Tag Archives: nature

Monday Musings: Lightning Round!

Sometimes my Monday Musings posts are pretty easy to write – a topic comes to me and I riff on it or rant about it. Other times, nothing comes to me at all, and just getting started is next to impossible.

And there are days like today, when I have about 20 things to say and not a lot to say about any of them.

So, welcome to the Monday Musings Lightning Round!!

This coming week, Joe Biden is expected to announce his running mate, and in the lead-up to the announcement, things in the upper echelon of the Democratic Party have been getting surreal. Seriously. First of all, why Biden would have angry old white men on his VP selection committee is beyond me. Don’t get me wrong. I like Joe. I will vote for him with conviction if not enthusiasm. But doesn’t he pretty much have the angry old white man demographic covered on his own? Does he really need Ed Rendell and Chris Dodd to be part of this conversation?

And what the hell is the matter with those two? Rendell complains that Kamala Harris, a leading candidate for the VP slot, and my personal favorite, is “too ambitious,” a charge only ever leveled at women. Ambition in men is seen as a good thing. Why not Kamala? And excuse me, but every person who has ever run for President or announced their willingness to be VP is, by definition, ambitious. What the hell am I missing here? This would be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, but sadly Dodd has him beaten. Old Chris has been complaining that Harris hasn’t been “contrite” enough in conversations about her primary campaign attacks on Biden. When in the history of politics has any male candidate for ANYTHING ever had to express contrition as a prerequisite for a political post? I’ve been a Democrat all my life, and so I feel funny saying this, but Chris Dodd and Ed Rendell need to shut their fucking mouths.

The other night, Donald Trump announced that he was going to issue an executive order requiring that health insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions. He called this “a big deal” and said it had never been done before. Which, of course, is not at all true. This was, and still is, a cornerstone of Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, a law that even now the Trump Administration is trying to convince the Supreme Court to overturn. Is he just that ill-informed? Is he just that cynical? Is he both? Is he just a moron? Inquiring minds want to know.

The continued viability of Major League Baseball’s abridged 2020 season is balanced on a knife’s edge. Outbreaks among several teams, most recently the St. Louis Cardinals, have caused game cancellations across the league. This abbreviated season, scheduled for 60 games rather than the usual 162, is only about two weeks old, but already I find it hard to imagine how it lasts more than a month. Other professional sports leagues, notably the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League, have created “bubbles” in single venues – places where players, team staff, and press are isolated from anyone else. MLB, on the other hand, has allowed its teams to travel to their home cities. The results have been predictably poor. Seems like it’s just a matter of time before the season is called off.

As you might have guessed, I’m a baseball fan, and I am getting my baseball fix not from watching games on TV, but from playing in an online Stratomatic league with a group of friends and acquaintances. Basically, we all get to draft our teams from a large pool of all-time greats, our choices limited by a strict salary cap, and then the computer plays out the season while we tinker with our lineups, pitching rotations, and strategies. SO MUCH FUN! I know: It’s entertainment for nerds. But I love it. This is our second league since the pandemic began. In the first, my team was middle of the pack. Not great, but not terrible. I was in the hunt for a wild card playoff spot until the last two weeks, when the proverbial wheels came off. This new season, with all new teams, is going pretty well for my crew (which includes Ted Williams, Tom Seaver, and Joe Morgan), but it’s too early to draw any conclusions.

Like all of you, I’m sure, the pandemic is getting to me a bit. I would love to go out for dinner, or have a get-together with a bunch of friends. I miss my daughters terribly, having not seen either of them for way, way too long. But I count myself so fortunate for the simple reason that I love my spouse and she, for reasons surpassing understanding, seems to love me back. She goes to work every weekday, and I am working on stuff at home, but in the evenings and on weekends we basically have each other. And that’s enough. We cook together, watch TV or movies together, sip wine or Scotch or beers together. We talk a lot. We also sit next to each other on the couch reading our books or playing on our phones, saying not a word. And that’s nice, too. Here’s a phrase I never thought I’d type: There is no one with whom I would rather endure a pandemic…

I’m writing this outside on our porch (she’s working on the porch as well). It’s hot, but the breeze is picking up. We have one hummingbird feeder in the garden fronting the porch and another hanging off the porch to the side. And there must be at least ten hummingbirds harassing and chasing each other around the feeders, facing off in midair like hovercraft, buzzing past us at breakneck speeds, their wings whistling. I’m no more than ten feet from the nearest feeder, and they’re so intent on one another that they couldn’t care less about me. It’s quite entertaining, although now and then they buzz by so close to my head, that I duck belatedly.

And with that, I will wish you a wonderful week. Thanks for playing Monday Musings Lightning Round with me!

Photo Friday: Silvery Checkerspot

Another crazy week gone by, another month in the books for 2020: the year that lasted forever and yet somehow flew by. I honestly don’t understand what has happened to my sense of time.

This butterfly has been hanging around in Nancy’s garden, mostly on the Cheyenne Spirit Echinacea, with two of his friends. He is a Silvery Checkerspot, a not-so-common garden and open country butterfly that can be found in much of the Eastern U.S. With his wings open, he is barely two inches across. I won’t tell you how many photos I had to take of him to get a couple of good ones. Let’s just say he wasn’t the most cooperative butterfly I’ve ever encountered…

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Be well, be good to one another.Silvery Checkerspot I, by David B. Coe

Silvery Checkerspot II, by David B. Coe

Photo Friday: Who Is That In the Cloud?

Good morning! Another week is ending, which means it’s Photo Friday here at the blog. Today’s photo was taken during an early morning walk a week or so ago. I had only my phone with me, but the image came out well, capturing the majesty of that cloud, the stillness of the lake, and that lovely light-limned edge of cloud reflected on the water’s surface.

I see a face in the cloud. I wonder if you do, too. I haven’t been able to decide who it looks like. Suggestions?

Wishing you a safe, healthful, lovely weekend.

Morning Cloud Reflection, by David B. Coe

Photo Friday: A Butterfly Fly-By

Another hot, lazy summer week has sped by here on the Cumberland Plateau. Nancy’s garden is in full glory, though I’m sad to say that butterflies have been far less numerous this year than in years past. I’m not sure why, though it could have something to do with all the rain we’ve had so far this summer.

In any case, early this morning this Silver-spotted Skipper stopped by for a visit on the Liatris Spicata, which is also known as Prairie Blazing Star or Prairie Gayfeather. This is among our favorite flowers in the garden, in part because year after year the butterflies love it. This species of skipper is one of the most common butterflies in Tennessee, but this year we’ll take what we can get.

Wishing you a wonderful, healthy weekend. Be safe. Be kind.

Silver-spotted Skipper on Gayfeather, by David B. Coe

Photo Friday: A Friend On My Walk

Found this guy about a week ago on my walk and then saw him again this morning. He is an Eastern Box Turtle, and, yes, I really do know that he’s a male, based on eye color and the bright coloring on his head and legs.

The funny thing is — and I swear this is true — the place where I see him is also the place where I always see a hare. (The rabbit is too quick for me; I can never get a good photo.) So, I assume that either they race everyday, or they’ve set their rivalry aside and have just become good friends.

Wishing you a wonderful, safe holiday.

Box Turtle II, by David B. Coe Box Turtle I, by David B. Coe

Photo Friday: My Morning Walk

Photo Friday has rolled around again. Seriously, where do the weeks go? I don’t understand.

Just about every morning I walk for 3+ miles along the rails-to-trails path here in our town. I have written about it before, and posted this black and white image during the winter. But I thought I would give you a photo of what it looks like this time of year, with the trees in full foliage, and the understory lush and verdant. It’s really quite beautiful.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Be safe, be good to one another.

Mountain Goat Trail, Summer, by David B. Coe

Photo Friday: From the Archives — Beach Photos

Every now and then, a week comes along when I haven’t had a chance to take my camera out for photos. This week has been rather plain weather-wise. Some flowers are blooming in Nancy’s garden, but nothing too spectacular. And, I will admit, I have been rather glum.

My mood is almost too frivolous to discuss. My family and I are healthy, we’re generally happy, and have very little cause for complaint. But, due to Covid-19, we have had to cancel our annual family beach vacation. Problems of the privileged, I know. Hence my reluctance to bring it up. The fact is, though, I love our time at the beach. It’s always just the four of us – Nancy, our two daughters and me. We rent a house right on the shore. We have no particular schedule, few chores, little work. We swim and take walks on the beach and nap when we feel like it and eat good food and drink good wine. What’s not to love?

We had a reservation, but for reasons relating to the pandemic and its effect on Nancy’s work, not to mention concerns about traveling with the virus still raging, we have cancelled it. We should have been heading to the coast on Saturday. Obviously, we won’t be.

So today, I offer you a couple of photos from the archives – images I captured the last time we were at the beach. I hope you enjoy them.

Enjoy your weekend. Be safe; be kind to one another. And to all my fellow dads, have a great Father’s Day.

Laughing Gull, Topsail Island, North Carolina, by David B. Coe Coast Storm I, North Carolina, by David B. Coe

Photo Friday: Climbing Color

Another week coming to a close and another photo to send you off into your weekend. We have grown accustomed to the annual rhythms of Nancy’s gorgeous flower garden, and this time of June is when her Clematis bloom. They are one of my very favorites. Climbers, a bit wild and unruly, with spectacular blooms. Enjoy!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. As always, stay safe and be kind to one another.

Clematis Blooms, by David B. Coe

Photo Friday: Little Wood Satyr

Yesterday, while taking my morning walk along the Rails-to-Trails path in our town, I spotted this beauty. It is a Little Wood Satyr, a woodland butterfly identified by those four prominent eye spots along the margin of the wing. They are very small, as you can tell here by the relative size of the maple leaf on which it’s sitting, and they patrol forest floors with a sort of bouncing flight that can be difficult, if not infuriating, to try to follow. This one, though, was quite cooperative as I edged nearer to take my photos.

I hope all of you have a wonderful, safe weekend. Be good to one another.

Little Wood Satyr, by David B. Coe

Photo Friday: One Foot Out The Door…

Another week gone by. I swear, I don’t where the time is going right now. I can keep track of the days, but the weeks… Anyway, for today’s Photo Friday post, I offer you a set of images captured literally right outside our door. Nancy is an avid gardener and her Japanese Irises are blooming right now. They’re gorgeous, especially after a light rain. So here are a few photos I’ve taken over the past week or so.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful, safe weekend.

Japanese Iris IV, by David B. Coe

Japanese Iris I, by David B. Coe Japanese Iris II, by David B. Coe Japanese Iris III, by David B. Coe