Today, as we greet the summer, the clouds look like puffs of cotton in a field of blue. Deep pink roses bloom in the garden, and yellow coreopsis peek out from among green growth along the picket fence. As I stand on the steps, a brown blur moves in my peripheral vision, taking shelter in the shrubs. I think it is a chipmunk, but a part of me thinks my eyes deceive me.
I slowly descend the steps and spot a small bunny hopping along the neighbor’s property across the street. I stalk him in my slippers, trying not to appear stalker-ish, hoping he will submit to be the subject of my photography. I plod across the street without looking towards the creature. I have the leisure to do so as there is no traffic at the moment. My bunny is not an easy photography subject. He leaps, jaunting his hindquarters with its white tail into the air, as he moves further from me. I satisfy myself with a distant shot, a lot of zoom and a grainy photo.
little brown bunny
seeks white clover to nibble
and freedom from view
I think back to two days ago, walking Luce around the block. Lately, I spot deer almost every time I walk in our suburban neighborhood.
I spotted a deer grazing in a neighbor’s yard. He and I make eye contact, while Luce concerns himself with sniffing things close to the ground. The deer is a youth perhaps, lacking both the spots of a fawn and the antlers of a buck. We stand a few feet apart, and he does not move away from me. I speak to him very soothingly as we look at one another, “Hello honey. You are very nice. Don’t worry about Luce. I don’t think he’ll even bark.” I was wrong. Luce turns his head towards the deer, and he does bark. I step over the curb into the street with Luce to keep the peace between us.
A little ways down the street, Luce and I return to the path and continue our way down the hill. I make small talk with a couple across the street, also walking a small dog. I mention the deer, unconscious of what is happening behind me. “It follows you,” the wife said. The deer had been following in my footsteps, taking the path behind me. I made a friend, it seems. Perhaps, if I had been dog-less, it would eat from my hand?
This was written for dVerse’s Monday haibun challenge, with the requirement to make some mention of or reference to the summer solstice. I really enjoy the haibun form. This is the longest one I’ve written so far, and the first time to include more than one haiku.
I’ve been splurging on Dunkin Donuts iced coffee (not pictured) this weekend, but the mug above, even though it doesn’t belong to me, represents two doggy friends that I was watching over the weekend.
My weekend was a really full one. I don’t think I could have squeezed much more in if I tried. I’m joining Natalie the Traveler and friends with her Weekend Coffee Share and jumping on a couple more applicable linky wagons. (Is “linky wagon” even a phrase? If it’s not, I think I just coined it.) I’m pinging Restless Jo and her Monday Walks, because my weekend involved a beautiful walk with friends in nature and Lisa Coleman of Birds Weekly because I got some photos of a swan and peacock in the park.
I watch French bulldogs, Theo and Remy, in their home from time to time. They are lovable doggies. Theo, though he looks so peaceful in this photo (and often is), is a little more exuberant and goofy.
His Frenchie housemate, Remy, is just a little lady. I was noticing just by the way she prances through the grass in the backyard that she carries herself like a lady. Where Theo will tackle me with doggy kisses, Remy will just quietly look at me as I sit on the couch to tell me, “Pardon me, I would like uppies please. Give me a boost?”
They are good doggies. One of their owners told me once that she loves this breed, because Frenchies are lazy and snuggly. That certainly describes these two lovies.
I’ve also been dropping in to take care of a cat named Shultz, (a female in spite of the name.) She is a Scottish fold cat, and that breed is new to me. You can notice that her ears fold forward. Her owner told me that there is a Scottish straight breed and a Scottish fold breed that are closely related. They don’t know until kittens are born if they will have the fold or not. According to petfinder.com, it was discovered that “Any cat possessing one copy of the fold gene produced about fifty percent of Fold kittens.”
Saturday, I went out and explored a relatively new smoothie place, Market 509 in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. One of the employees told me that they have been there since November 2020, but I only became aware of it a few weeks ago.
The unique shop is hard to define. They serve smoothies, ice cream, juice and bubble tea, but they also sell refrigerated vegetarian foods, Japanese snack foods, teas, tea sets and mugs and Japanese kawaii merchandise.
Some cutesy “kawaii” merchandise …
I tried an açai bowl for the first time. Well, previously, I tried a Dole brand version from the frozen food aisle, but it wasn’t quite the same experience. Açai berries are one of those trendy superfoods that have a lot of health benefits. They have a lot of antioxidants, fatty acids similar to olive oil, anthocyanins that can help lower cholesterol, Vitamin C and phytochemicals that can fight the growth of cancer cells.
I have never seen fresh açai berries sold in the U.S. My smoothie bowl was a mixture of berries and banana with açai powder added to it. There were two choices of açai bowls, Berry Blast and Pacific Twist. With it, you could choose four toppings and a drizzle. I ordered the Berry Blast with a mixture of banana, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, apple juice and açai powder. For my toppings, I chose strawberries, bananas, coconut flakes and mochi. Mochi, for those who might not be familiar, is a sweet Japanese snack made from glutinous rice. I thought mine had the look and texture of marshmallow. I chose Nutella as my drizzle.
This was the work of art that was delivered to me.
And it came on a cute little tray …
This was my Saturday lunch. It was refreshing in the hot weather, full of nutrition and, very likely, had enough calories in it to make it a meal.
On Sunday, I fit in a lot and did a lot of driving all over creation (or, at least, parts of New Jersey.) I took care of doggy breakfast, pills and potty time back at the house where I was staying, drove about 20 minutes to take care of Miss Shultz and get her breakfast and then drove almost an hour (normally a half hour drive) to Sunday morning church. I thought I would be late, but I was actually early. 😛
My friend Adrienne planned a picnic lunch with friends at the James A McFaul Environmental Center in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Although this park is in the vicinity of church, first, I had to drive back to the doggies, give them some lunch, another potty break and bye bye kisses and then pack up my things, as the owners were due home that afternoon.
I was on a bit of a tight schedule, so I had half of my picnic lunch at the house. I thought I would be too late to picnic and might just join friends for the walk afterwards. It wasn’t too convenient to do “home-made” while house sitting, so I picked up some things at the Kings Supermarket: a tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich on ficelle bread (I would have called it a baguette,) some Stacy’s pita chips and a Mash soda made with natural pomegranate and blueberry juices.
It turns out friends were still picnicking when I arrived. There were six of us girls altogether: Adrienne, Sabrina, Iris, Jin, Cindy and me. I ate half my sandwich there, some cantaloupe that my friend Iris brought and a frozen snack from Adrienne, a blob of vanilla ice cream encased in strawberry mochi. It was a bit of a challenge to eat as the ice cream was melted, but I managed.
The James A. McFaul Environmental Center is a lovely park that has 81 acres of land with walking trails, a pond and observation deck overlooking it, various gardens, a picnic area, a few animal enclosures and a building with educational nature exhibits. The building was closed, but we were able to enjoy the trails, observation deck, picnic area and more.
I saw this lovely peacock in an enclosure.
Before we even hit the trail, we saw this beautiful swan in the pond right outside the picnic pavilion.
I liked the looks of this foot bridge.
I ended up getting a few shots of my friend Cindy on the trail, because we were leading the pack.
I enjoyed these log borders on the walking path. For a bit, Cindy and I tried balancing on the logs just like we would have done as kids.
I noticed several trees with tangled jumbles of roots.
Cindy identified these interesting plants in the foreground as skunk cabbages. The area is sometimes swampy.
After we walked the loop, we took this boardwalk up to the observation deck overlooking the pond.
We got some more views of our swan friend.
Sorry, Lisa. I missed the photo op to capture the swan along with ducks and geese in one photo. I guess the point of the challenge was to capture birds of different species together. Just as I was ready to do that, my phone announced that my storage was full.
Human friends are important too. We had a rest from the heat at the top of the observation deck.
So my phone storage was up to capacity at the end of our time there, and I missed the opportunity to photograph an adorable fawn on our way back. Thankfully, my buddy Sabrina did not have the same problem.
White clover, dandelion, buttercup and wild violets line the pathway that I walk. Just between the path’s edge and the grass, golden, stringy pollen catkins, which have fallen from the oaks, collect themselves. A miniscule, yellow-tan butterfly alights on a branch of Cherokee rose, and a beetle crosses my path. As I climb the hill, the trees overshadow me, and I am grateful for their shielding from the hot sun. A chipmunk clambers over a log, and a robin, perched in a tree, flits away as I approach.
This is an autobiographical account. My phone was out of battery power or I would have taken my own woodsy photo. The theme this week for Tanka Tuesday, hosted by Colleen Chesebro of Word Craft Prose & Poetry, is “travel/journeys,” so I thought it worked perfectly with a haibun and another walk in the woods.