Baby robin falls out of nest

Baby robin falls out of nest

I feel like there’s way too much to talk about tonight.  Where to even begin?  First of all, it’s my six month anniversary “Opening the door, walking outside”.  Six months!  Who could believe it would pass so quickly? 

The memory of those -13 below zero afternoons already seems hazy.  Like, did that really happen?  And was it really that hard?  All those frigid winter days when it seemed so difficult to imagine going outside…but when one dressed warmly and went outside…it was almost fun.  Or that freezing cold rain in Munising after 9 p.m. a week or so ago.  Was it really that bad?  No.  In truth, it proved almost invigorating.  It’s only our minds which try to convince us it’s too much.

Sunset last night at 10:25 p.m. over Keweenaw Bay

Sunset last night at 10:25 p.m. over Keweenaw Bay

OK, let’s move on to the first photo.  Remember the robin photo from the other day?  Yesterday one of the babies fell out of the nest onto the hard cement floor in front of the garage.  We think it lived, however.  For about an hour it sat very still and panted in the bright sunlight.  Then it hopped over to the shade.  And finally it was gone.  Along with all the other robins in the nest (except for one, who still remains).

Last night we went to the airport to pick up our son and his girlfriend.  While we waited for him, Barry and I wandered along the harbor.  A very fun evening.  As we reached home, and took the above photo overlooking Keweenaw Bay, both kids expressed amazement at the late hour of sunset.  It’s true.  During summer solstice it doesn’t get dark in Upper Michigan until 10:50 p.m.  And our son lay awake at 5 a.m. in the light and…are you ready for this?…the pecking robin on his basement window!!!  Yes, our beloved robin hath returned to peck.  Barry’s putting a piece of plywood over the window later tonight.

View of old pier in Marquette

View of old pier in Marquette

So anyway.  On to the Fairy King story.  I know some of you are waiting impatiently.  One of our regular bloggers, flandrumhill, announced a few weeks ago an ancient legend that if you wait beneath an elder tree at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve one would meet the Fairy King.  Of course, doesn’t that sound intriguing?  Who among us wouldn’t anticipate a meeting with the Fairy King? 

Of course the problem with this is that I always go to bed around 10 p.m.  Bedtime is more important than meeting with fairies, right?  Except.  Last night we were meeting the kids at the airport and we didn’t arrive home until after 11 p.m. and we sat around the living room chatting.  Suddenly it was 11:50 and I’m yawning and ready for bed, when suddenly Barry said, “C’mon now, aren’t you going outside to sit under that elder?”  WHAT?  Do I really have to?

So off I went, with flashlight in hand, at 11:50.  Totally exhausted.  (Not really expecting to meet the Fairy King, but curious what it’s like after dark outside.  Would I be afraid?  Would the bears come by?  Would the mosquitoes lunch on the human beneath the elder tree?)

Ropes near the harbor in Marquette

Ropes near the harbor in Marquette

This is what it’s like at midnight, in the dark of the moon, sitting beneath an elder tree, on Midsummer’s Eve.  First, fireflies flit everywhere.  Little blinks of lights shining on and off.  The scent of blossoms enchants the air.  It’s warm, even at midnight, although you need a sweatshirt.  It’s so dark you can’t see the tree itself, although you know it’s there, having maneuvered here via a flashlight.  In the distance an owl hoots, “Who cooks for you?  Who cooks for you?”  You listen for coyotes, but none begin their mournful howling.  You heard them the other morning, so you barely notice.

And then.  The mosquitoes start humming.  At first they simply hum.  You smile, because you’re almost completely covered.  You’re happy watching the fireflies and distantly thinking about the Fairy King and hearing the kids laugh in the distance as they marvel over the sprawl of stars in the sky.  Then the mosquitoes start biting.  Bite, bite, bite.  Slap, slap, slap!!  You think, “Well, I hope the Fairy King isn’t coming disguised as a Mosquito, because I’m out of here!”

And after seven, or maybe seventeen minutes, you bolt for the house, smiling.  Happy for another strange outdoor experience.  But really glad to be anticipating a warm and cozy bed.

Lilacs and sailboat

Lilacs and sailboat

FINALLY, it’s time to proclaim the contest winner.  The person who has won a free nature book from the contest announced on June 4th.  I am already feeling guilty.  Everyone should get a free book.  Every single person who shared their love of nature and the outdoors and this grand and glorious earth.  But that can’t happen.  I’m not rich.  So…here we go…drumroll…the winner is….the winner is….are we ready….Emma!   Congratulations, Emma, on your win.  Will be emailing you very soon to find out which book you would like.  Thank you all for playing!  And for reading!  And for making this outdoor blog & commitment so special…

Advertisements