened to me, and I've thought about what a good blog post it would be. And then I get busy and nothing comes of it.

So, here's my attempt to recap 5 notable things from last two weeks:

1. Spiders are back. Everywhere. To Scott's dismay, the whole country seems to be, well, crawling with them.

I was waiting on the train platform the other morning going through my wallet to weed out old receipts, and underneath my wallet I was holding, in the same hand, a rolled up New Yorker. In the short time it took me to pull out all the old receipts and toss them into the trash bin, I noticed a spider had begun spinning a web in the 3 inch space between the magazine and my wallet!

It inspired me to take a tour of my garden to try to document some of them [click photos for larger versions]:

1a. Remember that nursery web spider that beat the glass with his fangs when I trapped him last summer? I found a new one who lives in the rolled up end of one of our rugs in the dining room. I watched it leap onto a smaller spider and ominously drag it into its dark, hidden lair. It has been very difficult to photograph because every time I notice it outside the rug and try to approach, it scurries back inside.

1b. A number of spiders have taken up residence behind our sideview mirrors again. I think that they must do it because the mirrors reflect light from our porch lamp at night, which attracts bugs. Smart spiders.

2. The aforementioned flowers are blooming (from our garden):

3. We have discovered a colony of bumble bees living under our lawn. They come and go out of a small hole in the grass. I watched one bumble bee chewing the blades of grass to keep the hole tidy and unobstructed. They are very fast little bees, and this is the best I could do to capture their high-speed comings and goings.

4. Though it's true that a growing duckling or gosling waits for no one, we have managed to spend some time at the local pond in the past few weekends observing their downy cuteness.

The park sells little bags of grain that you can feed them. Some will eat out of your hand. This little flock of older ducklings descended on me voraciously.
Only one of the ducklings was brave enough to feed from my hand (the alpha duckling?) while the rest just quacked at me urgently until I threw some food their way. The mother watched me very closely to be sure I didn't try anything funny with her children, and she quacked disapprovingly when one of the ducklings first started feeding from my hand. Isn't she pretty?
Our Disney-esque afternoon with cute animal babies was shattered when we noticed one little yellow gosling floating face down in the pond. Scott convinced me it was irrational to ask the groundskeeper to perform avian CPR; we left on a low note.

5. We drove out to see Canterbury Cathedral, where Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop, was murdered by Henry II's knights in 1170. Murdered doesn't really do it justice. The top of his head was sliced off with a sword, and one overeager knight plucked out his brain with the tip of his sword and swirled it around the cathedral floor. After his death, local visitors to the site began to experience miracles and so the cathedral became one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Middle Ages (one such group of pilgrims is the subject of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales). The site is stunning. The items in the giftshop, on the other hand, struck me as a bit questionable.

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