Following our return from China, I wandered around the yard, seeing what needed to be done. I came across something I have never seen in our yard before: sap wells, pictured above, most likely made by a Red-breasted Sapsucker.
Sapsuckers drill holes in young tree bark to, umm, suck the sap and return to eat the bugs attracted to the sap. As it turns out, lots of birds and insects like sap, so it's likely that the sapsucker's work attracted more visitors. This got me to thinking about all the things that went on in our little spot in the world when we were far away from it. Leaves fell, rain fell, the sun shone, birds, insects, squirrels, cats and weed seeds came and went. The spring bulbs bloomed and died and the azaleas flowered. All this stuff happening without us! Day after day, night after night, our house was mostly empty and still, but life outside went on around it.
Now, life in Beijing goes on without us. The new teachers are in “our” apartment, nervously awaiting the start of another academic year. And we sit on our deck and wait for the sapsucker to return.