Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nora the Pal

Don’s Blog … August 18, 2010, 7:58 a.m.

Nora the Schnauzer sits behind the raised laptop screen and watches for squirrels to arrive at the backyard feeder.
To her left, three honey bees work the still vibrant pink Rose of Sharon blossoms. I should take the camera with the 150-mm macro lens out and try again to snap a sharp photo of a hovering bee.
I’ve probably taken 200 (or 2,000) such shots. Some have turned out as eights or nines on a scale of 10. I want that 10, however (with shiny eyes, visible hairs, sharp colors and wings bent from exertion), but we have some clouds this morning with a breeze that wobbles the blossoms.
That’s my excuse for not running upstairs after the camera. If it lay on the table, with Nora, I would probable try once more for the 10.
What I would do, if I didn’t have to pick up Darlene from her exercise class at the YMCA at 8:30, would be to lie on the couch for a nap.
I’ve done plenty of that since I retired on March 31, nearly five months ago.
I liked the idea of retiring on April 1, but the Union-Bulletin newspaper ended a pay period on the previous day, so that ended my sports writing career.
I continue to write an outdoors column (with photos), until the U-B decides to end it. The contract also allows me to end it, but it gives me something to do that I enjoy.
So, if my health holds, it’s up to them when I toss in the towel.
I enjoy retirement. Too bad I didn’t retire when I could still run and play tennis.
As expected at my age, a knee (left) and my back slow me down now.
Yet, Nora and I have hiked the 8.2-mile loop trail around Gunsight Mountain at Anthony Lakes and made 8-mile climb and descent to Maxwell Lake on day hikes this summer.
We also made a three-day backpack trip to Kirkwood Bar, six miles up the Snake river from Pittsburg Landing.
I’ve ridden my bike a wee bit and walked with Nora along Mill Creek and the South Fork Walla Walla River many times.
Nora stood up for a better view, but no squirrels have arrived. The feeder holds a full load of seeds, but maybe they found a better place.
I’ve counted as many as eight squirrels at the feeder at one time, and usually flocks of sparrows peck up their share.
Now, with the sky darkening, I don’t see a single bird, bee or squirrel.
And Nora has stretched out on the towel. She’s taking a nap, which I envy, but I’ll go pick up Darlene.