Barred Owl

Several evenings while out walking, I could hear the loud, clear call of a barred owl off in the distance across a field.  This evening, I spotted a large bird soaring along from tree to tree on the road up ahead.  I walked quietly to the last spot where I saw it land, and was excited to see its large eyes looking back at me through the branches.

“But the owls themselves are not hard to find, silent and on the wing, with their ear tufts flat against their heads as they fly and their huge wings alternately gliding and flapping as they maneuver through the trees …”  ~Mary Oliver

Deer among the sunflowers

Because of the hot and humid weather, one of our favorite walking times is around dusk, when the temperature is cooling down.  One of the benefits of walking at this time is that it is an active time for deer, which prefer to feed during low-light hours.  Occasionally, we spot one that has come out of the woods to forage on corn, soybeans, and in this case, sunflowers.

“The real world, in my opinion, exists in the countryside, where Nature goes about her quiet business and brings us greatest pleasure.”  ~Fennel Hudson

Stopping by the cemetery

Because we were close by, my husband and I decided to make an unplanned stop at a little country cemetery that we help maintain.  We were quite surprised when we drove up and saw a red fox standing right in the middle of it.  While we watched, the fox appeared to be foraging for food as it strolled to the back of the cemetery and out of sight.

“Expect the unexpected.  Life is full of wonderful things just waiting to surprise you.”  ~Unknown

Red admirals

There’s a place on our country road where I consistently see red admiral butterflies when I’m out walking in the evening.  They are territorial and tend to patrol the same area, chasing away other males that enter their space, and often returning to the same perch.

Recently I spotted the red admiral pictured below, flitting around, stopping occasionally to perch on a leaf and soak in the last bit of sunlight as the sun was setting in the westward sky.   Its wings were so tattered that I wondered how it could possibly fly, but fly it did, without the least bit of obvious trouble.

“There’s no need to be perfect to inspire others.  Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.”  ~Unknown

Sunsets

My favorite time to walk on our country road is shortly before the sun goes down.  Each sunset has its own color and design as the light of day fades away.

“God is always seeking you.  Every sunset.  Every clear blue sky.  Each ocean wave.  The starry hosts of night.  He blankets each new day with the invitation, ‘I am here.’”  ~Louie Giglio

Red-winged blackbirds

Flying among the tall grass along the levee were the red-winged blackbirds.  Stopping to perch atop tall stems, the male, with his bright shoulder patches, would occasionally puff up his wings and belt out a loud song.

The female, the less showy of the two with her streaked brown feathers, was quieter and more likely to be overlooked.

“Blackbirds are the cellos of the deep farms.”  ~Anne Stevenson

Trumpet Daffodils

One day earlier this week the sun was shining, the temperature was mild, and it was a perfect occasion for an afternoon stroll.  I spotted a number of wild daffodils in bloom along our country road.  Nothing brightens the disposition like seeing their little yellow heads bobbing in the wind.

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”  ~Hal Borland