Tenderfoot. When I joined the Boy Scouts, a new scout was called a Tenderfoot — or at least that's what I thought at the time. Since then I've learned that the first rank for a new scout is simply Scout, but there are few requirements for that stage beyond a basic knowledge of the organization and the ability to tie a square knot.
I go down into the ravine in mid-spring for the windless cool. The thistle hasn't taken over then, the grass is still unripe, the nesting blackbirds haven't formed vigilante groups yet, although one or two hang on the rock, baleful eyes and murderous smiles. "Staying long?" they rasp. "Passing through. Passing through," I say. And they nod, disbelieving.
I've been getting into miniaturization lately, after a sponsored ad for a magnifying smartphone camera unexpectedly appeared in my Facebook newsfeed. It was an outrageous deal. They had a short-but-irresistible sales video that showed you how to take close-up pictures of your Social Security card, driver's license, and bank account information and text them -- without leaving the app! -- to a number supplied with the box insert. I ordered one immediately, and since the instructions were all in Cyrillic script, I've been muddling by with trial and error, practicing on shrubs around the house before I move on to personal data.
This time of year I sometimes feel like a castaway walking to the edge of the surf and looking long and hard at the horizon. Inside the house here, plants that can’t overwinter outside are struggling: some of the Calendula succumbed to aphids; the rosemary dried — it likes neither electric heat nor wet feet, …