Understated beauty

Mourning Dove. February 14, 2020

A mourning dove’s beauty is an understated one: the colors of its feathers ranging through various shades of gray and drab violet, often with a striking splash of turquoise around the eyes.                                ~ Jonathan Miles

HA! As I looked through my photos and came upon this dove, I thought the same thing. Apparently, this Jonathan fellow and I think alike.

I believe

American Robin. February 14, 2020.

You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes …
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing –
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.
~  Douglas Malloch

Sunday Confessional: the true image of my Self is sometimes pure chaos

Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed. ~ Indra Devi

House Finch. January 25, 2020

At noon today, I was getting focused and situated at my desk for the afternoon’s revisions when I received a text from a climate friend with a request that blew up those revisions plans. And guess what? I’m totally cool with that because sometimes To-Do lists are overrated.

Sometimes we gotta let in the spontaneity and chaos. Sometimes those elements are the purest reflection of my true Self.

Heart with song

December 16, 2019

The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense is his life, large-brained, large-lunged, hot, ecstatic, his frame charged with buoyancy and his heart with song.
~ John Burroughs

Blurred masterpiece

I went in search of a quotation, thinking I’d find one about how days can truly feel as if they passed in a blur. Instead, I found something much better. A quote that makes me laugh:

Western Scrub Jay. Dec 8, 2017

Photography is painting with light! The blurs, the spots, those are errors! But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into painting. And for that you need as bad a camera as possible! If you want to be famous, you have to do whatever you’re doing worse than anyone else in the whole world. ~ Miroslav Tichy

 

I’m pretty sure I achieved that last line. Well, except for the fame part.

Celebrate, honor, and protect

When my friend Laura tipped me off to today’s significance, National Bird Day, I went in search of an appropriate bird photo. Oops. I could look at bird photos for a looong time. So many beauties to choose from. I forced myself to make a decision and settled on this dapper Blue Jay.

Clearwater, Florida. May 3, 2019

Birds are the canaries in the climate change coal-mine. Today and every day, I celebrate their existence. I can’t fathom a world without them. We must make big changes and quickly. #GreenNewDeal

Art’s crowning reward

House Finch. November 27, 2019

Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.            ~ Frederic Chopin

 

Out my window

A flock of European Starlings descended upon our backyard.
Here are three in flight.
These birds quickly flap-flap-flap and then gliiiiiide. Flap-flap-flap-gliiiiiide.
Multi-colored, winged missiles.
Some people resent starlings’ aggressive and invasive behaviors.
Me? I hope they come back soon.

Didn’t mean to turn my back

I’m pretty consistent about posting here, not because I have a following that waits with bated breath, but because this blog is like a record of my life. The documentation helps me keep my memories in order.

Western/Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay. December 8, 2017

I didn’t post the past two days and it wasn’t because I turned my back on this ongoing life project. But as a result of not posting, I feel a bit anxious about those holes in my “official record.” I’ll do a quick update.

Friday, December 6, was another Global Climate Strike. I rode the light rail into Denver and then met my fellow Sunrise Movement (Colorado) activists at 10:30. We marched to the capitol, chanting and singing songs. There were maybe five hundred people total? The rally was inspiring and informative, and I loved hearing perspectives from a diverse range of young voices.

Afterward, our Sunrise group went to Governor Polis’s office to deliver climate action demands and request a meeting. Earlier efforts have been ignored. So this time we stuck around for a while. Three hours of a sit-in that included more storytelling, chanting, and songs. We left his office peacefully at the end of the day, walking and singing out to the rotunda where we slowly collapsed to a die-in. As we lowered ourselves in silence, we covered our faces with black bandanas that said either TIME’S UP or WHAT’S YOUR PLAN?

It was my first die-in and I loved it. It was a meditative and profound experience to lie on that cold marble, motionless as capitol activity continued around us.

And Saturday? I spent much of the day reading Running With Sherman: The Donkey With the Heart of a Hero (Christopher McDougall). The book inspired me to run that afternoon for the first time in two weeks. (Note: Denver metro air quality is frequently too unhealthy for running. See “Friday.”)

I’m back at my regularly scheduled life today, taking care of things that need doing. Answering emails. Worm bin maintenance and feeding. Adding words to my work-in-progress. Posting on this blog. Wishing everyone a good Sunday and much good stuff in the coming week.

Standing tall

Great Egret. May 5, 2019. Clearwater, FL

Last night I met with the young leaders of the Sunrise Movement in Colorado, and heard some tough news. As I listened, I slouched lower and then lower in my chair. At the same time, I noticed the young woman across from me sitting straighter, back erect and strong. It was as if I was a cautionary tale. The lower I went, the higher she sat. No caving in for her. It was a beautiful sight.

I’d like to be more mindful of sitting and standing tall, no matter the situation.

A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind. ~ Morihei Ueshiba

Magpie Monday

January 3, 2018

I can’t even tell you how I (accidentally) achieved this weird photographic effect, but I can tell you why I’m using this photo from  2018. There’s currently a magpie calling in the tree outside my window, but I don’t want to get out the camera because I can’t bear to subject my eyes to more strain and pain from all the snow glare.

Instead, I offer this old photo that looks like a computer-generated rendering of a Black-billed Magpie.

Feeding the mysterious

Birds are the most popular group in the animal kingdom.
We feed them and tame them and think we know them.
And yet they inhabit a world which is really rather mysterious.
                                                                              ~ David Attenborough

House Finch. November 1, 2019.

Sunday Confessional: crow envy

Lots of birds visit our yard. We have multiple feeders, a bird bath, native shrubs, and mature trees. Our cats are indoor-only. We’re a bird-friendly destination, yo. Which is why it’s so baffling that crows don’t come around very often. I love crows’ black shininess and their sass. I love their raucous cries and intelligence. I just love crows.

Today I got to love them from afar. We were walking around the neighborhood and were two blocks from our house when we saw a couple crows on a roof, one in a tree, another hopping in the street and another few hopping on the lawn. What did that house and yard have that we don’t have? I stood below this light and asked these two why they didn’t come around my place.

They didn’t give me an answer. Color me envious.

Thankful Thursday: Goldfinch edition

This morning I woke to about 10 inches of snow on the rail. The finches, especially the goldfinches, were very busy in the sunflowers. I brought my camera to the basement and sat next to Marcel at the sliding glass door where he was intently monitoring the birds’ movements. I snapped a total of 124 photos of those active little birds, confident I was getting many good shots. Wrong. Between their near-constant movement, the swaying of the sunflower stalks, and Marcel rubbing himself against me, I ended up with a whole lot of soft images. But I couldn’t delete them all and am including a sample here to document the lovely start to my day.

           

           

                       

Who am I?

I’ve been working on my bird-book project and decided to take a break to post here. As I searched my photos for a Northern Flicker (the bird I’ll be profiling next), I happened upon this photo. I like it very much.

Cypress Point Park, Florida. January 12, 2019.

However, I don’t know what kind of bird it is. It reminds me of an oystercatcher, but I don’t think it is (due to the white eye ring). So, if you can identify this bird, please enlighten me. (Believe me, I’m feeling like an imposter right now. Darn you, shorebirds!)

Flight or fisticuffs

Flight without feathers is not easy. ~Plautus

Great Egret (May 5, 2019) Clearwater, Florida.

I’m nowhere near ready for Monday, in large part because I’m dreading tomorrow morning’s dentist appointment. But it doesn’t seem likely I can sprout wings between then and now, so I guess flight is out. Which leaves fight.

There’s my answer!

I’m still alive, really

Turkey Vulture in Cave Creek Canyon.     5.15.19. Photo by Zippy.

 

Ever have one of those days when it feels as if vultures are circling? Yeah, me too.

I’ve been at my standing desk all afternoon and I think I’d best get moving so I’m not mistaken for carrion.