Hot, cotinued, and flickers and squirrels

110 for the high today, oh joy. Cooling down to 96 tomorrow. It strikes me odd folks aren’t talking much about this string of 100+ plus days. My head is full of dire predictions, but even more I feel a sadness uninformed by any conscious thought. Maybe that’s why no one talks about it. It’s sad and there’s nothing we can do. Hopefully by the time I get back out to the arboretum there will have been some rain and cooler temperatures. The prairie flowers are pretty good at withstanding this but not much else. In a town west of here they’ve banned watering lawns, watering plants, washing cars, filling pools, in an effort to preserve the water table.

This morning I put a drip hose on a flower bed we have out back and the birds came to it to drink, turning their heads and putting their mouths under the drip. A flicker came and dug for beetles and other insects he likes, we watched him for a long time, maybe 30 minutes. I know few other people who take such delight in watching critters. The goofy squirrel with the red tail lay all splayed out on the concrete table, he looks so funny with his front and back legs  all akimbo, belly on the concrete- it must be a way of cooling off. Then another squirrel came and dug himself a little cellar in the moist ground beside the hose and sat in there. This is what I do instead of television. I become engrossed. This reminds me of a young girl who lived in the apartment building next to where we lived years ago- she’s probably 30 by now. But she used to invite me to join her in one of her favorite activities. We would sit on two stumps she had in the garage of her building, we’d sit just inside the garage door, which would frame, as we looked out, a plum tree that was in the next yard. She liked to sit and watch that plum tree dance in the breeze, and all the happenings around it, and I with her. Birds of a feather- Here is some description of the flicker from my favorite bird book (Birds of America, 1917, Pearson, Burroughs et al.):

“Other names: Yellow-shafted woodpecker; Golden-winged woodpecker; Clape; Pigeon woodpecker; Yellow-hammer; High-hole; High-holder; Yarrup; Wake-up; Wood-pigeon; Heigh-ho; Wick-up; Haiey wicket; Yawker bird; Walk-up.

The Flicker is a friendly neighbor. His interest is so hearty in the life about him. … His disposition to make friends with the Robins and Bluebirds and even with the English Sparrows has often been noted, and even Swallows and Hawks often meet him on friendly terms.”

Starting next Thursday and through the following week I will be on a bicycle tour in Michigan, where I hope it will be cooler. Though I read this morning that the water in Lake Michigan has reached 80 degrees already, unprecedented this early in the season. Anyway, not having an i-phone or similar device, pictures and descriptions will have to wait until I return.

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