Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson

I had a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow,
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little, that there is none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup,
But my lazy little shadow, like an errant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

Well, as you can see, I am totally enamored of the little wren who visits me every day. I am fascinated by him - them actually as there are a pair and one of these days I am hoping they will bring their offspring.

These weeks seem to go by so quickly, I can hardly remember what I did though I finally felt like getting out of the house. I found myself in the car quite happily one day, going off for a short run and not knowing where I was heading. I found myself at Walney Pond where I ate my lunch as I watched a pair of Canada Geese on the water. One of them stood on the nesting island accompanied by a turtle sunning itself, while the other swam around for a while and then headed to the shore watched by its mate, who shortly after got off the island and followed. They disappeared out of sight and I finished my lunch. It was sunny and warm and relaxing, and I did not get my camera out once. Yes I KNOW, I can hardly believe it myself.

Gregg worked from home and that is always lovely, though on occasion I forget it isn't the weekend and wonder why he is on the phone to clients and colleagues so much, and permanently fixed behind his laptop. Then I have to check myself and realize it is not Saturday or Sunday. I tiptoe around the house during such times and button my lip, which is hard to do when I know he is around to chat to.

Dear son called a couple of times, which always makes me happy and bless Alexander Graham Bell and his ilk for that wonderful little invention called the telephone. Dear daughter-in-law had car problems. All part of life of course but it's always a real pain. Touching wood that they get it back real soon from the garage.

Yesterday a friend invited me and two others over for dinner and to watch La Boheme which she had recorded off PBS. It was super, lots of fun chatting in the kitchen while drinking a cup of tea, around the dinner table enjoying a most delicious meal, and finally sitting in front of the TV for a couple of hours watching the opera with
Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón as Mimi and Rodolfo. More chatting, more cups of tea and then off home to find Gregg fast asleep on the sofa.

Today we went for a Sunday drive heading in the Leesburg direction. It called for rain but apart from a few sprinkles the whole time we were out it was mostly sunny. We drove through quaint little towns in the Virginia countryside and this time we took several photos, which I will share in the coming week.

We are trying something new around here - roundabouts. As we went through one we heard a loud, urgent honking of a horn, screeching of tires and the sound of metal crunching on metal. As luck would have it there were two police cars parked nearby. I think this must be a hot spot right now. Someone's weekend was ruined and yes some of us are still trying to figure out what roundabouts are all about. Some of us don't know that you give way to the person already in the roundabout. Somebody just learned that today. A hard lesson. I grew up with these things in the UK but they're relatively new here in the States. Correct me if I am wrong but I've never lived in a place over here where any were used. Have you seen them where you live? About six months ago, three sets of traffic lights were taken down and three roundabouts replaced them within a five mile radius. The powers-that-be are trying to teach us new tricks and let's hope we can learn them without any calamity.

On that note you all have a safe and happy week ahead and watch those roundabouts!


  1. I, too, love Puccini's La Boheme, which is my favorite opera. We saw a production of it in February in Honolulu.

    Yes, there are roundabouts in Hawaii, and they do prevent pedestrian accidents, because they force a driver to slow down in an intersection. There are two in my neighborhood.

  2. Lovely Wren and lovely new header Denise.
    Ah! roundabouts - what fun. As you recall, we have had them here for a long time. The rule here is to give way to the vehicle on or entering the roundabout from the right. It works OK in principle most of the time, but you still get idiots that take no notice of the rules.

  3. Your wren pictures are very nice. I like Stevenson's "My Shadow" too. We've come across several roundabouts in our travels in Pennsylvania, other Mid-Atlantic states and up and down the East Coast. Have a great week, Denise!

  4. Beautiful little wren - very much smarter than the wrens in UK. Strangely, although they're supposed to be the commonest garden bird I rarely see one.

  5. I love the pictures of the wren!

  6. Wait till you get magic roundabouts they even confuse Brits ......... three or more roundabouts in one

  7. Lovely photos; great shadow.

    We had round abouts in PA and, if everyone knows how to use them, they allow traffic to move much better than traffic lights. It is a learned skill though.

    Darryl and Ruth : )

  8. I just love Carolina Wrens they are the busiest bodies...
    We have a town square, not a roundabout, and drivers have the worst time figuring out how to enter and exit....
    Goodness knows what would happen if we had roundabouts there would be a crash a minute.
    I negotiated them very well in England, but nowadays, not so sure of myself :)

  9. Love the poem and the photos! Great post!

  10. I always like Robert Lewis Steveson, the poem was great. I like the way the Wrens tail sticks up, very nice pictures. Forgetting what day is a norm when you are retired. Glad you had a good time with friends. I am not filmier with roundabouts, never heard of them.Have a nice week.

  11. I love the poem. I remember having to say it at school.The wrens are cute and your photos good. We have had roundabouts here for many years. If they are constructed properly and in the right place they work well and speed up the flow of traffic, (mostly)

  12. When I was a child there was a book my parents gave me that had poems for children. This was a favorite of mine. It brings back happy memories.

    We have a very few round-a-bouts in Illinois and it takes a bit of getting used to, I'm afraid.

  13. What an interesting post! I have never seen a roundabout and didn't really know what it is. The only unusual traffic feature here is a drawbridge about 15 miles from here that crosses the river I live on. I think it may be the only drawbridge left in Texas. When tugboats and barges travel on the river, the bridge raises up and traffic has to stop and wait. When I was a teacher kids sometimes told me they were late to class because they got stopped by the drawbridge!