Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rainy Days

Yesterday and today have brought dark and rainy days.
And in some parts of the U. S., 
there has been so much rain that it is flooding. 
This is ironic considering that so much of the country
was drought-stricken last year.
 There seems to be no in-between.

This morning, I'm looking out my window at the soggy back yard,
the trees blackened by the rain,
and the misty, cloudy sky
still visible behind the emerging leaves on the trees.

And there are two bright red cardinals,
 a chickadee, and a robin feeding
all of whom are oblivious to the weather.
They all look extra bright against the dark woods.

So today, another photo gallery, 
this one of the beauty of rain.
We'll start with one of my favorite rain scenes, 
crystalline rain drops on leaves:

And how about raindrops on bright red berries?

Or a few casual rain drops on a yellow blossom?

Here's a beautiful clear rain puddle reflecting some palm trees:

Rain can turn a common asphalt road into a glossy, reflective ribbon:

This last one is beautiful and my favorite in this collection.
 I love the way the colors and shapes of spring
are softened by the raindrops on the window:


Monday, April 29, 2013


"The Return of the Goddess: A Rainbow of Iris"

The iris are blooming about two weeks late this year,
but any iris in full flower is well worth the wait.
I have always loved iris. Nothing can compare with their beauty.
Whether viewing a single flower's delicately curved petals up close,
or catching sight of a mass of iris grouped together in a brush stroke of color,
the pleasing effect is the same.

Here are some more of my favorite rainbow iris:

Is there anything more nostalgic than this soft blue?

Purple and white bi-colors offer a feeling of vitality:

I can't resist the mystery of this black iris:

This peach iris has "southern belle" written all over it:

On a cloudy spring day, a golden yellow iris
is the only sunshine we need:

And  one of my favorites, a deep royal purple:

I wanted to end with a quote about iris,
but not finding any, I decided a quote by Iris,
Iris Murdoch that is, would be as good:

People from a planet without flowers 
would think we must be mad with joy
the whole time to have such things about us.

I agree. What can inspire more happiness than flowers in the spring?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Silence is Golden

"Sunday Serenity"

I used to watch the CBS program "Sunday Morning,"
but only  to see the final few moments.
It was at the end of the program that scenes of serenity 
and natural beauty were shown without any talk or commentary.
So today, Still Waters blog is offering a moment of tranquility
with "serenity" photos from morguefile.com:



Saturday, April 27, 2013

Teddy Bear's Picnic

When I was a kid, my mom used to sing Henry Hall's song 
The Teddy Bears' Picnic:

photo from:  Tricycle Theater

If you go down in the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today, you'd better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.
(lyrics by e-lyrics.com)

And today our foster pekingese Teddy Bear Blue
will be going to the Potomac Valley Pekingese Club's 
Annual Pekingese Picnic.
He's wearing his kerchief with the fire hydrants on it 
because he tilts at fire hydrants and cable peds
as if he were Don Quixote himself.
(Teddy is available for adoption from Potomac Valley Pekingese Club,
www.potomacpekes.org )

And Teddy Bear will go along with his four brothers and sisters:
Wylie, Lily, Missy, and Cosi,
each in a gingham picnic kerchief.
Because when the pekingese picnic rolls around,
all the little teddy bear pekes gather for a day of fun.

Every Teddy Bear who's good is sure of a treat today
There's lots of marvelous things to eat
and wonderful games to play.

Sometimes it's good to get away from the seriousness of life
and just take your pekingese to a picnic.

Friday, April 26, 2013


 "A Nesting Goose"

Here in the Shire a few years ago, there was a lot of excitement
when the employees of a big box store 
discovered a goose nesting in their parking lot
on one of the concrete and grass medians.

photo, The Forest Log blog, Tom Forrester. April 2011

Rather than call animal control to remove the goose,
the employees adopted it,
setting out water so she wouldn't have to go far 
to quench her thirst.
People were excited that nature was unfolding her magic
in such an unlikely place.

Apparently, geese are "urban nesting" lots of places.
Photo, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department charmeck.org

Yesterday, I noticed the goose that had been sunning itself
on top of one of the planter-pedestals in the large fountain 
in front of my office building
was sitting there again yesterday, fully awake.
I think she may be nesting.

photo, Longing for Maine blog, Cynthia J. Cage, 

If so, it will be interesting to see how she gets her goslings 
out of the nest since below is a long drop into the fountain's pool.

photo, morguefile.com

But since she is a goose who goes by her inner wisdom,
I'm going to assume she'll figure out a way.
And one day, if we're lucky,
there will be some fuzzy yellow baby geese 
swimming in the fountain.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mockingbirds and Crows

The day before yesterday, I saw 3 mockingbirds.
One flew into a small ornamental tree I happened to be walking past.
He swooped low in front of me and then glided up onto a branch,
where he closed his barred wings 
and turned around to watch the pedestrian traffic.

photo, morguefile.com

The second mockingbird I saw was sitting on a branch 
of one of our chindo viburnum shrubs.
Mockingbirds always seem to me to have two speeds: slow and sitting
and fast and flitting.

Mockingbird mating season means noisy nights in South Florida photo
Photo from the Palm Beach Post newspaper.
Visit the Post here:  Palm Beach Post 2010 File photo

The third mockingbird I saw yesterday was flying fast.
It was chasing a crow across the street,
occasionally moving in to goad the crow forward.
Curiously, this is the second time
I have seen a mockingbird chase a crow across a busy intersection
while I was idling at a stop light.

Google images photo, en.wikipedia.org

It is always clear the mocker means business,
giving the crow a  peck or a prompt when it catches up.
And the crow doesn't put up that much of a fight.
Almost like a game, and the mockingbird is the victor.
I've read that this kind of behavior is a common form 
of staking territory or protecting one's nest.
Either way, it's fun to watch the chase.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Paleo Diet

It seems a new trend is gaining popularity:
the idea of the "paleo diet,"
which is to eat only meat, fruits and vegetables,
while avoiding grains, starches, and dairy.

photo from 

According to an article on 
dining like a dinosaur or a hominid is supposed by some to be healthier.
Seriously? No oatmeal? No rice? 
No bread and butter?
No mashed potatoes?
No cheese? 
No thanks!

There is an irony at work here, I think.
People obsess over their health 
while doing nothing substantive to improve it.
We could learn from the animals and wildlife around us.

Sleeping Goose - North Pond Nature Sanctuary - Chicago, USA
Photo by Brad Harbach, April 29, 2012 
on the Absolute Visit Trip blog, accessible here:
Print is for sale on the web site.

Yesterday I saw a sleeping goose curled up on a pedestal planter 
in the middle of a fountain.
The sun was warm, the sky was blue,
and she rested peacefully between a parking lot and an office building
as people moved around her at their usual frantic pace, 
on their way to sit in front of computers 
in an enclosed space  for several hours.

I think it's best if we look to the goose and other creatures
for guidance, and rather than remove a variety of healthy foods from our diets,
to live a life more in tune with the rhythms of nature.
Like our resting goose, 
who takes advantage of  a blue sky and warm sun to linger awhile
and "to sleep, perchance to dream."
And to keep ordering an occasional pizza 
with cheese on top and crust on the bottom.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Field

The fields breathe sweet ...

  --"Spring, the Sweet Spring" 
by Thomas Nashe

When I was looking for photos for yesterday's blog post
about the fields of henbit I saw in the Midwest,
I came across a number of photos that captured
the beauty of  fields full of the colors of spring.
They are so striking, I thought I would share them.
This photo appears to be of a field of tulips:

photo, morguefile.com

I'm not at all sure what field flowers are in the following photo, 
but they are a pretty yellow:

photo, morguefile.com

And what could be lovelier than a field of Texas blue bonnets?

photo, morguefile.com

This next photo is a lavender field,
so it's not officially a spring field,
but it is so spectacular I thought I would add it anyway.
It reminds me of a color we used to call lavender blue:

photo, morguefile.com

On the 24th, there will be the Pink Full Moon, so called because 
the full moon of April shines down on fields of wild  phlox,
creating rose-colored moonlight.
The following photo is from the blog Not Dabbling in Normal"
and simply captioned "Wild Phlox"
posted by Sincerely, Emily.

Springtime brings banks of flowers both cultivated and wild.
They color hillsides and open fields in spectacular hues.
No wonder so many cities and towns across America
are named Springfield.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Color Purple

"The Delights of Henbit in the Spring"

Over the weekend, I traveled far west of the Shire as I had last summer.
The Tidewater region had been enjoying warm spring days,
but the part of the Midwest that I journeyed to was still experiencing winter’s chill.
The contrast in temperatures was an unusual sensation, 80s
and the height of spring in Tidewater, 40s and the hope of spring in Missouri.

But the days were sunny, so I enjoyed the long drives we took through the countryside.
There were many bucolic scenes, including grazing deer, horses, and cattle.
The gentle rolling hills and plains were greening, and I particularly liked seeing some
fields and pastures still showing golden grasses intermixed with the emerging green.

photo, morguefile.com

But the most spectacular color came from the long expanses of field and lea
covered in rosy-purple henbit as far as the eye could see.

heather photo, morguefile.com

It looked like we were passing along fields of lavender or heather,
as in the photo above, but the lavish color was just everyday henbit, 
which, as my sister observed, is beautiful
unless it is choking out the grass in one’s own suburban lawn.

photo, morguefile.com


Even so, I loved seeing it.
It was an unexpected pleasure in a spring with  fluctuating temperatures:
when I left home, the air conditioning was on; when I returned, the heat.
So, remembering sunny fields full of the color purple--
it's the kind of memory that will remain.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mary had a Little Lamb

Flocks of lamb and sheep are uncommon here in the Tidewater part of Virginia.
So many people have never seen a lamb enjoying the first warm days of spring.
It is a lot of fun, actually.
No creature gets into the joy of a spring day better than a baby lamb does.

photo, morguefile.com

Lambs love to frolic in the warm spring sunshine.
They will also jump straight up into the air,
lifting off from all four feet.
It's as if they had springs on the bottom of their feet.

The first time I ever saw a lamb jump like that,
I was amazed. I remember running home to tell my mom 
that a lamb had jumped straight up into the air,
a fact she already knew but had never shared with me.
I guess some things are more difficult to work into a conversation than others.

If you've never seen a lamb jump, here's an opportunity.
It's a youtube video of a domesticated lamb jumping on its owner's bed.
It's pretty cute. To watch, click here on this link:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring Flowers in Living Color

I'm traveling this weekend to an area that is still a little on the frosty side.
So I'm thinking I may need a little visual reminder of spring while I'm gone.
Here are some beautiful spring photos from morguefile.com:

Some kinds of lilies or iris, I'm not sure which. 
I love blue flowers:

These rose-pink and white dianthus are charming:

Nothing can lift the heart like a yellow daffodil:

Or violas:

Over the last decade, my heart has developed a fondness
for green flowers, like these from bloomfloraldesign.blogspot.com:

I love the way they mix with the white flowers.
And what montage of spring flowers would be complete without tulips?

Spring flowers--one of the best things about the season!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Where the Deer and the Antelope (?) Play

This week I walked into my office and saw several deer,
including one fawn, grazing in the wide open field behind my office building.

fawn photo, morguefile.com

The field has thick trees and brush on both sides. 
At each end, massive office buildings form a barrier.
A small creek, barely visible under tall grass, 
cuts across the southern end of the field.
It is a perfect place for the deer to feed and soak up the sun.

A photo I took last year of the deer.

So I stood there and watched them for awhile.
Something about seeing wildlife going about their day 
is so relaxing. It makes us stop what we are doing
and enjoy a brief moment of quietude.

I went about my work and as I was preparing to leave for the day,
I looked out the window. 
No deer.
Suddenly, one ran from the grove of trees on the right.
He hurried across the meadow to the safety of the other stand of trees.
And then another one ran across.
And another.
All together, one-by-one, seven deer ran across the field as fast as they could.
I wondered if they were escaping a predator
although I can't imagine what,
since there aren't any that I know of there in the woods.

photo, morguefile.com

We could make guesses, 
but it seems peculiar to me that each deer ran alone across the grass
instead of all together in a group.
It reminded me of that old game we used to play as kids:
Red rover, red rover, we dare <Name> over.
Of course the game requires one side to link arms 
and stop the runner from breaking through the line.
And of course, deer would never do that.
But then again, who knows what they were doing under the cover of the trees?
Spring can make everyone a little silly.