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Raindrop's Journey


IN THE FIELDS


And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays.
-- Lowell

June 1st -- The fields are yellow with God's Gold. Afar it stretches, as though last night and the night before a thousand sunbeams came to linger for a while and make a cloth of gold upon the bosom of our field.

Flower of the Westland, with calyx of gold,
Swung in the breeze over lace-woven sod;
Filled to the brim with the glory of god,
All that its wax-petaled chalice can hold.

June 7th -- In the fields yesterday and today on leaves of Plantain we found one hundred and seventeen caterpillars of Peacock Butterflies feeding. Two weeks and four days ago we found small dark green eggs on Plantain leaves -- and the caterpillars which came from those eggs are like unto these. Two years ago while raising these butterflies to study their life history we learned that they would also eat snapdragon leaves. Peacock Butterfly's other name is Junonia Coenia -- and he belongs to the Nymphalidae family.

Of all the flowers in the mede,
Than love I most these flowers white and rede
Soch that men callen dasies in our town.
-- Chaucer

"Bob-o'-link -- Bob-o'-link" -- he surely tells his name. He is one of the dearest of all our field fairies. His whole being fairly bubbles over with the joy of the fields. Did you know that he is the cousin of Blackbird, Oriole and Meadowlark? We have learned that he likes to eat insects, and also some seeds. His scientific name is Dolichonyx Oryzovorus. We children love this verse about him -- and the other day we told it to a Mother Bob-o'-link and her Baby Bob-o'-links five.

Merrily swinging on brier and weed,
Near to the nest of his little dame
Over the mountain-side or mead,
Robert of Lincoln is telling his name:
Bob-o'-link, Bob-o'-link, spink, spank, spink.
Snug and safe is that nest of ours,
Hidden among the summer flowers --
Chee, chee, chee!
Robert of Lincoln's Quaker wife,
Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,
Passing at home a patient life,
Broods in the grass while her husband sings:
Bob-o'-link, Bob-o'-link, spink, spank, spink.

June 8th -- This morning I went into the fields before six o'clock, taking my breakfast with me. A happy hour I had among the Morning Glory fairies. And there were jewel dewdrops on the Spider Webs among the vines. Among Morning Glory's cousins are Moon Flower, Man of the Earth and Dodder, who had fallen from grace and is much unlike our beautiful Morning Glory.

And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles,
On the dewy earth that smiles in his ray,
On the leaping waters and gay young isles;
'Ay, look, and he'll smile, smile thy gloom away,
-- Bryant

June 9th -- Gophers are busy out in the field; and the Mole fairies are being blamed for their work. Now the gopher -- it is true that he eateth of young roots of things we want to grow; but the Mole eateth of worms and insects. Have you explored for a little way either the tunnel of a Gopher or Mole -- these fairy folk who live in the earth?
We have been looking all day for Night-Hawk homes in the field, but none we found until near the hour of sunset, when we came unto the old rock-bar on the east side of the pasture. And there among the rocks we found them -- first two eggs, then a baby Night-Hawk, then another egg, then two more baby Night-Hawks. Altogether we found seventeen homes. Now Mother Night-Hawk does not build a home -- but she lays her eggs, usually two in number, on the bare ground or among rocks. Well they harmonize with their surroundings, and it is often difficult to see them. Night-Hawks have unusually large mouths, which I'm sure must be of an advantage to them as they sail through the air catching flies, ants, mosquitoes and other insects. We had a wonderful time at the Night-Hawk settlement -- we are going to select names for all the baby Night-Hawks when we get home -- you see, the scientific name of Night-Hawk is chordeiles, and we have a big task in picking out names to harmonize with this for the baby Night-Hawks that now are -- and the baby Night-Hawks that are to come out of all those eggs that haven't hatched yet. The clouds were beautiful coming home.

A cloud lay cradles near the setting sun,
A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow;
Tranquil its spirit seemed and floated slow!
Even in its very motion there was rest;
While every breath of eve that chanced to blow
Wafted the traveler to the beauteous west.
-- Wilson


Wood Mouse
(David Boag)

Horned Lark
Eremophila alpestris
(David Leatherman)

Western Meadowlark
(Don Baccus)


White-Throated Sparrow's Song
White-Throated Sparrow
Zonotrichia albicollis
(John Slivoski)



Bob-O-Link
(Artist)



Yellow Violet
(Professor David Fankhauser )

Indian Paint Brush
Castilleja affiniis
(Beatrice Howitt)
Ethereal Navigator

Bob White
Dolichonyx oryzivorus
(Artist)

June 15 -- We children love to go the meadow where the Buttercups grow -- why, it looks just like the sun's children had come to live in that meadow this month. It is a golden meadow now. Don't you just like to cuddle down among Buttercups? We do. Did you know that Buttercup has other names? -- Cuckoo flower, Crowfoot, Kindcup, Butter Flower and Goldcup. Scientists call her Ranunculus. Have you held a reception for Buttercup fairies and invited their cousins, Meadow Rue, Marsh Marigold, Larkspur, Columbine, Virgin's Bower and Wind Flower?
June 17th -- In the field today I saw a father Horned Lark with baby Larks three busily hunting insects. Then even while I watched them he rose into the air singing that tinkling song that sends joy everywhere. He is a cousin of the skylark.


Oh, listen! The wild flowers are singing
Their beautiful songs without words!
They are pouring the soul of their music
Through the voices of happy birds.
-- Lucy Larcum

June 20th -- I've a Grass Garden out in the field, in the corner of Grandfather's field. Today I've been out talking to the Grass fairy children. (Have you a Grass Garden?) It brings one so many joys -- more joys than toys -- because Wind fairies make sweet music among the Grass fairies and little fairy voices whisper back and forth; and one has a wonderful song in one's heart as one walks among the Grass fairies in one's own Grass Garden. Among the Fairy Grasses who dwell in my garden in the field are: Velvet Grass, Silvery Hairgrass, Tall Red-top, Floating Mannagrass, Kentucky Blue grass, Reed Canarygrass, Foxtail Grass, Purplish Aristida, Squirrel-tail Grass, Nodding Wild Rye, Lacegrass, Timothy and Raygrass. These are their common names. Other names had they, too, of my own choosing.

Even as the growing grass,
Up from the soil religions pass,
And the field that bears the rye
Bears parables and prophesy.
-- Wheelock

June 21st -- O, the Timothy Grass in the fields is in bloom; and we children like them all. We sent our greetings to them by the wind this morning, and then we raced to the fields to tell them ourselves. We told them how they came by their name -- Timothy -- you see it was for Timothy Hanson, who cultivated them many years ago, that they were named. The children call them Cat's-tail Grass. Their scientific name is Phleum pratense.
The field Musicians -- often we go quietly and listen to them -- and listening feel the bond of brotherhood with the little Earthfolk about us. And who are the musicians of the field -- Meadowlark, Bob-o'-link, Bob White, Katy-did, Vesper Sparrow and Cricket are among them.
We were just bubbling over with joy this morning -- and we couldn't keep still. And when we went to the fields we heard him -- "Bob White, Bob White." he always tells his name so plainly -- this cousin of Partridge, Grouse and Quail. We learned this verse about him:

There's a plump little chap in a speckled coat,
And he sits on the zigzag rail remote,
Where he whistles at breezy, bracing morn,
Where the buckwheat is ripe,
and stacked with corn;
"Bob White! Bob White! Bob White!"

June 15th -- O, tongues of flame are speaking here and yonder where blooms the Indian Paint Brush, the Scarlet Painted Cup, cousin of Mullein, Monkey Flower and Fox Glove. And to it comes the Hummingbird. (We saw four about them today.) And, too, we found feeding on the plant, caterpillars, who some day will be Checker-spot Butterflies. Castilleja is its scientific name.

Earth's crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God.

June 17th -- I have just returned from taking the caterpillars to grass. Grandfather's eyes twinkled when he met me in the field taking caterpillars to grass, and he said in his kindly way, "I met you this morning taking the cows to pasture, now it is the butterflies. Whose turn comes next?"
"The plump ones who are to be Indian Skipper Butterflies when they grow up, and the reason I didn't bring all the caterpillars at once -- all those feed on grass -- was because the herding of caterpillars is more difficult than the herding of cows. After the caterpillars browse awhile I bring them home with more grass like that upon which they were feeding in the field. Now I must take the caterpillars of Indian Skipper to pasture."
June 21st -- Out in the meadow where the land is damp and where hundreds of Camases are blooming -- that is where we have been today. And a wonderful time we have had with Camas fairies who wear the Joyous Blue. Grandfather, finding us among the Camases, told us how their bulbs were prized by the Indians and that a war -- "the Nez Perce Indian War" in Idaho was caused by encroachments upon the territory rich in these bulbs -- also he said that Bears like the bulbs. These Camas fairies are cousins of Mission Bells and many Lilies.
June 29th -- In the nest of Nakomis, the little field mouse, I found two Assassin Bugs.


Grasshopper
(Mark Cassino)

July 17th -- Over the meadow they flit. Over the clover they hover -- these Sulphur Butterfly fairies. Upon the leaf of the Clover an egg I found -- and upon another leaf another egg. We have raised from sixty to ninety each year. And delightful times we have had in Butterfly Nursery watching the caterpillars hatch -- and then feed upon Clover leaves, and then rest on the midribs of the underside of the leaves. We children all think the green caterpillars that are to be Sulphur Butterflies when they grow up, very interesting youngsters. Have you looked for the eggs of Sulphur Butterfly on Clover leaves?

Cloudless Sulphur
(Doctor William Hark)


July 20th -- He has long hind legs and of course he is a good jumper. He has such a solemn face -- this Grasshopper fairy of the fields. He doesn't have his ears in his elbow as Katydid has. His are under his wings on the first segment of his abdomen. Have you watched him clean his antennae? A very cleanly person is this spry fairy of whom a poet, who lived five hundred years before Jesus was born, wrote:

Though doesn't drink and dance and sing,
Happier than the happiest king!
All the fields which thou dost see,
All the plants belong to thee;
All the summer hours produce,
Fertile made with thy juice.
Man for thee does sow and plow,
Farmer he, and landlord thou!
-- Anacreon

July 22nd -- This afternoon we children -- nine of us -- went to the field and climbed upon the old rail fence to get a better view of the fields -- and the Corn Flower fairies -- mostly wearing blue dresses; but some wore purple ones and others white. The longer we stood on the fence watching them the more we wondered how many there were, so we just started out to count them. We did not get many counted until we were sent home to bed -- because while we were counting Corn Flowers we were tramping down the grain. Now wasn't it queer that we hadn't thought of that? But being sent to bed didn't stop one's thoughts of Corn Flowers. Their scientific name is Centaurea (after a wonderful centaur of olden days). They are also Bachelor's Buttons; and each one consists of many flowers.



Wayside songs and meadows blossoms;
nothing perfect, nothing rare;
Every poet's ordered garden yields
a hundred flowers more fair;
Master-singers know a music
richer far beyond compare.

Yet the reaper in the harvest,
'mid the burden and the heat,
'Hums a half-remembered ballad,
finds the easy cadence sweet,
Sees the very blue of heaven
in the corn-bloom at his feet.
-- Van Dyke



From the west to east the warm breath blows,
The slender heads of wheat droop low,
as if in prayer.
Again, the more lightly tossed in merry play,
They bend and bow and sway with measured heat,
But never rest, through shadow and through sun,
Goes on the tender rustle of the wheat.

August 9th -- We children found the eggs of the mate of Daddy-Long-Legs, whose other names are Grandfather, Graybeard and Harvestman, on the ground under a rock in the field. Last year while Grandfather was harvesting we found eggs like unto these and brought them home. They did not hatch until this spring, and the baby Harvestmen were very dear. Each looked like a Daddy-Long-Legs in miniature. They were shy in the daytime -- and so often I came down in my night gown long after bedtime to see what they were doing. It was great the way they changed their skins; and auntie remarked that I saved those little skins they shed as a mother saves the baby clothes, and often we marveled when by accident they lost a leg and grew another. Too, it was entertaining to watch them clean their legs. My -- such long ones they have. If we had stilts like that -- just think of the rate and the distance at which we could travel on our exploration, information trips each day. Grandfather says "Don't think of it" (I'm sure he is afraid that I would not be at home when night came.)

The Indian corn a rustling symphony
Murmurs response to the wind's sweet will.

August 11th -- In Grandpa's pasture we found many Mushroom fairies, they who are called the Common Mushrooms, they whose scientific name is Agaricus campestris. And Uncle went out and gathered some for supper, for these are good to eat. But this Uncle says -- "You children must never taste the Mushrooms you find for some Mushrooms are poison -- and lest it be a poison one you taste 'tis best to taste them not at all." And we won't because Uncle, he knows what is best.

August 13th -- 'Most every day now we children are in the wheat fields and we listen and listen to the music there.


When sun and sky were sweet, in happy noon,
We stood breast-high, mid waves of ripened grain,
And heard the wind make music in the wheat.

August 15th -- In the meadow where the ground is moist the Helmet-flowers grow -- and now they are blooming -- and to them come the Bees, and we children. About them we have planted some of their cousins -- Catnip, Blue curls, Pennyroyal, Wild Thyme and Peppermint, Gill-over-the-ground, and Sweet Basil.

There is strength in the soil;
In the earth there is laughter and youth;
There is solace and hope in the upturned loam.
And lo, I shall plant my soul in it here like a seed!
And forth it shall come to me as a flower of song;
For I know it is good to get back to the earth
-- Stringer

August 20th -- Out in the Alfalfa field -- that's where we have been this morning. Alfalfa fairies are very interesting. Did you know that they are cousins of the Sweet Peas, Clovers and Scotch Broom? That Alfalfa was taken to Greece from Media and was cultivated hundreds of years before Christ was born?
August 23rd -- Josephus Jacobus Benjamin Solomon Rheoboam and I have just been for a tramp -- that is, I did the tramping and J. J. B. S. Rheoboam rode in my biggest apron pocket. He slept part of the way until I had so filled that pocket with food for thirteen patients in the hospital that very little room was left for him. You see Josephus Jacobus Benjamin Solomon Rheoboam is a sleek, fat meadow mouse (not nearly so big as his name) -- and he and I are good friends through sunshine and rain. He is very fond of corn cooked just the way I like it; but mother learned of this and forbid me to carry corn out to J. J. B. S. R., so the only thing to do was to carry J. J. B. S. R. to the corn. For five meals I brought him to the table in my pocket and gave him nibbles in between time. All went well -- I eating with one and keeping the other hand on his lordship of the field, but on the day that I very much needed both hands to cut apart a piece of meat that had not a third hand to restrain the wee beastie, his lordship somehow in a moment was nibbling at the corn in the dish at my left, which belonged not unto me, but to the guest of honor. Lo -- a great electrical storm broke in our dining room and I received the after effects of it out in the woodshed, where the power of the electrical current generated by J. J. B. S. R's appearance at the table was conveyed through the medium of hazel switches. When I had been in bed twenty-one minutes, and seemingly forsaken, who should come peeping over the window sill and creeping over the floor but my little friend of the fields, Josephus Jacobus Benjamin Solomon Rheoboam.
August 27th -- O, the fairy wheels all over the field. We children do like them; so also do Wasps, Flies, Beetles and Bees. But the farmer, he says: "Those pesky wild carrots are taking the field." Queen Anne's Lace is its other name; and well it is named, with its lacy flowers and fringy leaves.

And still with reverent hands we cull
Thy gifts each year renewed;
The good is always beautiful,
The beautiful is good.
-- Whittier



Insect lover of the sun,
joy of thy dominion!
Sailor of the atmosphere;
swimmer through the waves of air;
Voyager of light and noon;
epicurean of June.
-- Emerson

Bumble-bees come and Bumble-bees go. Three times I have found a new Bumble-bee colony in an old nest of field mice. Long hours I have watched near these Bumble-bee homes -- and every minute was full of interest. In exploring to find out whys and wherefores of some things I have learned that a Bumble-bee worker stings. I believe that the smaller Bumble-bee workers tend the babies. It seemed that the larger ones were busy bringing in the honey. Also sometimes I see them mending the covering of the nest.

Burly, dozing bumble-bee,
where thou art is clime for me.
I will follow thee alone,
thou animated torrid-zone!
Zigzag steerer, desert cheerer,
let me choose thy waving lines;
Keep me nearer, me thy hearer,
singing over shrubs and vines.
-- Emerson

Sept. 6th -- Saw two baby Blue Racers hatch out of two eggs in the corner of the meadow to-day. Ten days ago I saw seven eggs there.
Today a letter came from little Marino -- he's one of the lumber camp children who so liked to go with me on our nature walks. And he loved our Cathedral, too. The letter to-day was mostly about White-throated Sparrows. You see, Marino is gone from our Oregon to the land beyond the Rockies. This dear fairy he wrote about is a new fairy he has found there. In the thicket by the old rail fence at the edge of the field was where Marino found these darling Sparrow fairies -- they whose throats are white, they who like seeds of berries and seeds of weeds, they of whom the poet wrote:

Have you heard of the Sing-away Bird,
That sings where the Runaway River
Runs down with its rills from the bald-headed hills
That stand in the sunshine and shiver?
Oh, sing! Sing away! Sing away!
How the pines and the birches are stirred
By the trill of the Sing-away Bird!
'Twas a White-throated Sparrow
that sped a light arrow
Of song from his musical quiver.
And it pierced with its spell every valley and dell
On the banks of the Runaway River --
Oh, sing! Sing-away! Sing-away!
The song of the wild singer had
The sound of a soul that is glad.
-- Lucy Larcum

Marino saw one wee White-throated Sparrow alight on a slender weed stalk -- and down came weed stalk, birdie and all.
October -- In the night, last night, I heard them calling, "Kill-dee, kill-dee, kill-dee." Over and over again they told their name -- these cousins of Golden Plover, Snowy Plover and Mountain Plover.
When Autumn time comes walking across the fields 'tis time to transplant Wild Flower fairies to our Wild Flower Gardens. To-day we have been transplanting Blue Iris, Blue-eyed Grass and Blue Sailors from the fields to our Garden of Joyous Blue. From the damp meadow we transplanted Helmet-flower and Forget-me-not.
October 6th -- We children love the Crickets, Mother Nature's tiny violinists. This year we raised twenty-seven. And to-day in the fields we found others. We just feel glad all over when we hear them.

Welcome with thy clicking, cricket,
Clicking songs of sober mirth;
Autumn striping field and thicket,
Brings thee to my hearth,
Where thy clicking shrills and quickens,
While the mist of twilight thickens.
No annoy, good humored cricket,
With thy trills is ever blent
Spleen of mine, how does though trick it
To calm content
So by thicket, hearth or wicket
Click they little lifetime, cricket.
-- Bayard Taylor

October 23rd -- O, the little sister of the Daisy -- I found her in the fields today. In June I found her there, too. No wonder she has such a firm hold in the world, when for so many weeks she is sending seed children into the world. She came to us from Europe. They say she dwells also in Asia and Africa. Of names she had a goodly share -- Dog-fennel, May-weed, Pig-sty, Daisy, Dillweed and Fetid Chamomile. Her odor, it is not pleasant; but little flies mind that not. We watch them come and go.
October 27th -- Three quaint elves I met in the field today, and then three more -- and each one's name, it was the same, Leaf-Hopper of Jassidae family. In August on Blue-grass in my Grass Garden there were tiny eggs, and I brought them home to the Nursery. Later from them came baby Leaf Hoppers who changed their clothes three times before they grew up. In June we held a "Leaf Hopper" convention -- and many and varied were the elves in attendance at this convention -- Leaf Hoppers of the Jassidae family.

Ethereal Navigator

May 3rd -- On our way home from school this afternoon we stopped in the fields to sip the nectar from the flower heads of Blue Curls. My, it tasted good. No wonder the Bees liked to call upon Blue Curls. After we had watched the Bees for several minutes we stopped taking the nectar, because we felt it belonged more to them than to us. You see they help Mother Nature send more seed babies (that are to be Blue Curls when they grow up) into the world by aiding in the fertilizing of the flower. Blue Curls are known by other names -- Heart-of-the-Earth, Self-heal and Prunella. They belong to the Mint family.
I was late to school this morning; but I did not mind being late because I found something which I've been trying hard to find for more than three days -- Mother Meadowlark's home. Since the first day I saw her hurrying low through the grass at the edge of the field I felt her nest was near by. Sure enough it was. It was made of grass, and in a clump of grass, and in it were five Baby Meadowlarks. I was so happy to find them, and so busy finding grasshoppers for them to eat, that I forgot what time it was and of course was late to school. But being as I had my lessons for to-day done yesterday teacher only kept me fifteen minutes after school. And then, having kept me in, she went with me to see the Meadowlark babies. I carefully gave her one grasshopper to give them. She, being of a timid nature, held that little grasshopper out on a piece of grass and before the birds had a chance at it the pesky thing hopped off the piece of grass and away.
May 15h -- A lovely shower has come to earth and sweet is the air most everywhere, but sweetest in the field here. We children have just been trying to find where so much fragrance is coming from. We did take in a big breath, and did smell, and did snuff and our search for it did end with Sweet Vernal Grass, for it was the source plainly enough. Sweet Vernal Grass, whose stems are so satiny, is called by scientists Anthoxanthum odoratum.


All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower.
-- Robert Browning

May 19th -- We went to gather wild strawberries today and found Cat-Ears in the field and Cat-Tails at the edge of the swamp. It certainly is interesting the number of things one finds when one goes wild strawberrying. We children all love Cat-Ears -- they are so velvety. We like to sit down among them and place our cheeks against their soft white or purplish blue hair-covered petals, and listen to the earth things talking. Cat-Ears belong to the Lily family and are cousins of Mission Bells, Hyacinths, Stars-of-Bethlehem, Camas and Lamb's Tongue Lily. Cat-Ear we know by three other names -- Calochortus, Star-Tulip and Mariposa Lily, which means Butterfly Lily.

I saw two clouds at morning,
tinged by the rising sun,
And in the dawn they floated on,
and mingled into one.

May 12th -- O, here and there, and far and wide, the field is all creamy with dainty Fairy Cream-cups, of the Poppy family. Cousins of God's Gold are these plants, with uplifted blossoms, nodding buds, and fairy stems.
May 17th -- Found a Mother Kildeer at home in Grandfather's cornfield. She was near unto the corn plant. No home had she builded -- her eggs were on the ground. There were four of them, and they had spots of brown and black upon them. I can hardly wait until the baby Kildeers hatch. I was picking out names for them to-today. Their scientific name is Aegialitis vocifera -- and baby Kildeer are such darling babies.
May 27th -- The little Pear-shaped Puffballs we found in the field today -- and their scientific name is Lycoperdon. Don't you think that Mother Nature has given the Puffball Baby Spores lovely cradles? These are found all over the world.
June 5th -- I've been out in the field gathering grasses -- gathering grasses for seventeen caterpillars, who will be, that is, if all goes well, when they grow up, Whirl-about Butterflies --

Faint, faint and clear
Faint as the music that in dreams we hear
Shaking the curtain-fold of sleep
So softly, softly stirs
The wind's low murmur in the rippled wheat.

July 1st -- Still the Chickweeds bloom in the fields. These Chickweed fairies belong to the Pink family and are cousins of Campion and Cockle. Later in this month each year we children gather Chickweed seeds for bird fairies; and among those who like them well are Canaries and Sparrows.
July 15th -- Out in the field this afternoon I heard the little Violinist, Black Cricket. We children have interesting times with these musicians. We find them under stones and clods in the field. Have you seen their ears on their front legs? Have you brought Crickets home to watch? Where would one keep them? Take a flower pot, plant in it grass and clover, place over this a lamp chimney, and mosquito netting on the top of this. Our Crickets, Violin first and second, Mandolin first and second, fed upon grass and clover, and liked bits of melon rinds and apple.
July 19th -- Have you met Corn Cockle fairies in the field? Corn Cockle fairies, who dwell on both sides of the sea; whose scientific name, Agrostemma, means Crown of the Field; whose cousins are Soapwort, Campion, and Starwort; are invaders from the land beyond the sea. Caterpillars who some day are to be Diathaecia Moths like seeds of Corn Cockle; but the farmers like not these seeds, and the pink of Corn Cockle over the fields means to them only a lot of weeds.


Next Chapter:
In the Woods