Thanks a lot, October

Deck and red maple tree on October 10, 2019.

Yesterday we had a high of 80 degrees which then swung to a low of about 20 degrees today. We’re currently at a balmy 25 degrees. Hooray?

I’m praying to the goddesses that we don’t lose trees and shrubs as a result of the temperature swing. The last time this happened, many trees and shrubs (including our own) died. And I’m talking old, well-established trees. It was heartbreaking. The only upside to this current situation is that the snow might provide enough insulation to keep them alive. Last time, there was no moisture involved in the temperature swing.

I’m beaming toasty thoughts to the trees and shrubs. Please hang in there!

Red Eyes R Us

My one last act before stepping away from the computer today is to post this photo of a boxelder bug. I didn’t realize when I photographed it this afternoon that it has red eyes. Guess what? So do I after all that computer work.

Solidarity, Boxelder!

Behold

Nature will bear the closest inspection.
She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf,
and take an insect view of its plain.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Mariposa Lily. Centennial Cone Park, July 10, 2019.

Hello, October

October 1, 2019

In October, a maple tree before your window lights up your room like a great lamp. Even on cloudy days, its presence helps to dispel the gloom.                                                  ~ John Burroughs

Poppy pride

Many people welcome and celebrate autumn’s arrival, and I agree there’s much to be said for cooler temperatures. However, I’m not a fan of stuff dying off. I get that it has to happen, but what makes my heart soar is the new growth and bright colors after long, dark winters.

So today I take another look back at the poppies from my front yard. Look at all that glorious color and all that potential for many more blooms!

On this final day of September, I celebrate the exuberant poppy.

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!)

Shh, don’t tell my neighbor

For the first time in the 22+ years we’ve lived here, there’ve been multiple bear sightings in our neighborhood. Maybe not so surprising since we’re adjacent to a whole bunch of open space.

I’m not sure who shat this scat, but I could make a guess. But whoever it was did the deed on our neighbor’s driveway. The brand new driveway she’s so particular about that she was recently out there scrubbing and scrubbing at a few oil drips. So when I saw this pile of berry remains I knew she wouldn’t be happy.

But when the pile was still there the next day I realized my neighbor was out of town. Here was my chance! So I went over to photograph the remains before picking it up. (Note: I did not scrub the concrete). I wanted to get rid of the evidence so she wouldn’t know a bear had possibly come calling. My neighbor isn’t exactly wildlife-friendly. She throws rocks at bunnies that “eat my lawn” and last spring purposely drove over a snake she saw in the street in front of her house. (That’s right, she got in her car and started it up for the express purpose of killing a snake. Thankfully, it didn’t die and I helped it escape her wrath, which she then directed at me). I figured if she found out that a bear might’ve taken a dump on her driveway, she’d either be out front with a cannon or would call in the National Guard or Ted Nugent.**

So let’s keep this little story between us, okay?

** Zippy did spot her outside scrubbing at the berry stain.

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.

Hoping to burst into bloom

Centennial Cone Park hike. July 10, 2019.

I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom,
till you yourself burst into bloom.
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I’ve mentioned before that I’m usually a one-project-at-a-time kinda writer. It seems my brain and creative juices struggle when I switch focus. BUT. I think it’s a good skill to cultivate, juggling projects, so I bought myself a brand new notebook for a brand new middle-grade novel idea I’d like to noodle on while working on my work-for-hire nonfiction project. If you hear the sound of shrieking gears, that’ll be my brain right before I burst into bloom.

Tiny matters

Ladybug on Apache Plume in backyard.                        March 12, 2019.

The older I get, the more I’m conscious of ways very small things can make a change in the world. Tiny little things, but the world is made up of tiny matters, isn’t it?
~ Sandra Cisneros

Thankful Thursday

Today I’m thankful for the passion and energy of the young people in the Sunrise Movement. Last night, largely due to Sunrise’s heroic efforts, CNN held a 7-hour, in-depth conversation about the climate crisis and what needs to be done in order to avert the worst of it. Seven hours, people!

I tried to remember that today as I researched my work-for-hire bird project. Because, while I was thrilled to be eyeballs-deep in bird information, I was also disheartened over and over again to discover that many of those amazing, new-to-me birds’ existences are threatened due to human actions. Our species has made so many mistakes and we continue to make them with blatant disregard for the planet.

BUT. Last night was proof it’s possible to shift the conversation and for that, I am exceedingly grateful. All hail the Sunrise Movement!

One beautiful form to another

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature is ever at work building and pulling down,
creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing,
allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion,
chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.
~ John Muir