Possumhaw: Things to notice


Shannon Bardwell



"Most of us are prisoners of habit, and don't even notice that we do the same things, think the same things, want the same things each day -- mostly without conscious thought." 


-- Jonathan Lockwood Huie, author/philosopher 




There's some things I notice and some things I don't. Sam suggested I notice things like if there's water standing somewhere where it shouldn't so I can let him know. We need to find out where the water is coming from, especially when we are in the season of drought. 


This spring I've taken every chance I get to sit on the porch first thing in the mornings. I've noticed the birds singing, sometimes loudly. The squirrels jump from limb to limb. I even chanced to see one miss his limb and plop on the ground. Like lightning, he scurried back up the tree. I've heard of squirrels falling from trees but never noticed one. I discovered the prothonotary warbler making her nest in a vase on the porch table. We've taken to calling her a "wild canary" because prothonotary doesn't exactly roll off your tongue.  


The nesting bird had barely started her nest so I removed the debris and turned the vase upside down. It is not wise for a bird to raise her young on a table at a house where two curious cats live. She will find a more suitable location.  


Carpenter bees are looking for places to bore holes into the cedar siding. The holes are so perfect they could have been bored with a drill bit. The problem is if they continue to bore holes, the house will soon look like Swiss cheese. For carpenter bees we have carpenter bee traps and a badminton racket. We have a few carpenter ants as well. For those we have the bottom of our shoe.  


One beautiful morning I noticed the wind was blowing from the south and green leaves were flying off the ash tree -- a lot of leaves. In fact, the lower deck was covered with leaves. I rose from my comfortable sitting spot, took the outside broom down to the deck and cleared the leaves.  


The next morning green leaves covered the deck again. Then I noticed the leaves I swept away the morning before had turned black. I mentioned it to Sam, who immediately looked up the condition on his phone. Nowadays a phone is like carrying around a full set of unabridged encyclopedias in your pocket. 


The condition of the ash tree is called "anthracnose." Ash trees in particular are prone to the fungal disease after a very damp and cool spring, which describes our present spring. The encouraging news is that the condition will not last. Once we have drier, warmer temperatures, the tree should recover. The tree is not losing all its leaves, but it is odd to notice young green leaves being carried away by a gentle south wind. 


The search revealed the fast-growing green ash is also called a swamp ash and thrives in a wide range of soils, from sandy to clay, and the seeds are eaten by wood ducks, finches and cardinals. I've noticed that.  



Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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