Ramble On

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just Back

Mary and I are just back from vacation in Cape Cod, so I have a few items to post after a week away.  We once again stayed at the little house in Chatham, she tacked the vacation week onto the end of her college reunion.  It made for a great week.

I've written about the town and this house before - we stayed there last September as well, but this was the first time in a very long time we took a full week off on an official vacation.  I think this fact had a lot to do with the old pups Gracie and Sofie, who we preferred not to leave with a sitter or to kennel in their old age, once they got past 12 or so.  In thinking about it this morning, we last took a week off together to head down to the Outer Banks in August 2007 - but there were a lot of things about that trip that probably led to us not doing a real getaway again until just now.

But enough of that rambling.  We went to the wonderful little town of Chatham, and we strung together some adventures and sightseeing, mixed in with visits to old friends and relatives.  So that'll be the ntaure of some of the posts.  First, however, I wanted to write about backyard nature - drawing some inspiration from Richard Louv's "The Nature Principle" - a book I wrote about a couple of weeks ago and read while we were away.

My observations focus on the little shed shown here, which actually belonged to the house next door.  It was literally close enough for me to reach out and touch it from the deck where I drank my coffee every morning (and spent the afternoons reading in the sun), so I had ample time to watch the goings on.

This was taken to show the carpenter bee damage.
The first morning activities were the robins and jays who were out and about at first light.  They quickly grew accustomed to me and soon were ignoring me - until later in the week.  After sunlight began to strike the side of the shed, a big old male carpenter bee, would show up and hover near the shed, his loud buzzing interrupted only by the appearance of female bees, birds, or other potential mates that invaded his space.  (BTW, I noticed a lot of traffic on the blog from searches on carpenter bees and their damage - those page views are referred to old posts I had...this photo of bee damage provides another update).

Late in the morning, and also in the cool of the evening, a couple of young bunnies would hop out from under the shed.  These guys were only 6 inches long or so, clearly only a couple of months old, but already weened and fending for themselves.  They'd hop out into the little side yard there and graze.  In the evening, as things cooled off, they'd play together or by themselves - I saw the smaller one do a series of half turns in place, and vertical leaps over there between blades of grass.

This reminded me of a passage in the Louv book, which I will summarize here - essentially, this is the introduction to the book.  Louv writes:
  • The more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need to achieve natural balance.
  • The mind/body/nature connection, also called vitamin N (for nature), will enhance physical and mental health.
  • Utilizing both technology and nature experience will increase our intelligence, creative thinking, and productivity, giving birth to the hybrid mind.
  • Human/nature social capital will enrich and redefine community to include all living things.
  • In the new purposeful place, natural history will be as important as human history to regional and personal identity.
  • Through biophilic design, our homes, workplaces, neighborhoods, and town will not only conserve watts, but also produce human energy.
  • In relationship with nature, the high-performance human will conserve and create natural habitat - and economic potential - where we live, learn, work, and play.
In a sense, sitting there watching the birds, bees, and bunnies, I had a sort of vacation laboratory to think about some of these concepts.  This comtemplative time brought home the importance of some of the connections I am fortunate to have out in Page County near the Hawksbill Cabin.  And as much as anything else, that time gave me a sense of urgency for completing the 75@75 project, which I will do this year.

But back to Cape Cod - an altogether different environment for our vacation, with both natural features to enjoy and not too distant from a small town and urban setting, which was also an import for the getaway.  More to follow for the balance of the week.

Here is an Amazon link to Louv's book:

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