A quiet day in August

Everything seems to have slowed down as August peters to a close.

The mullein surprises by sending out new shoots small side arms, certainly easier to grow than an entire new stalk. Still, the new and odder design makes me question those stories of Indian torches. I can’t help but smile, thinking of the strange picture this might present and presume they must have been cut sooner.

The hummingbirds continue to buzz the hollyhocks and my single “oh-yeah-that-red-flower,” positively feasting on the morning glories, tails spread wide as they fly in all directions at once. But even those kinetic little birds seem to be spending more time just sitting watching in the larch. Are they starting to think of the journey that lies ahead?

Meanwhile, the morning glories continue to search for ready victims, wild “hands” entwining everything within reach. I’ve been fighting mightily to keep them off the deck furniture and the rose bushes nearby. But today they seem quite content to oscillate lazily in the mid-afternoon breeze. The hard stuff can wait until tomorrow.

Cedar waxwings skim just above the water, imitating last month’s swallows. Once fed, however, they congregate in the bushes on goose island. It was a treat to have the swallows living closer.

The grass, freshly green after two days of rain, sends up enough dinger-dongers to annoy the mowers but it doesn’t grow much anymore either.

A small nondescript bird may or may not have hit the door. When I see it, it is simply sitting on the deck. The retriever, even keener-eyed than I, also knows what’s where it doesn’t belong and pushes beyond me to be the first to investigate. Quillow is certainly curious, sniffing while his tail wags an enthusiastic greeting. The bird remains still.

I recall the small untasty toad Quillow ultimately tried to stomp and wonder if I should move to protect the bird. Yet, I hesitate. The dog does seem happily engaged without malignant thoughts.

Still …

At last I call him off.

Bird continues to sit without moving while the retriever obediently backs away. I breathe a sigh of relief. Had it been Minor, I never would have tried the experiment for I know the bird would face the same quick fate as the duck in “Peter and the Wolf.”

Fearing the worst, I reach down and pick the small one up. It squawks loudly and tries to flutter its now securely pinned wings.

Quillow takes renewed interested in this turn of events as Minor hurries over to initiate his own investigation. I hold the bird securely as it gives me a most convincing imitation of one in perfectly sound health.

At this I slowly open my hand. It flies away giving me what-for at the top of its little lungs. No looking back for this bird!

Interest gone, both retrievers renew their search for the latest tennis balls.

I stop for a minute to reflect on this minor miracle. Then I think of the bird and wonder.

Are such adventures related back in the nest?

Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com.