June 21, 2006


Erie Canal Trail.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

Happy Summer Solstice. In the Wiccan tradition, today is Litha. It is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Today is officially the first day of summer.

To celebrate the nature-based spiritual vibe I’ve been feeling today, I took a nicely-paced, energetic walk. My walk took me along the historic Erie Canal. It was there that the sounds of the nearby roadways faded away and the sounds of nature came forward with birds singing their song, fish jumping a little bit in the canal and small creatures rustling around in the brush along the trail.

I often use the evening of summer solstice to take a step back and figure out how I’m feeling about things these days. Who am I kidding, I’m always doing that but I like to think it’s a little more special on the longest day of the year. For once, I think I’ll keep my thoughts and observations private and instead I’ll just say, “It’s all good”.

Sunset on Lock 20.

Here is the sun setting on Erie Canal Lock 20. It was a little bit after 9 p.m. (or 2100, as I like to think of it) when I took this picture. A cyclist riding from Buffalo to Albany along the canal trail had just set up camp for the night. I didn’t want to be rude and include his picture on the internet, but I nodded a hello in his direction as he busied himself with his tent.

Happy Litha.


I think the woods out back have become home to a gang of very feisty squirrels. A couple of days ago I noticed that our new cedar bird feeder was lying around the ground. I figured it was a victim of the storms that blew through over the weekend and really didn’t think much more about it, until I went out this morning to hang it back up.

Upon closer inspection, our National Geographic bird feeder looked like it had been run over by a truck and then beaten to death for extra good measure.

The little stopper that keeps the rain away from the feed had somehow been relocated to the inside bottom of the feeder. The little stands for the cute little chickadees to use as a booth at their favorite diner were ripped out of the plexiglass. And the nylon rope that held the whole affair together had been shredded into a purple mess.

Either we have some birds that are telling me to buy them some better seed or we have some squirrels telling me to put a squirrel feeder in and don’t go light on the mounted corn cobs, bucko. While I was making this discovery early this morning, as I was staggering around the lawn trying to pretend I’m a morning person when I’m really not, I had a fleeting thought that perhaps the birds were mad because the feeder didn’t have an orange roof on it. Years ago my grandfather had painted his bird feeder, quite massive in size now that I think about it, to resemble one of those fine Howard Johnson restaurants. It sat right outside the dining room window, where it provided hours of entertainment by watching the birds come in and out and seeing a few make a wrong turn and consequently smacking into the window. That feeder was always quite busy with many bird families having to maintain a holding pattern until those eating had cleared their dishes and left.

Now that I think about it, Ho Jo’s had some pretty feisty waitresses back in it’s day. Maybe the squirrels are learning something from them.