A faithful reader, and sometimes critic, recently commented to my husband that I seemed to be losing interest in the blog – just flowers! But that was summer – company, a trip to Oregon to a beautiful wedding, and getting ready for The Workroom – now I’m back.
And September’s here, summer ready to be “folded up and put in a drawer” as Virginia Woolf wrote, but I keep remembering moments of basking in the long, sunny days of August – wishing I’d done some myself – and admiring the baskers.
A good-sized, not green but brown, tree frog (more than an inch, less than two) – sporting that unmistakable black eye stripe – spent many summer days moving just enough to stay in the sun as it filtered through the cherry tree’s canopy and warmed a black wrought-iron table in the garden.
I never saw it catch an insect, but bees and wasps zoomed over its head all day long, wasps devouring the last of the cherries, bees busying about the nepeta. It never seemed disturbed by comings or goings in the vicinity; I could watch its breathing – rapid, like panting – making its thin skin tremble.
Oh those hot, sunny days! One afternoon heading to the car, I spotted a little snake with a lovely orange stripe basking in a sunny patch just at the car door. It eyed me with the hostility of a creature enjoying an about-to-be interrupted comfort. I tried to step over and climb in the car – but it slithered into the salal. On the bluff I disturbed another in a sunspot in the thicket around a big Doug fir – my shadow sent it into the salal with an elegant glide.
But Frances is the champion basker here – she’s a total indicator of temperature. She basks outside, and when the wind comes up on the bluff in the afternoon, she lounges in west sun on the floor upstairs.
Other days she rolls on the heated-up concrete pavers, drapes herself on wooden chairs, or lolls in grass with sun on her black side. If you touch her, her fur is warm, hot even. Cats are so much smarter than bustling-about humans.
Luckily September – at least in Washington – is not too late to get a little time in a warm spot – I hope you do!