We drove home from West Virginia Sunday right behind the storm, careful to not catch up with it. To the west, the sky was clear and blue. To the east, it was churning with energy. Because of road closures, it took us two days to make the trip
Over the past two years, I’ve posted many flower photos taken at the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, a beloved local attraction where at least one Birds reader puts in many hours as a volunteer. The town's garden club had the brilliant idea to recycle an old trolley bridge into a public garden. Its a perfect place to clear your head and find something to sing about, in spring, summer and fall. 
We almost lost it over the weekend. 
Then, there’s Wilmington, Vermont, where we spend as much time as we can in a cabin in the woods, a little west of town. We lived there full time most of last year, but now that we’re back in our home in Massachusetts, we go up on weekends. It’s only 40 scenic minutes away, on slow roads. You would never know the Deerfield River, seen below, could turn into a ferocious dragon in a few short hours, with a little coaxing from Irene. 

We almost lost it over the weekend. 

The last video was taken from the west side of the landmark eatery Dot's Diner, the little white building on the right and next to the bridge, in the previous videos. You'll notice the water completely covers the bridge on its east side, at this point. To see the river's normal size, look at that little trickle going alongside Dot's in the winter shot, above. 
Our cabin is standing and we think it’s fine, but the town it’s part of was all but destroyed. You may have seen the video on CNN. A young woman was washed away by roaring flood waters.

At this point, the state and federal emergency management people have mobilized to bring in water, food and medicine, while the locals have set up the high school as a shelter for those who lost their homes or don’t want to live without utilities. Our road was completely washed out, but a temporary path was quickly plowed out by the town because some important people live on it (not us).

But, the US highway on either side to town is closed, indefinitely. To get to the next town, some people will have to drive south to Massachusetts, then take another road north, hoping they don’t run into a roadblock or a hole big enough to swallow a semi. There are so many bridges out around here, engineers could work on them for a lifetime.

How many bridges? Here's a map showing many roads and 36 bridges out in just ONE county: http://www.windhamregional.org/roadstatus

Peaches, plums, apricots and early apples! It must be late summer. Hmmmm.

What could be better than sweet, drippy peaches and yellow plums over homemade ice cream, after some Silver Queen corn-on-the-cob and heirloom tomatoes. This is the time of year we live for.

Enjoy it while you can. Nippy nights have started to turn the trees, here and there. You-know-what is just around the corner.


As summer wears on, I’m very aware that good swimming days are numbered. Soon, the nights will turn so cool, the water won’t heat up enough during the day to make it comfortable to slip into the lake or even some outdoor pools. That’s when I reluctantly return to the Y pool, which I love in the winter, but would rather not go to in August or even September.

For the swimmers among us, here are links to some interesting swimming stories:

The difficulties and expense some people are willing to go to, just to find water http://nyti.ms/qEi2YK

Pool wars in one city’s big, new municipal pool

Jane Brody reminds us water heals, but can also harm   

Be mindful when you swim

Practice swimming as meditation

For much, much more on this topic, click on Swimming as Meditation on the right.

Book art by Sue Blackwell and Georgia Russell http://www.cherrycoloured.com/wordpress/?p=648
Looking for a good summer read? No need to look further than the handy Birds on A Wire Blog Bookshelf, which is stuffed with volumes – bound and digital – written by friends and readers of this blog.

If you have something to contribute to the shelf, send along the appropriate information and a link for purchase or perusal.

Support Birds authors!

Nature and Gardening

Native Plants for High-Elevation Western Gardens
Janice Busco and Nancy R. Morin
How to plant and nurture each species 

Culture and Arts

It Came from the '70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now
Connie Wilson
A look back at great films from the 1970s 

Mystery and Horror

Cut Short
Dead End
Road Closed
Three (!) best-selling thrillers featuring DI Geraldine Steele, by Leigh Russell

Hellfire & Damnation 
Connie Wilson
Award-winning collection of horror stories
Perfectly Health Man Drops Dead
Bruce Hartman
Page-turner about a Philadelphia lawyer accused of murder

Health and Beauty

The Beauty Prescription
Eva Ritvo, M.D. and Debra V. Luftman, M.D.
The complete formula for looking and feeling beautiful

Identity, Health and Women
Jacqueline Ann Christodoulou
A critical social psychological perspective

The River of Forgetting
Jane Rowan
One woman’s path to healing from childhood sexual abuse

A Woman’s guide to Heart Attack Recovery
Charlotte Libov
Popular women's health advocate tells how to survive, thrive and protect your health after a heart attack 

Alter Your Life: Overbooked? Overworked? Overwhelmed? 
Kathleen Hall
Taking control of your life, by mindfulness guru and director of the Mindful Living Network


Sunshine Patriots
Inventive, funny and poetic sci-fi
My Booty Novel
Fresh, young black writer’s take on life, love, sex
Both by Bill Campbell (Goodreads)

Lifestyle and Humor

Pop Culture
Bill Campbell
New dad ditches job to write a novel, take care of baby and comment on what’s happening in the world around him


Discovering Long Island
Barbara Shea
The last word on LI, by former Newsday travel editor


When the News Went Live
George Phenix, Bob Huffaker, Bill Mercer and Wes Wise
The definitive inside story of the JFK assassination and the Oswald killing, from the men who covered it

Jesse James, mon père Jesse Edward James, Jr., and Marie Rivet, translator
Memoirs of the famous outlaw’s son, en français