If those long, cold winter days went by as fast as these warm summer days, winter would be a lot easier to cope with. Hard to believe that we're heading into the third week of July already and there's so much to enjoy outdoors before the days start getting noticeably shorter.
Just being outside and taking in all the beauty of the summer flowers and greenery will help you forget about the cold winter to come. If there's anyone who can really appreciate summer, it's those who live on a farm. There's something different to do around the farm each day. When it's time to put in hay, they're in the hay fields. When the fences need fixing, they are out along a fence row working in the sunshine. Nearly every thing that needs to be done on a farm is outside, and it's much more pleasant to be outside in the summer that trying to keep warm working in the winter. There's a lot more work to do now, but as they say, the time to make hay is while the sun shines--and whoever feeds that hay to the cows on a cold winter morning, may remember the warm summer day when it was harvested.
Although the landscape has changed over my life, and things aren't what they used to be, I still like the smell of newly-mowed hay. In the winter, hay still has a fragrant scent of summer.
When I was a boy, I was constantly on the lookout for some of nature's discarded treasures. A snake's skin, shed and left in the tall grass, or the exoskeleton of a cicada or dragonfly, would be examined closely. A single molted feather from a song bird is never passed up. Some things never change, and to this day I can't walk by a feather on the ground without picking it up for a closer look. The truth is, there's lots of these little treasures from nature, and you never know what might be in my pockets at the end of the day.
This morning there was a beautiful, fresh Blue jay feather lying on the straw mulch next to the tomato plants. It's been a good week for finding feathers, and they've shown up in a variety of colors. A primary wing feather from a Rose-breasted grosbeak is white on the bottom half and black on the top half. Easy to see how ten of these feathers next to each other form a white window in the grosbeak's wing, which rapidly flutters white when he flies.
Near the bird feeder a male Cardinal has left a pretty, red tail feather in the green grass. I found a larger black tail feather from a crow next to the driveway, as if someone had just put it down on the gravel for me. The most interesting feather find of the week was the tiny tail feather from an Indigo bunting. It was lying there in the short grass in the middle of the yard, like it had just fallen from heaven. Which it had.
The next time you take a walk down Nature's trail, remember that there are lots of interesting things to see, just outside your door. You can make your world larger by looking a little closer at what is right around you. Many of Nature's mysteries may be waiting to be found right under your feet.
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