I missed the first flock of 30 broad-winged hawks kettling higher and higher into the sky, but I didn't miss the next 20; Steve made sure of that, dear love of mine.
We haven't missed the thousands of monarchs and green darner dragonflies resting and feeding in the plants or cruising over. Migration is a time we pay rapt attention. Everything is changing, everything is in flux and we find ourselves caught between two worlds.
Every morning we get up, make our coffee and sit at our table with the cats and look out the south door towards the cup plant, Lactuca, pokeweed, ragweed, spicebush and Mother Black Walnut. We wait with anticipation for the sun and start excitedly sharing directions where to look and descriptions of color patterns when the warblers and other migrating birds and insects come into view.
In the afternoon, we lay in our west facing chairs and watch the western sky, a highway leading to lands far, far away. I can't get over it. How we don't have to chase migration. How these plants growing right here on this land are so filled with insects and fruits and seeds, that birds and insects migrating to Mexico, Central and South America are stopping here to refuel. It's these native plants and the connectivity of the plants. It's AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING. It makes logical and scientific sense ecologically, but knowing that we helped with the restoration and said please come back and that they responded in such a huge way, still makes me giggle in awe and love and pure devotion to this planet.
Part of this stopping here by migrants, I am certain, is because resident birds and insects are abundant and loud right now, because they also find plentiful food here. The American Goldfinches are a daily chorus of 30 or 40 birds. The juveniles are catching up with their parents and it's a wonder to witness them feasting on the abundant cup plant seed crop. We found one of their old or abandoned nests in a goldenrod and I know part of the trust of these migratory birds to stop here on mornings when they don't have to, is the certainty in the voices of their bird relatives, that this place is safe and full of food.
I'm glad they feel that way, because we do too, on land that is more their land than ours. We pass through these places on footpaths made for us humans, by humans, but we see them along the way.
We always work to honor them by saving them and giving them space when theirs is being taken away. In this moment, it's goldenseal and allies. You can see the video we made here.
We can't move the Mother Trees that bind them together in a mycelial web in this forest, but we hug those trees and wish them well in this world and thank them.
We also hug the Mother Persimmon we annually gather from and even got the word to do so from a fellow Persimmon World follower who said, "That is a Grandmother!" Absolutely.
I told Steve I want to follow the birds and butterflies and warm weather and in the future we will, but not quite yet. This year we had/have other plans. Like discovering the magnificent Carrion Flower at our niece's wedding celebration...
and spending time with family...
and 3 kitty cats that are happy to be lounging in a stick built house.
We are also getting back to our roots. Pure nature. Less home projects. How could we do anything else when there are black ratsnakes to ogle?
And hoverflies to receive love from? Ok, maybe they did want my salt, but maybe also they were saying hi? They aren't saying they weren't so I'm saying they were.
Morrow County is blowing up with development faster than we ever dreamed and if everyone would share space, we would be doing a dance of joy, but they aren't, so instead, we agree with the sentiment of this mammal:
And to counter the devastation somewhere safe and somewhere we can afford, we bought another property. This one in Highland County in southern Ohio. This 10.2 acres will be loved, tended and restored by us and then donated to the Arc of Appalachia eventually. We hope to find a place for our 3.5 acres in Morrow County....so all these lives are safe and protected. We can't wait to hike further onto this land this winter - the winter that we are staying put to tend land in Morrow County, land in Highland County and ourselves. The cabin is already moved to a new home and the land is breathing a sigh of relief.
Sadness enveloped this land for a while, but now new hope is given. Death and decay always lead to rebirth. Thank you, Tim G., for your much needed clarity and generosity of friendship.
And with that friends, we bid adieu. We wish you a Happy Autumnal Equinox and a season full of richness of heart and spirit. Thank you for protecting this Earth with us. It heartens us to know we are all united together, in community with one another, working for abundant, respected and diverse life.