Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yellow and Ripe with Autumn

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.

Our long, dry summer is drawing to a close. Weeks of clear skies gave way last night to a steady rain. We haven't had a soaking like this since June, or May. There will be more warm days this year, without doubt, but November is already in sight, and December too.

I see autumn in the meadows and pastures, where ryegrasses and wild wheat have reached maturity, their tops all yellow and bent over with the burden of seed. The goldenrod is blooming now, taking the place of monkey flowers and penstemon.

In our garden, a second crop of carrots are showing their orange roots above the dark earth. We've seen the last of the raspberries for this year, I'm afraid, but the snow peas are still producing. Yesterday I dug up an armload of potatoes.

Continued at... Yellow and Ripe with Autumn

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Artwork: Yellow Autumn Grass and Sunset

Friday, September 21, 2012


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1994. All rights reserved.

We lie on the brink of change. Great storms are brewing. This is the week of the vernal equinox, when the Earth stands up straight to the sun before it begins to tilt again, northern hemisphere tipping outward.
At this moment everything hangs in balance. The hours of day and night are nearly even. There's some powerful physics at play.

I remember Oregon Coast fishermen, charter skippers and commercial trollers, standing around the bait shop scolding the weather. The worst storms and the most unpredictable catches occurred at equinoxes, they said. Nasty storm clouds would rise out of nowhere and turn the ocean black, threatening lives. Then, quick as cream in a cat's mouth, the clouds would be gone. Skies would clear. Fish would bite.

Equinoxes are times of special powers. Calendars are created around them; crops are planted by them.

Continued at... Equinox

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Out There
Artwork: Encyclopaedia Britannica 1801 Precession Equinoxes

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Skipping Stones

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2002. All rights reserved.

There's a place down by the river where the bank is wide and sandy. It overlooks a low-lying rock dam over which the river spills. Behind that dam, the water is flat and calm -- perfect for skipping stones across.

My son stops here every time we come by on walks or bike rides. He scrambles down to the water's edge, scavenges for flat stones just the right size to fit between his palm and forefinger. This is where he learned to skip stones.

I started skipping stones as a toddler beside a reservoir in Montana. My family spent many weekends camped along its shore. As soon as I grew bored watching the folks fish, which didn't take long, I took to skipping stones -- well away from the anglers, of course. I threw for hours.

Continued at... Skipping Stones

Michael Hofferber
The Nature Pages
Rural Delivery
Out There

Artwork: Skipping Stone Just About to Hit the Water's Surface by Michael Durham

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Out Walking

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.

Night falls an hour earlier now than it did a month ago. Evening walks that once began in full daylight and concluded against a rosy red backdrop end in twilight.

I walk the better part of an hour or more each evening and sometimes in the morning too, often with my dog and occasionally with a partner. The pace is leisurely, hardly ever brisk, and frequently interrupted with opportunities to comment about the weather or the progress of someone's garden with a neighbor or passing acquaintance.

By the time I return home I have surveyed a good portion of my town and know much about its business: whose tomatoes are ripened and whose house is being painted and who's hosting a family reunion. These walks fasten me to the community like the couplings on a freight car.

Continued at... Out Walking

Michael Hofferber
The Nature Pages
Rural Delivery
Artwork: Tree Avenue in a Small Town Art