Red Irish Lord Eye

Red Irish Lord Eye, Jon Gross, 2005

I ordered a grocery delivery last night and I picked the earliest time slot for this morning, seven to eight. Usually, this means more like after nine, but not this time. I got the first text from my shopper just after six. He went right to work, had no problems finding stuff and then soon texted me again that he had already checked out and would be delivering soon. I decided that putting on pants would be a good idea. I alerted Anne to this development, but she just rolled over.

He rang the bell at a quarter to seven. I greeted him at the door and told him that he was early, but then added that was a good thing. He was a big guy, full of exuberance and he replied that he had already bicycled fifteen miles today. I gave a quick double-look and saw his car and not his bike idling at the curb. Plus, he said he had gotten up at 2:30 to do so. I was impressed. When I use to do my nocturnal two-wheeled rambles, I slept in to five and even at this time of the year got the first few flickers of morning light before I was done. His must be a dark and lonely ride, in the quiet stillness of the middle of the night.

I’d read somewhere that back before electrification, when people would go to bed at sundown that they would often sleep twice in the same night. For a few hours in the middle of the night, people would awake to pray, chat with co-sleepers, smoke, read sometimes or “be romantic.” Afterwards, they would fall into a second deep sleep and rest until dawn. In the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer wrote of a first and second sleep. People still only slept eight hours, but it was done in two halves. Anyway, his early morning revelry became infectious. Combined with unusually warm weather, it succeeded in getting us out today.

Today’s unrelated photo is an eye of a fish, as opposed to a fish-eye photo. It is a photo of a photo, making it sort of meta, but anyway. It was on display at the Seattle Aquarium. It is a striking closeup, but what really makes it for me is its title, Red-Irish-Lord-Eye. Four words that are not normally seen together, yet seem to promise an interesting story. The true story is a little more prosaic. The Red Irish Lord is a species of fish, native to the north Pacific and this closeup is of one of its eye. The most notable aspect of this fish is its ability to camouflage itself by changing its skin color to match its surroundings. It doesn’t change it to just one color, because that wouldn’t work. It adopts the mottled pattern of whatever part of the seafloor that it is hiding on. Seen by itself it takes on wild and colorful patterns, but against its selected background it blends into it well.

Witch-hazel and Waxwings

Witch Hazel

Blooming witch-hazel at the botanical gardens has always been a harbinger of spring. So, I was surprised that it was in full bloom last weekend when we walked in Forest Park. Looking it up, I found that different varieties bloom at different times of the year and these unexpected flowers were not some artifact of climate change. I confess that I was relieved that this was true. 2020 has been messed up enough already. I didn’t need some astringent apocalypse occurring.

I pushed them off as long as I could, but when the gas company threatened to shutoff the heat in mid-November, I relented and scheduled an appointment to have our meter checked. The meter reader with gas sniffer in hand showed up early this morning. Billed as a safety inspection, I suspect that it was more about ensuring that we had not jumped the meter than looking for gas leaks. Anyway, it was minimally intrusive and required no real face-to-face contact.

Cedar Waxwing

This afternoon, we did some more curbside shopping. This time across the not so wide Missouri to St. Chuck. Its water level is still down from this summer’s drought. Afterwards, we headed over to Defiance, Daniel Boone’s final homestead. There we parked at the Katy trailhead. We hadn’t brought our bikes, so we walked. We made it as far as Matson, about a mile-and-a-half. There was a good number of cyclist out and one of these members of the great unwashed mask-less masses cat-called out to Anne that she was too pretty to be wearing a mask. Apparently in St. Chuck only ugly girls get to wear facemasks, get to not get Covid and get to live another day. Fortunately, Anne is both pretty and smart and always wears her mask. We did some birding. One stretch of the trail was overrun with cedar waxwings. Probably because of all the mulberries and bittersweet berries that lined it in that section. The Katy runs along the base of the Missouri River’s limestone bluffs. On the way home we stopped at an overlook above the river, where I flew the drone.

Missouri River from Above