Garden In Progress

Garden Through the Years

Autumn Beauty

Black and White Images

Black Bear Visit

Edisto Island, SC


Folly Beach, SC

Fripp Island, SC

Homer's Gallery

Hunting Island State Park


Pollywog Pond



Sunlit Interiors

Textured Images

Water Magic


Red Bubble

About Our Animals

Homer's Pond

In Honor of My Mother

In Memory of My Father


Nature Journal
My Writing



Homer's Vietnam Experiences

Homer's Room

Tib's Room


Last night I lay deep in the cushions of a musty, frayed sofa on my screened porch, listening to the electric buzz of the last bachelor cicadas fill the summer evening. I sipped wine as they sang urgently for females to court before beginning their task of digging deep into the earth for the sleep of a Southern winter. During the week, I had watched the discarded skins of their kin appear, eerily perched on the trunks of pine trees where tiny claws dug into anything that would hold the fragile shells from which they slid.

By the porch is a slow-running creek where slick-skinned green frogs harmonize with knotty toads in lusty songs of hope - their last chance to produce heirs to their kingdom of wet sand, smooth stones and meals of singing crickets. Each night there is one less voice to be heard until only the crickets will sing by the dark water. Gradually even they will fade into the silence of winter. Crayfish skim the sandy bottom of the creek and venture out to investigate my toes when I explore the cold waters for stones.

I fell asleep on that old sofa, soothed by the wine and nature's songs - my black cat and large, gentle dog stretched out beside me. Just before dawn, in the moments before the first bird is heard, an owl hooted from the pine tree next to the porch. We all stirred at the low, haunting cries of this magical creature of the night. I snuggled closer to my animal friends and listened to the owl's cry echoing through the dark woods. I felt a slight whisper of change in the air - a subtle shift of season on this very special morning - a time of magic and endless possibilities of which the owl had been a herald.

There had been a taste of coolness in the air since early August so I had been anticipating this long-awaited change of season. I had awakened to that fleeting moment where summer and autumn possess equal measures on nature's scale. On this morning, it felt as if my animals and I were caught in the very center of the balance. It was as if a bell had tolled, audible only to ears of instinct and cave memories.

I watched as my cat's eyes grew wide at the sound of the owl. My dog raised her head and sniffed the air, ears twitching back and forth, homing into the sound. Ancient blood memories were stirred and we rose renewed and ready for the transformation; hearts pumping, blood flowing faster, unblocked at last from the paralysis of a Southern summer. How lucky I was to share this time with the animals, those closest to the earth and its subtle signals.

In September, the wind brings with it soft whispers of autumn's birth. This wind cries to all creatures to take flight, sleep deeply or build a nest in which to rest before the icy touch of winter blankets the Southern landscape taking hostage those who danced too long in the fading light of a summer sun.

The mockingbirds sing their hysterical territorial medleys that they first began in early spring, dipping and pecking at all perceived intruders, be they feathered, furred or their own reflections in car mirrors. I've watched my cat duck in embarrassed surrender and dart under the house for cover as the gray and white bombardiers attacked in pairs while their cousin, the brown hawk, watched in arrogant silence from his pine perch high above the fray.

I am extremely relieved to see the end of summer - a bright, hot season of frantic activity - a symphony of nature played on many different instruments, each unique when expressing a solitary melody, but thunderous and overwhelming when played at the same performance. Life is stepped up one notch too high for me in the summer and I am unable to separate my own song from the continuous mass of voices chanting outside my window every morning - every night. I finally surrender like the mockingbird-pecked cat and find a cool, quiet haven in which to wait out this season of deafening fertility songs and blinding light. By mid-July I have weaved my summer cocoon of books, drawn curtains and air-conditioning. I huddle in my cave waiting for the quiet voices of Autumn to pierce the gauze.

When these whispers reach my closeted ears, I stretch, yawn and blink, coming alive for the first time since May. This is the time when my life-force is strongest and in sync with the Universe. I feel like dancing wildly by the creek, howling at the moon. It is a time of strong appetites and rich smells - a time to live every moment fully and taste of life at its ripest.

This time of year brings Horned and Barred owls purring and hooting, as they take flight in the magical air between the moon and the living arms of trees, perhaps leaving behind a feather. I search the woods for these keepsakes, rewards for those of us who sit up most of the night listening for their haunting calls.

This is the season of pods sending out fluffy seeds to be planted by the wind and birds' nests finally exposed to the eye like treasures just out of reach. It is a sensuous time when nature's textures are revealed and the earth exudes the cool musky smell of decaying leaves and creatures buried deep. It is a time for shedding old skins and feeling the sharp cold on our newly bared souls as we prepare to survive yet another coming winter with the knowledge that promised spring will always come again.