Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Local cats take the bronze in synchronized napping

Did I tell you about my run on Sunday? My impressive speed training – the last official long speed session before the next half marathon? No? Could it be because that run was a complete FAIL? It was, my friends. It was a total wash. I lasted just over two miles and barely cracked an 11:30 pace. My legs had nothing in them, not a thing. I’m not sure why, but I think that a complete lack of adequate sleep the previous two nights probably had something to do with it. Not to mention the recent hot sticky weather.
This morning, I was torn: do what I was supposed to do on Sunday? Or do what I am supposed to do today? My next long run will be the longest I’ve ever gone – 17 miles – so I decided to split it up the middle and do a straight six miles. At 7 am it was already 80 degrees and massively humid.
Basically, I need gills. My brain melts at anything above 80 degrees. I don’t think I’ll be setting any PR’s in this upcoming race if it’s going to be anything like this. No worries, though: I’m pretty sure all that sweat is good for me. And I have to say, I’m in great shape, from a cardiovascular point of view. I sprinted up the driveway to get the ringing phone this evening, and while I didn’t get it in time to get the call, I wasn’t the least winded from the effort. So, it’s all good.
The cats share my opinion about the weather. Here they are, practicing their synchronized napping.
Maggie has snagged the indoor spot and Charlie is in his accustomed Guarding the Barbecue position.
Almost, say the day lilies.

A great blue heron, across the meadow/pond, about 200 yards away. Those are our phone/cable lines – no way to crop them out. I saw this angel coming in for a landing. I’ve seen herons lift off – singly, and in pairs – from the pond, but I’d never seen one land in a tree before. A minute or two later it took off and landed again in a taller tree at the south end of the pond. Bliss. Blue herons are meant to represent the gift and challenge of self-reflection, according to a book I consult when I happen across a wild creature and wish to divine the synchronistic Meaning of It All.
Ah, I said. More navel gazing is in my future. Excellent!
The biggest of the Queen Anne’s Lace flowers near the lilac bush opened up into a completely flat disk by mid-afternoon today, but by the time my brain had cooled off sufficiently to venture forth, camera in hand, it had drooped over – looking much the way I looked all day:

I went wandering past the wood pile…

…and found a stash of black eyed susans.
Doesn’t it look like it’s wearing a fancy hat? Perhaps Persian lamb wool?

Apparently, that whole center will develop – this one isn’t as far along.

Hm. This will be fun to watch unfold.

Photogenic little buggers, don’t you think?

I found a new-to-me flower today as well: Sundrops.
When I get a closer look at it, I’ll nail it down a little better. I was being savaged by mosquitos at this point and feeling a bit mutinous.

In other, deeply exciting news, I discovered yesterday that at the other end of our property, we have a whole ‘nuther stash of what-I-think-is-ginseng [Editor's Note: this is probably actually wild sarsaparilla - Aralia nudicaulis.]. But through a trick of the light, or other mysterious conditions, its berries are already ripening.
P1110688 P1110603
The Usual Location The Recently Discovered Location.
And rats, according to the interwebs, I went to all this trouble to ascertain that this is most likely ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) but NOOOOOO, apparently they have red berries. Do those look red to you? ARGH!

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