It’s 54 degrees at 6:30 a.m. I saw a PHOEBE out the kitchen window before I left the house. It was hovering near the generator. Saw a MOURNING DOVE perched on the wire across the road. Lots of BLUE JAYS around this morning. Also a CHICKADEE, a ROBIN, and a ROBIN chasing a BLUE JAY. Heard a GOLDFINCH and saw two WOODPECKERS moving around together in a dead tree. They were bigger than DOWNIES, and I spotted some red on one’s throat, so I’m guess they were IMMATURE YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS. Lots of bird activity this morning. I just heard one song I don’t recognize plus a NUTHATCH. A mist is rising from Bob’s Pond this morning. I flushed one DUCK when I got here, and Bob says all the ducks at his pond are WOOD DUCKS, so I guess I can say with some certainty that I flushed a WOOD DUCK. Just heard a HERMIT THRUSH singing a loud and lovely song. Got to the Eagle Scout’s Bench at 6:50 a.m. I hesitate to sit down here for fear I’ll have another meltdown…. A HAWK just flew over — small to mid-sized, long tail. I need a song or a call to even begin to identify it. Every word I write feels like a hassle. Will my new plan make it easier to post my voluminous notes? Probably not. I’ll continue to write compulsively as I move along on these long, slow, frequently punctuated walks. And I’ll continue to post compulsively for fear I’ll leave something out. Maybe I should just type away and edit as I go, trying at least to make my NATURALIST’S JOURNAL a little more interesting. Am I my own best friend or worst enemy? All I know is that I’m in a serious wrestling match with my HABITS these days…. MOVING ON: Then there are my idiot WHITE FLAGS. Checking them on my way up to the Thinking Bench, I discovered that many of them don’t even mark SUNDEWS anymore, which is why I put them there in the first place. I moved a few around a bit so they’d still be marking the SUNDEW closest to where they were. Maybe I should just collect them all and forget about my effort to figure out how extensive the bed is. They’re there, and that’s all that really matters. Why they’re there and how many of them there are will have to remain a mystery until a student shows up and wants to analyze them for a grade or credit or an indenpendent study or maybe even a thesis? Got to the Thinking Bench at 7:15 a.m. Now I’m feeling like a confused Miss Muffett. The spider was here first, and along I came and almost sat on it. If it were a real spider I would have squashed it, but none of that rhymes…. So here’s a new version of the nursery rhyme that describes me: Little Miss Muffett sat on a tuffett sipping her coffee and thinking./She noticed a spider etched right beside her, wondered and kept on drinking. I think I’m going nuts….

Got to the Fallen Hemlock at 7:30 and sat on it briefly. Heard a RED-EYED VIREO and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. MOSQUITOES are out. I quit. Not even my moods belong to me. They just come upon me, sometimes good, sometimes bad. I have no control. I give up. Time to go home before I work myself into another meltdown. Found a few RIPE BLACKBERRIES and ate on my way home. Maybe they’ll cheer me up?

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