Saturday afternoon was so beautiful that we spent the most part of it outside. Temperatures hovered in the 70s and for the first time this year, Fall really made its presence felt. I’d even donned a sweater that morning when I took Charlie out to take care of his early morning canine business. Saturday afternoon, Larry and I suddenly found ourselves involved in assorted chores that we’d been procrastinating since summer’s heat set in. Once temperatures soar, I tend to forget the yard except to mow the grass and water my flowers. All those other chores have waited patiently though. No elves have done them while we slept, so we set in even though we hadn’t consciously planned to.
First, Larry put up a bird feeder for me, placing it high on a metal pole to protect our feathered friends from our ferocious felines. I just don’t think it’s kosher to tempt the birds with food and then have the cats eat them, but any cat that can climb that seven-foot metal pole deserves a bird dinner. Our cats probably wouldn’t eat a bird anyway; they prefer canned cat food and lots of it. Nonetheless, the feeder stands there now, a safe buffet of tasty seeds, waiting for the birds to discover it.
Next Larry worked on the mower a bit while I played ball with Charlie. I watered some thirsty pink penny winkles (vinca) and Larry hoed the garden. The gardening work never ends. I enjoyed the afternoon outside so much that when my sister appeared Sunday for our weekly visit, she and I took Charlie out to play again. He never tires of a tennis ball, but eventually we have to take it away from him before he runs himself into a heart attack. Sunday afternoon we had quite a show. The flowers don’t know it’s fall and are at their showiest, which the butterflies love. We love the butterflies almost as much as we love the flowers. We watched as yellow and orange ones flitted from one flower to another, enjoying themselves as much as I enjoyed them.
Abruptly, I noticed a flash of red in the gardenia bush. A cardinal had flown in to check out the sprinkler watering that flowerbed.
“Look at that red bird over there,” I said to Sarah Nell. “He’s been in that bush a long time.”
“I don’t see him. Where?” she asked.
About that time, the bird moved over to the angel trumpet vine, contrasting its bright red feathers with the golden blooms of the flower. (I never have a camera at times like that.) Immediately we figured out that the bird was playing in the water, frolicking like a child. It was perfectly safe from the cats; cats do not frolic in the water or anywhere near it. Laughing at its antics, we watched the bird play for nearly 15 minutes.
When I finally opened the back door to return reluctantly to the great indoors, the phone was ringing. The techno voice of our caller ID announced: “Call from out of area.” This election season has taught me a new language and I knew immediately that a simple translation of that message is “Call from yet another polling group or politician.” It’s my signal to let the answering machine pick up.
I enjoyed a lovely weekend outdoors and refuse to take any part in a poll or even listen to poll results. I want no part of it—no last minute attempts to influence my voting choices, no inquiries into my voting plans, nothing political at all. I am tempted to take my dog, my blanket, and a tall glass of sweet tea and live in the back yard until Election Day is over. I can sleep in the hammock under the oak trees. All the phones will stay in the house.