The morning we had to leave the Routt National Forest, we went down to the pond where the light was soft and golden. I got up from the boulder to wander with my camera and heard a chip chip chip coming from the willows. Tiptoeing, I moved closer and closer still, scanning. Who was making that sound?
After about ten minutes of quiet stalking, a sudden movement caught my eye. A bird alighted in a pine tree. I quickly aimed the camera into the shadows and took a series of photos, not sure what I was seeing or whether I was even capturing an image. And then the bird disappeared again.
When we returned to our campervan, I downloaded the photos. Not great images, but hopefully enough detail to identify the bird. With Stan Tekiekla’s BIRDS OF COLORADO FIELD GUIDE on my lap, I studied the best image. Some kind of warbler?
Wilson’s Warbler. July 14, 2022
I glanced down to consult the field guide which had fallen open on my lap. Right there in front of me was the Wilson’s Warbler page and the photograph looked exactly like my photo! Exactly the same, except my warbler’s tail is up and Mr. Tekiela’s image is much sharper.
I’m smiling as I remember that moment of recognition because it truly felt like magic. And I don’t know about you, but these days I’ll take all the magic I can get. As the sticky note on my bathroom mirror says, MAGIC WELCOME HERE.
Poppy’s world is a magical place, and it’s the most free part of the entire universe.
June 19, 2022
Confession: I didn’t know there was a singer-songwriter-YouTube-personality named Poppy, but when I went in search of a poppy-related quotation and happened upon their above quote, found myself in complete agreement.
A poppy is most definitely a magical place. How else to explain these other-wordly images of my neighbors’ front yard poppy-crop?
Gratitude to these trippy flowers for helping me find joy and wonder during these very difficult days. Magic is always welcome here.
We had a corvid-rich weekend. It began on Saturday with lots and lots of crows as we walked around a unfamiliar neighborhood (after Emma was too agitated at sight of other dogs in the park we’d gone to for a walk). Multiple flocks of crows flying overhead then perching in various trees. They brought many smiles.
Then yesterday morning, we were in our front yard when a flock of crows flew past. But that wasn’t all. Moments later, this raven perched in the tree across the street for several minutes, making its croaking sound.
Photo by Zippy. March 13, 2022
Today is the first day of a new week. My goal is to embody this raven’s energy, looking ahead to new opportunities and experiences. Courageous in the face of whatever life brings.
Just popping in to wish everyone a good week!
South Boulder Creek Trail. March 1, 2022.
It was sunny and warm here in this part of Colorado, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to get outside with a friend. We walked a somewhat muddy trail that passed through a small prairie dog town with some gregarious inhabitants.
*I truly thought today was Monday. Oops…
Here it is nearly 5:30 of the p.m., sun gone for the day as temperatures drop and daylight slips away. I’ll admit, this is my least favorite time of winter days because of the increased risk of gloomy feelings that often involve beating myself up. As in, “you squandered those precious hours and what do you have to show for yourself now that it’s cold, dark, and dreary?”
Not playing those reindeer games today.
Bouquet from BB. February 2, 2022
Right now I’m basking in the glow of my accomplishments: Coffee and Wordle. Exercise. Smoothing out trouble spots in my middle-grade novel, revising chapter 8, and falling in love with the manuscript all over again. A thoughtful phone conversation with Zebu. Laughter. Laundry. Email plus research for climate action meeting later this week. Finishing the excellent We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan. Healthy eating. Sharing snuggles with dog and cats (with special shout-out to Loki for lying down next to me while I did foam roller stretching).
It is true I respond best to blue skies and sunshine glinting off snow. But on this Monday evening, I’m content.
While walking around our neighborhood this morning, we — Zippy, Wildebeest, Emma, and I — spotted what seemed to be a tiny bird’s nest dangling from the branch of a tree. Zippy went closer to investigate and declared it a seed pod. And after searching the ground below the tree, he brought us a sample.
We’d never seen anything like this . . . outside a Mexican restaurant. Using my keen online research skills, I typed in “bean pod that looks like taco” and learned this seed pod comes from a Kentucky Coffeetree. Who knew? Here’s a better shot of the interior that looks an awful lot like lettuce and/or guacamole, and enormous black beans:
Kentucky Coffeetree pod
As if that wasn’t enough natural wonder for our outing, there were also plenty of ice formations to admire along the way . I took this photo at the end of our driveway.
We’re supposed to get a bunch of snow tomorrow and again on Wednesday so I’m grateful for the blue skies and balmy temperatures of the past several days. Also? I’m exceedingly grateful that today’s High Wind Warning did NOT result in 80-mph gusts.
November 8, 2021
It could be worse. Much worse. After all, instead of stopping when I felt pain after landing on a rock while running the trails on Friday , I ran another couple miles (and then spent the weekend in serious pain whenever I accidentally put weight on my left foot). Doh.
But today’s x-rays didn’t show a stress fracture so it’s possibly only soft tissue damage. I have two weeks in this fine dancing boot and then go back for a follow-up. (Shout-out to Zippy for somehow finagling a podiatry appointment for me this afternoon!)
Hope everyone had a spooky and chocolatey Halloween. Welcome to the second-to-the-last month of the year. Here’s a pretty foliage-quilt picture for your Monday.
View from hike around Lower Cataract Lake. September 27, 2021
And yes, I am having a little trouble adjusting to this new week and month.
As the Democrats (who currently reside in the White House and hold majorities in the House and Senate) negotiate against themselves to gut Biden’s Build Back Better plan, I encourage you to read this op-ed from Senator Bernie Sanders, published in a West Virginia newspaper on October 15, 2021. It lays out the specifics of the 10-year $3.5 trillion BBB plan. Specifics that are wildly popular and hugely supported by the people, specifics that many don’t know because the Democrats and corporate media have done a miserable job explaining what this reconciliation bill is all about. This plan contains policies that are desperately needed if we are to survive.
The Democrats, with all their power, have an opportunity to do so much good. And yet, here we are. Forced to watch from the sidelines as they eliminate all the good for the people and planet from the bill. This NEVER happens when it’s time to vote on a military budget. When it comes to the military industrial complex, there’s always enough money and zero debate. That’s when Democrats and Republicans join together for a resounding YES!
The powerful elites are making life-threatening decisions while the planet literally burns. Senator Manchin is a coal baron with a massive conflict of interest when it comes to climate policy, but he gets to dictate the removal of the most important piece of climate legislation which, if enacted, would eat into his profits.
This is why people (such as myself) frequently say “I hate it here.”
Ever since I ran on the trails Saturday, looking in vain for blooming thistles amongst all the brown and mostly-dead foliage, I keep thinking back to the thistles’ prickly displays in June. So, today I’m posting one from that beautiful day when the open space was ablaze with colors.
June 24, 2021
Yesterday evening, I met outdoors with Sunrise Movement friends whom I hadn’t seen since an action last summer outside (now Senator) Hickenlooper’s house. It was both lovely and bittersweet because another friend who was supposed to also be there had to remain in Minnesota to wait for her friend to get out of jail after being arrested (along with ~69 others) for protesting the Line 3 pipeline. We had all sorts of emotions around that because the friend who was supposed to join us AND her arrested friend had been jailed in Denver with us in January 2020 (shout-out to M for continuing to be so fierce!)
Rather than go the conventional route and post people pics from our gathering, I’ll share not-great photos of the Great Horned Owl that serenaded us as we sat in the middle of an elementary school field. (I know how that sounds, but it was actually a pretty good setting, right up until the sprinklers came on and sprayed me and my stuff.)
Not sure whether the white patch in the photo above is a mouse dangling from the owl’s beak or just part of the groovy blurring effects.
And so I don’t leave on a carnivorous note, here’s one more random image for Monday Mishmash of the dandelion puffball Zippy brought inside for me today.
Wishing everyone a good week . . .
This fellow visited the campground at Rifle Falls State Park last week.
Photos by Zippy. August 6, 2021
Then a few minutes later, this female paid us a visit.
Have to say, these gentle creatures with their enormous ears, soft tawny fur, and big brown eyes were much more welcome than the mosquitoes.
I just had a session with my therapist and feel really good!
July 4, 2021
Wishing those same feelings for everyone out there. Happy Monday!
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!:
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.
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.
Not sure why it is, but if I miss posting for a couple days it becomes increasingly difficult to get back in the habit. So here I am at ten o’clock on a Monday night, feeling the need to post something. Anything.
Common Grackle. Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020.
Ah, yes. Now I remember. When in doubt, go with grackle!
It’s Monday, with a whole new week ahead of us, and for some reason I’m feeling a sense of anticipation. There’s gonna be some kind of shift, a welcome change or gift. It feels delusional to write those words in the year 2020. But there you have it. I believe something’s coming and that whatever it is ,will be positive.
Eurasian Collared-Dove, September 6, 2019
And even if I’m wrong, at least in this moment I’m leaning into good feelings. These days, that’s a huge win.
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.
Emma. September 14, 2020
Here’s my happy doggo to perk up anyone in need of perking (not to be confused with twerking, although, if twerking makes you feel better, by all means do that!) The photographic quality is low and Emma’s smile is slightly blurred, but the emotions shine through.
As Charles M. Schulz famously wrote, happiness is a warm puppy.
It’s 6:00 pm. How did that happen?! But the more pressing question is: why did the photographer who posted this photo on Pixabay tag it with “joy”?
Depending on your perspective, various words could describe this little boy’s expression and body language. Possible interpretations? I think he could be dazed, sad, tentative, or demoralized. Heck, maybe his arm’s tired from holding that plane and he’s just worn out. Nowhere do I see evidence of joy.
Anyway, I popped into WordPress-land to post something before this day completely passed me by and instead of a quick in-and-out, I spent twenty minutes analyzing this photo.
Hmm. Maybe there’s a lesson here for where the day went . . .
As is typical for me these days, I had to give myself a pep talk to get out of bed this morning. After making it to an upright position, the day turned into one thing after another. Small things that demanded my attention and action, but nothing of substance. I have zero sense of accomplishment or completion.
This entire hot, smoky Monday I’ve felt scattered, unfocused, and non-productive. Weepy, screamy, and anxious. Overheated, overwhelmed, and over it all.
I wish it would rain.
It’s Monday and it feels like a Monday. All I’ve got to offer are these two slightly out of focus Day Lilies I photographed a month ago.
July 3, 2020
Here’s hoping your Monday is following a different script.
Emma. February 2020.
The dog is a reflection of your energy, of your behavior. ~ Cesar Millan
It’s true. Emma’s expression accurately reflects my energy level this windy Monday.
So, sue me.
It’s currently 22 degrees outside.
November 11, 2019
If I were a nicer person, I’d offer this fox a couple pairs of warm, woolen socks.
As it is, I’m staying inside where I can absorb the heat from my laptop as I work on my new writing project that makes me happy, happy, happy.
It’s a whole new week, people. Let’s do this!
Happy to report I survived this morning’s visit to the dentist without throwing any punches. Woot! However, the whole thing got off to a rocky start when my sandal strap broke as I walked across the parking lot. I somehow kept the shoe on my foot as the strap slapped against the ground. But then the front desk woman asked for my insurance card and I emptied out my purse searching for my wallet that wasn’t there. The good news is Zippy located it at home.
So here’s the score:
Teeth cleaned without me breaking into tears (yes, this has happened before).
Sandal broken but fixable, I believe.
Wallet back in purse and the bill’s in the mail.
Mondays gonna Monday. All I can do is keep my head down and push ahead. Wishing the same for you.