We love the sight of the brown and ruddy earth;
it is the color of life, while a snow-covered plain is the face of death.
Yet snow is but the mask of the life-giving rain; it, too, is the friend of man,
the tender, sculpturesque, immaculate, warming, fertilizing snow.
~ John Burroughs
Out my window, February 25, 2021
Today I’m grateful for the foot of snow we received during the night. Colorado is experiencing extreme drought and wildfires are definitely in our near future, but right now I’m embracing this gift from the skies. And because this is a climate emergency, I don’t care if this sounds greedy: “More, please.”
Silver Jack Reservoir. July 29, 2019
disappearance of water
There are so many thoughts and feelings jumbled inside me right now regarding the climate crisis, green new deal, capitalism, greed, cruelty, political failure, collective trauma, heartache and rage, but rather than unpack all that, I opted for self-care. I just spent the last thirty minutes looking through photos from camping trips and hikes, birding excursions, quick getaways in the nearby open space, etc. It was nice to gaze upon and remember those moments.
May 6, 2019
Because I need to get outside to shovel the much-needed snow we finally got last night, I had to quit my trip down memory lane and make a photographic decision. I opted to celebrate (again) the juvenile Limpkin that allowed me to take many photos of it when I visited Kapok Park.
One bird can’t change the trajectory of the world, but this limpkin can and did soothe my soul. Maybe it will do the same for you.
I took this photo exactly one year ago and I’m now wondering if Emma closed her eyes because she saw into the future.
Maybe Emma sensed that one year later we’d be on Day 12 of a mold issue/odor issue in our pantry during a stretch of brutally cold weather. Maybe she knew the mold mitigation company would have to come out to treat the problem a second time. Maybe our sweet Emma couldn’t bear to see what was coming.
Maybe or maybe not. But if Emma really was that damned clairvoyant, I wish she’d given us a heads-up on the improperly mounted chimney cap that was gonna cause major condensation problems.
Today’s the last day of the Great Backyard Bird Count and I wanted to share a photo of the largest bird we tallied: this beautiful Red-tailed Hawk.
February 12, 2021
The smallest species? Bushtits! We counted fourteen of them at one point. All fourteen of those wee Bushtits could easily ride on this hawk’s back. I’d pay big money for that photo!
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few. ~ Emily Dickinson
July 18, 2019
While this photo is of a bee and lavender (not clover) in my yard (rather than the prairie), the image still induces a reverie.
House finch. February 12, 2021
House Finch etiquette
grab seed and sit at table
dining al fresco
Today I’m grateful for my wavy hair that hides scissors-related mistakes. I haven’t had a professional haircut in over a year and just cut my own for the third time during this no-end-in-sight pandemic. Does it look like a pro cut? Nope. Do I care? Not at all. Do I feel better now? Absolutely!
Tracy post-cut. February 8, 2021
Here’s a photo taken with my Android phone camera (that takes incredibly low-quality selfies). Looking at it, I already see some too-long strands here and there. Not to mention I appear slightly cross-eyed. 😂
Whatever. I’m relieved to have less hair to deal with and am now ready to face the coming week.
eta: adding this other photo because it shows more egregious hair errors!:
There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. ~ Francis Bacon
Marcel of the seemingly enormous head and tiny body, Nov 15, 2020
Sky honors Barry B’s passing on Feb 4, 2021
You loved life, sunsets
flying your plane way up high
made the sky your own
May this bold, beautiful bloom brighten your day, as well.
Daylily, July 19, 2019
Emma and I just returned from a sunny and warm excursion in the open space. We hiked up the mountain as fast as we could and then ran down. Well, we did some running. My short-legged companion doesn’t like the heat and slowed to a walk multiple times. At one point, she even did her signature “goin’ on strike” move. She stopped and dug in to pull the leash taut, then flopped on her belly with pink tongue hanging out.
I’d already offered her water from my cupped hand when we were at the top of the mountain, which she refused. So when she was on her belly, I tried another approach: pouring water in front of her. Instead of lapping it with her tongue, she ignored it. Silly dog, refusing libation when hot and thirsty. Well, I wasn’t willing to take no for an answer and pried her jaws open to pour water in her mouth.
Worked like a charm! Emma got up and ran almost the entire way back to the street. Such a good doggo.
(Note: Zippy took the photo with the camera still set for shooting the Brown Creeper in low light even though Emma and I were in bright, bright light. I salvaged the photo via a filter. Artsy, no?)
As I hoop-danced this morning, I watched various nuthatches and a squirrel visit the peanut feeder hanging in the tree outside the window. And then I noticed another bird moving up and down the tree trunk. The elusive Brown Creeper!
I stepped out of the spin and grabbed my camera, hoping I’d finally get a decent photo of that beautiful bird that never stops moving.
Definitely not high-quality captures, but these photos are documentation of the morning I paused my happy hoop-dancing session to stalk a Brown Creeper.
The day got away from me and I didn’t want to shut off my laptop without posting something here. A quick search through my photos brought me to this image. It feels appropriate as I’m feeling a bit worn out, my wings frayed like this butterfly.
September 12, 2020
I shall rest up and fly again tomorrow.
Marcel. September 14, 2019
Indecision and reveries are the anesthetics of constructive action. ~ Sylvia Plath
January 10, 2021
junco not into sharing
feathered dine and dash
As I stand here at my desk, revising a beloved manuscript (yet again), I’m feeling prickles of doubt about the direction I’ve taken. I’m wondering and worrying and feeling a bit shaky on my writer-legs. There’s one eternal question:
“Are you making things better or worse, Tracy?”
Muse-dog Emma on November 20, 2020.
I’d dearly love the answer to this question in the right-here-and-now. However, only time will tell. And only if I complete this revision. So, best get back to it.
I decided to bless this Monday with a wee Pygmy Nuthatch and went in search of a quote to accompany my photo. Alas, brainyquote.com interpreted my “nuthatch” request as a search for Margaret Thatcher quotes. NOOOOOOOOO!
I remember gagging when the valedictorian in Zebu’s high school class (a young man I like very much), referenced Thatcher in a positive light in his graduation day speech. And more recently, I could barely watch season four of THE CROWN because it included the Iron Lady, a politician whose every mention makes me feel stabby. Gillian Anderson did an amazing job portraying that horrible woman and the heartless policies she championed, but my entire body felt like a mass of raw nerves whenever she was on screen. (Okay, I can’t resist giving a sample of Thatcher’s philosophy: “A world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.”) Spoken like a true colonizer, Maggie.
Anyway, getting back to the original intent. Here’s a sweet little bird that recently visited our yard:
January 10, 2021
Happy Monday to all. Stay well and I wish everyone a good week.
The other day, I glanced out the kitchen window and saw a hawk on the power line. It turned out to be a Cooper’s Hawk and I remained still to admire it, knowing from experience how quickly predator birds will leave the wire. But after a couple minutes, I decided to take a chance and went for my camera.
January 22, 2021
January 22, 2021
I went to a closer window and took a bunch of photos that looked to be pretty good. The entire time, the hawk stayed right where it was on the wire, head turning as it scanned the ground in all directions.
Satisfied with my still shots, I changed the camera settings in preparation for the hawk taking flight. I’d had enough of my many blurred, out-of-focus shots of birds in flight. This time, I’d be ready.
I stood at the window and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Eventually, I went back to the kitchen to make my smoothie, glancing out the window every now and again. The hawk remained. I took my smoothie and stood by the sliding glass door, the camera around my neck. Set to capture motion.
The hawk started turning to his/her right to look directly at me. I raised the camera to my eye and waited. Nothing. I decided to take a quick photo of it glaring at me and so changed the settings. Yep. That’s when the hawk decided to take flight.
I yelled and then laughed. Played by a hawk.