Monday, April 27, 2015

Wind's Messages

This day was a very windy day. Living in aged woods means that wind can grab and toss a large stick toward your head maybe wondering if you are good at fetching. I had spent the morning weeding chickweed which overpopulates my yard in the thousands, but is easy to pull. The wind was gusting strongly and I had to be aware if I was under a tree.   Sometimes the branches would groan ominously.  There were torn spring tips of the oaks and tulip poplars flung across the lawn.  My two new roses were wilting with their baby growth as the wind sucked out all of the moisture from their tiny shiny green leaves.

In the later afternoon I decided to take a break and read on the deck with a glass of wine.  The wind was cool, not cold, and intermittent.  It sometimes got so strong and loud I watched my wine glass dance in fear.  It drowned out the songbirds love calls, but not the osprey's challenge.  The male osprey sat face to the wind and threw a piercing call as if challenging the wind to a duel.  He was very strong in his opinions and try as it might the wind could not bend the sharpness of his cry.  His loved one is now sitting on eggs and sat tucked tight in the nest missing the brunt of the breeze.

The vultures that fly over my house were in heaven as their wings could catch these waves of strong air and thus soar faster than they could when they were just riding the warm rise of air on the milder days.  Their shadows came across my book's pages distractingly as they turned toward the house and front yard in repeated circles.

The wind even rocks the tops of the trees that do not yet have a full compliance of leaves.  I wonder if it is shaking them down to their toes so that the roots loosen the soil and begin to lengthen.  It is awesome to see 100 foot masts wave back and forth above my head.  Most of the yellow petals of the tulip poplar have fallen like confetti to the ground all around.  

For a brief time bits of purple clouds held back the sun, but the wind shook them hard and they were compelled to release just a bit of rain and a few drops would fall on my bare feet and the deck and across the pages of my poetry book.  Then the wind tore the purple cotton into mist and apart until they were just cotton tufts.

Clearly on this spring day, mother nature, was not eager to let me read.  Her goal was to break my concentration at every turn. " See,"  she seemed to shout. "See the robins egg blue sky against the purple clouds.  See the yellow party confetti falling into your hair.  See the vulture tip his wings back and forth as if signalling the war is over and he is returning home.  Listen to the rush of air as it sails through the spring woods.  Don't miss it.  You can read some other time."

Friday, April 24, 2015


Potential means power and the root of this word is potent and we all know how visceral that word sounds. We are all attracted to potential because it means growth and change that is positive. Below are some embryonic photos that represent potential.

Buds of the American Redbud tree.
Buds of an apple tree.
Buds of the Asian pear tree in the side yard.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Canoe...Can You?

Out weather is perfect during these very short weeks in April and May and we took our first spring canoe trip down up a nearby river.  I had worked very somewhat hard in the yard and felt I deserved an afternoon gunk-holing.  The trees had leafed out about 20% as the result of one or two nice rains.  We set off from a floating dock.  Floating docks are somewhat of a new experience for me.  As I age, I find squatting or stepping into and out of a canoe is a more difficult experience, made more so when the dock beneath your feet goes up and down with a boat wake.  (I tried not to think about how hard it was going to be upon our return after sitting for several hours!)  But we were being closely watched by parents and two little girls in pink, and had to show our best.  Glad we did not have a bad launch as we were promoting canoeing as a wonderful activity.  

The open part of the river with its reeds and marsh still held fall colors.  But once we rounded the bend and the sun hiding behind a cloud broke through, I was able to get some spring color as the sun's angle was just right!

The photo of this old-time home was blurred from the moving canoe, so I made it into a painting.

Once we moved into the tighter confines of the river we saw many eagles.  Some were mature and some immature.  We also saw at least one eagle's nest, but could not tell from our angle whether it was active.  Eagles here should be feeding fledglings at this time.  The percussion of numerous woodpeckers, the chatter of the eagles, the screeching of the kingfishers, the call of cardinals, titmice and various warblers filled the air deep into the woods.  Further inside where freshwater seeps existed we could hear the songs of hundred of frogs.  We did pass one human couple in a canoe that had brought some music along, but they kept it low and moved past fairly rapidly.  (I will never understand why people find it necessary to get out into the wild and bring canned music!  She was late twenties with a clearly large and artificially filled bikini top and he was a shaved-head dude and their music was awful.)

Soon we were back into the quiet noise once again.  Bits of bright green grass were carpeting small areas here and there.  In between were muddy slides down into the river where the muskrats and otters played.  We startled two muskrats and a few turtles splashed from their sunning on logs.

We went as far up into the narrow part of the river as we could go.  The water was at high tide and upon its reversal we knew our hours were numbered.  

On our way out, this sentinel was surveying the influx of humans on the water and at the shore, or he was looking for those pesky crows.

We startled a few of the year-round geese.  They were noisier than any marching band as they made us aware of their dislike of our presence.

This photo of the gray heron is blurred, but I liked the lines and color and posted it anyway.  We have only a few here right now, and should have more in a month or so.

As we headed back to the dock we thought we saw a wedding ahead, but it turned out to be a photo opportunity before the local prom!  We would be pulling in around the corner of the sea wall at the end that cannot be seen in this photo, so not disturbing their celebration.  It was almost seven and we were feeling hungry and thus rewarded ourselves with enchiladas and Margaritas at a new and very good Mexican restaurant not too far from this shore.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


After a crazy Sunday of hard work in cleaning and planting hubby asked if I felt like going for a walk a few weeks ago. We wanted to check out a nearby campground where our grandson's scout troop is going camping in a few weeks. It has trails to a lovely lonely beach where there is an abundance of fossils. 

It also has a trail above very close to the edge of that cliff that overhangs in the left side of the photo above. I am hoping the Scout leaders have common sense as there is no fence or block to keep 10-year-olds from looking over the edge.  Hubby is going to join them, but only in the evening as we have a full day of volunteer work on that day. 

It was a day of repetitive patterns that caught my eye as the afternoon sun disappeared behind the trees.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Daffy Down Dillies

Sorry, but had to bombard you with these after such a long dark winter. As this post goes to publish they are almost done in the yard and I am looking forward to other bulbs blooming.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cherry Blossoms Make Me Cheery

These were taken at an abandoned home MacMansion that was once a lovely building in my neighborhood and is now in disrepair as the banks ignore its potential for sale.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Teeny Tinies

The smallest of the flowers arrive in the spring when your eyes are caught by their easy diminutive  beauty against the gray/greens of everything else.  Soon the bolder and larger blossomed plants arrive and these fall to the background, forgotten.

 This is speedwell and it really speeds very well across the lawn and beds and everywhere.

Lungwort has such an unattractive name, but is a soft rally of little pink bells against a spotted green leaf.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Rooting Around in the Spring

Weeding...that dreaded ugly activity that some put off until the weeds are beginning to take over.  Some who love the earth less than the rest of us will use a toxic chemical that can wend its way through the earth into rivers, streams and aquifers, a process that requires money but little physical effort on their part.  Some, like me, find weeding therapeutic and try to do it right after a heavy rain and before seed heads form.  We love that neat and tidy look at the end of a back braking afternoon and are in an 'other' category.

While visiting the National Botanic Gardens in D.C. the other weekend we stumbled across a really cool display about roots.  Roots that feed weeds and non-weeds both of which are hard to define.

Roots that grow above and below ground.  Roots that are attached to the mother plant and others that attach to corms and tubers.

Then we came upon a really cool display of various grasses and their roots.

It was as if someone had cut through the middle of a prairie to show us that secret underground.  Look at the mass and length of this food/water transportation system.  You should also realize that some roots send out chemicals to deter different plant species or attract younger of the same plant species!  Some of which were so long they had to have their toes tied up!

Now when you are pulling your little garden weeds that may reach only a few inches below the surface of the earth, remember this scientist below...

and rest on your laurels.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

A Bit of a Re-run

Lenton Rose
I am not religious as I have posted many, many times. But I love the Easter season as it is the time of giving up something to be conscious of the spirituality of life and of our hope in our ability to change things beginning with ourselves.   According to "Wiki", that non-religious voice of the Internet, this is the time of prayer, penance, repentance of sins, alms giving, atonement and self-denial for Christians. All of these activities are good for any soul of any religion.  The term lent actually has some relation to the Germanic meaning long...longer days which is spring.  Of course scholars argue about how long this period lasts, how long the actual fast lasts, or whether fasting is just giving up something we love for the time.  But all this discussion of the details destroys the spirit of the period and my liberal soul tells me to let each person find their own path in restoration and seeking forgiveness for sins from whomever.  May your Easter have many blessings.

Thursday, April 02, 2015


It is appropriate that one of the first colors to appear when mother earth awakens is sunshine. Bright, yellow, warming. After such a cold, gray, gloomy, wet, despairing, dispiriting March, should not the slightest ray of sunshine pierce our eyes and make us catch our breath? I know that I am aging, because in the past, I would have roses pruned back by late February. But my spirit was not with my intellect and just yesterday I finally got that simple job completed. Then I turned and had to pick the half-dozen daffodils that were not even in full bloom. Their little yellow eyelids were still closed against the warming air. But I brought them inside and within hours they had opened their faces into smiling cheerfulness and then they sent out the most amazing scent of spring. My rooms were filled with the perfume as if in a greenhouse. But unlike my prior post, this was my house, not someone's exotic greenhouse.