This photo was taken exactly a year ago and I’m sharing it now because the forecast says to expect snow for the next five days.
April 13, 2020
So even though the shrubs are starting to bud out and sprout tiny green leaves, we’re going to pretend spring isn’t happening. Ah, well. I’m never going to badmouth much-needed precipitation. As the saying goes: April [snow] showers bring May flowers.
House finch. February 12, 2021
House Finch etiquette
grab seed and sit at table
dining al fresco
January 10, 2021
junco not into sharing
feathered dine and dash
I’d written just under 40,000 words of my latest middle-grade novel when it hit me: it’s not working. As in, not working as written. The story’s premise is solid (I believe), but the way I was telling the story was not working.
Yesterday I went all the way back to chapter two and tried again. The good news is that approach feels stronger. More sustainable. The bad news? Adopting that approach will mean scrapping a whole lot of those 40k words. Yikes. How could I get it so wrong?
Welp, as author Thomas Mann noted: A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
I’m feeling a bit discouraged. But like this House Finch outside my window today, I need to accept that I bobbled the initial landing.
And just keep on writing so that
I regain my footing in the story. It’s all I can do.
I’m very grateful for today’s clean air! The snow ( temporarily, at least) cleared the smoke and ash from the wildfires. There’s also sunshine. Hooray! And it was a balmy 40 degrees as Zippy, Emma, and I walked around the neighborhood, skirting patches of ice. It’s the first walk in weeks and weeks (months?) in which I didn’t have to wear a mask to protect my lungs from smoke. I felt so free.
House finch. October 24, 2019.
My son, Zebu, doesn’t get it, but I absolutely love the day following a big snowstorm. Clean, crisp air plus blue skies equals happiness.
This photo was taken the day after one of our snowstorms last October, but it’s a perfect representation of this day. And maybe this same House Finch is out in the plum bushes as I write these words.
Marcel assesses the activity. September 28, 2020
Cat and squirrel face off through the glass as a House Finch dines in the background. Meanwhile, a fish (window sticker) swims across the scene. Would’ve been even more awesome if a reptile wandered into the picture.
Guess it could happen…the day’s still young.
House Finch. September 3, 2019
Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
~ Leonard Cohen
Spotted Towhee & House Finch. July 26, 2020.
Water for the bees
Towhee and Finch say “Yes, please”
clean feathers are key
This photo seems fitting today as I continue revising my middle-grade novel based on a critique partner’s (CP) comments.
House Finches + Goldfinch. May 23, 2020.
Her insights are helping me ground each character in key scenes. This CP excels at noting the many moving pieces in my story, reminding me to take into account each character’s perspective. Revision is a dream when I’m equipped with such a good map. Much gratitude to Marcia.
(Another CP is reading the same version Marcia received and I’m beaming thoughts to the universe that his feedback aligns with hers because otherwise, yikes. What will I do with a whole new map? Breathe, Tracy. Breathe.)
This funny little tale unfolded as I sat on the patio with my camera. I was too tired to continue gardening and hoped that focusing on something beside the thoughts in my head would improve my physical and emotional state.
It did. Not a lot, but some.
“Look up at the miracle of the falling snow, – the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes, noiselessly transforming the world . . .”
~ John Burroughs from The Snow-Walkers
View from my kitchen window. April 16, 2020.
I can vouch for my Stay-At-Home household in Colorado: we are NOT amused by this snowstorm and the accompanying cold temperatures.
We need sunshine. We need warmth. We need dry streets and trails.
I took these photos on Valentine’s Day, but can neither confirm nor deny these two finches are partnered. All I know for sure is they are energetic birds that make me smile.
Other bird species come and go, but there isn’t a day that goes by without a House Finch or two (or twenty) paying a visit to my backyard. May that always be the case.
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.
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
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.
Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.
~ Robert Browning
House Finch and sunflower, October 16, 2019.
It’s 21 degrees right now and I’m happy to be inside where it’s warm and dry. Meanwhile, these House Finches are busy outside my window with the task of staying alive, somehow almost making it look like fun.
Party on, Garth.
In this part of the world, we’re in the final hours of 2018 which has been a shit-year in so many ways for the planet and its inhabitants. I don’t have any profound insights to offer. I would, however, like to share this photo I just took from my dining room window.
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. ~ Rabindranath Tagore
It’s not a great picture, but it makes me happy. There’s much going on here (falling snow, flight, eating, turf battles, perching, etc) and I wanted to include this image because birds never, ever fail to brighten my day. I’m hoping they’ll do the same for you. Either way, it feels right to include feathered friends as I say goodbye to a difficult year.
The one other consistently bright spot for me this year has been the Sunrise Movement. No one is fighting harder and more effectively in the face of climate change than these young people with their action plan, aka the Green New Deal, that includes massive job creation. PLEASE consider pledging a monthly donation (mine is $5 per month) to this incredible organization that’s given me more hope than I thought possible.
I wish you and yours a Happy New Year! Here’s to continuing the good fight in 2019!
For your viewing pleasure, a bit of synchronized perching:
When you find peace within yourself,
you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.
~ Peace Pilgrim
And, I would add, with those no longer here.
It’s been dry and windy, and this morning I noticed finches hopping around in the nearly-empty bird bath. As I filled the watering can I use to replenish the bath, I noticed other finches perched on the dogs’ water bowl that sits on the deck.
The birds were thirsty.
Soon after I went back inside, birds arrived. These finches (House and Gold), juncos, chickadees, doves, flickers, and magpies all came to drink at the community pool. In fact, so many birds came to visit throughout the day that I just cleaned and refilled the bath again.
Lucky me. And I mean that.
When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.
~ E. O. Wilson
Yesterday, the forecast said it would start snowing this evening. Instead, I woke to smothered flowers and shrubs in my front and back yards. I spent more than an hour outside with a broom, clearing snow from collapsed lilac bushes and apache plume shrubs. I’m probably going to lose my iris display this year. Again. And forget about the poppies.
The finches are handling it pretty well. We’d already called it a season and brought in the long extension cord that heats the bird bath, so that’s a bummer. I filled the dish with hot water this morning and the water has already turned slushy.
The snow’s supposed to continue through Friday and then on Saturday? This: