The Last Sunset

 

Strictly speaking, this is far from the world’s last sunset; in truth, it’s not even the last sunset I’ll see from my beloved third story perch above the water. But it is the last sunset I’ll photograph from this perch. In little more than a week I will have made the move from my unobstructed view of sky and water to a ground-level view of cypress trees, pedestrian hedges, and very little sky.

Friends know I’ve been pondering this move for some time. Only the sky, the water, and the night birds have prevented a move to a smaller, more economical apartment without the stairs that could become a liability in future years. Finally, overcome by a fit of rationality, I made the decision. Today, stacks of book-filled boxes and empty walls attest to an undeniable reality: another chapter is closing.

In time, I’ll search out other sunsets, and discover unexpected treasures in a new setting. But now it’s time to move on, and the words of the poet Horace seem fitting:

No one’s allowed to know his fate,
Not you, not me: don’t ask, don’t hunt for answers
In tea leaves or palms. Be patient with whatever comes.
This could be our last winter, it could be many
More, pounding the Tuscan Sea on these rocks:
Do what you must, be wise, cut your vines
And forget about hope. Time goes running, even
As we talk. Take the present, the future’s no one’s affair.

 

Comments always are welcome.
The lines of “Ode I. 11”  are taken from The Essential Horace: Odes, Epodes, Satires and Epistles, edited and translated from the Latin by Burton Raffel. © Northpoint Press, 1983.

Nature’s Sanctuary

 

Leaves of cedar elm and Chinese tallow, combined with the bright red berries of yaupon, glow in the late, low afternoon sunlight, their panoply of color providing the backdrop for a young tree branch — perhaps American beech.

The effect is as pleasing as any stained glass window: a perfect complement to nature’s sanctuary.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Now What?

 

If you’ve ever felt as though you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, you might feel some kinship with this pied-billed grebe, who seems to have caught more than it can swallow.

Field guides note that grebes consume aquatic insects, crustaceans, leeches,  tadpoles, mollusks, and ‘small’ fish, but when this grebe popped up in front of me, fish firmly clenched in its bill, I was surprised by the fish’s size: it looked more suited to a heron than a grebe.

On the other hand, the fish wasn’t struggling to get away, perhaps because the grebe already had begun the process of repeatedly pinching the fish with its strong bill, killing it by damaging its internal organs.

What happened next I can’t say, since after only a few seconds the grebe spotted me and dove beneath the surface of the water. I never saw it again, and presume it surfaced in the midst of some nearby reeds, where it could continue dining in peace.

 

Comments always are welcome.