Joy No. 44: A new word and an amazing event

A murmuration of starlings.


Joy No. 38: Hide and seek

On a slightly drizzly autumn Monday, we spent the morning at the wildlife refuge near our home, playing hide and seek in the forest. Great blue herons, giant slugs, big white mushrooms, ducks and monstrous oak trees. We had them all to ourselves.

Joy No. 26: Music from a tree

I love re-purposing things. This summer, we made tin cans into table lanterns, paper plates into wind streamers, cool packing paper into wall decor … you get the idea.

But this evening I heard about someone who takes re-purposing to a whole new level. Diego Stocco, a composer and sound designer, creates music using trees. And sand. And a dry-cleaning shop. It’s really worth a listen. It will make you smile.

Read the story and listen to the NPR podcast of “The Mad Musical Scientist of Burbank, Calif.”

Bonus: Stocco plays a bonsai tree on YouTube!

COYOTE POO (JOY NO. 5) UPDATE: 2 p.m. My budding naturalist and I stepped out the back door. We saw ears bouncing through the grass of the adjacent field. Then we saw the rest of the animal: Coyote! Could it be our prolific poo-er?

Joy No. 5: Coyote poo

It’s blackberry season here, which means my son and I spend a lot of time rustling about the perimeter of our property picking berries. My plan for today’s post was to feature a photo that looks something like this:

And although this photo doesn’t reflect it well, I had planned to wax on about how our wild blackberry plants, in their various degrees of bloom, ripening and decay, remind me of Flemish still lifes, those seventeenth-century oil paintings depicting tables laden with fish and berries and peaches and insects in such a deliciously real and almost vulgar manner.

As it happens, our prime berry-picking spots change from year to year, and one of last year’s best spots is overgrown this year, filled with rangy horsetails and devoid of berries altogether. Although it has little to offer us, it appears to have caught the interest of a local coyote. He has designated the base of a tree there as his latrine. (To be honest, we hadn’t been sure who had been pooing all those piles of cherry pits there, but over the weekend my son had the good sense to haul our visiting neighbor, who works for Fish & Wildlife, to the tree and asked him.)

Today, when I brought the camera out to capture some blackberries, my son insisted on taking a photo too. Of what? “Coyote poo!” Here’s his photo:

So what’s my joy today? It isn’t really the coyote poo. It isn’t even the blackberries. Today I find joy in my son’s growing awareness, curiosity and enjoyment of the world around him.

[I’m discontinuing the Joy Meter, effective now. Joy is joy.]

Joy No. 2: Curlycue melon

When I sliced through this watermelon today, I found a three-pronged curlycue pattern inside. Can you see it? (The three prongs extend outward from a point in the center.)

I have always loved curlycues. In elementary school I spent a significant amount of time copying a beautifully scripted S from a stick pin that I received as a gift and wore with my cowl neck sweater. That S was gloriously curlycued. If you were to ask me right now, I would draw you an S that is curlycued nearly to the point of death.

Curlycues in a melon? Truly a joy surprise!

Joy Meter= 8