Yesterday was the winter solstice which means it was the shortest day of the year. As of today, we’re gaining daylight. I know I’m not alone in welcoming that boost to our collective morale. When I called out a “Happy Solstice” to a neighborhood friend today, he tilted his face to the sun and pumped his arms.
I went in search of an appropriate quotation for this post and decided upon the following which, in light of the president-elect’s role in inflicting austerity on the masses via the latest covid “relief” legislation, feels very spot-on:
We must not fear daylight just because it almost always illuminates a miserable world. ~ Rene Magritte
But at the same time, more daylight allows more bird sightings.
Western/Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay, December 13, 2020.
I refuse to allow the greedhead bastards to take away all my joy. Happy Solstice!
I took this photo last March, at the beginning of the quarantine.
Western/Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, March 20, 2020.
Little did I know what was in store for everyone. I’m quite sure I stood at the window that day, focusing on the scrub jays and bushtits visiting the feeders, knowing the best and healthiest path forward was to seek out beauty and moments of quiet joy.
I hope this scrub jay is still alive and well. I hope the forecast for snow this weekend comes true (because Colorado needs moisture). And I hope I never stop seeing the beauty around me.
I didn’t leave my house today, not even for my daily walk around the neighborhood. In fact, I didn’t get exercise of any kind, unless I include snuggling with my cats and dog.
I did, however, sit in front of my computer most of the day, revising the final chapter of my novel. I’m not thrilled with the results.
Young scrub jay. June 21, 2020.
I did also photograph a young scrub jay as it preened its wet feathers. In fact, I took about 50 photos of that scrub jay and this one is probably the best. (I can’t say for sure as I tired of looking at/deleting them and somewhat randomly selected this one).
Am I satisfied with this Sunday?
Does it matter at this point?
It is what it is and was what it was.
Woodhouse’s (aka Western) Scrub Jay. March 20, 2020.
The peanut challenge
extricate from wire and shell
we’ve got a winner
February 5, 2018.
You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness — perhaps
ignorance, credulity — helps your enjoyment of these things. ~ Walt Whitman
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.
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.
Fashion is not about clothes,
it is about a look.
~ Carine Roitfeld
The scrub jay called out
Marcel ran to the window
much to talk about.
The sun’s down and evening is here. How did that happen? What was I doing all day?! Oh yeah, I remember. I watched this scrub jay in the feeder for a while.
Even if I’d accomplished nothing else, I’d call that time well spent.
When I saw this photo I took yesterday, I interpreted it as a scrub jay looking ahead. But as I view it today, I’m reminded that birds don’t get caught up in regrets and what-ifs the way humans do. This wise jay is probably merely existing in the moment.
I’m trying to do the same.
Brisk weather bathing
splash fast splash often get out
no need for towel
Anything can make me stop and look and wonder, and sometimes learn.
~ Kurt Vonnegut
Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.
~ Victor Hugo
So, what’s on your mind today?
I’m very, very lazy. I love to sit in a chair and look out the window and do nothing.
~ Ingmar Bergman
There are days I’d like
the option of staying here
or flying away.
The feeder was full first thing this morning. We had Blue Jays, American Magpies, and a Northern Flicker or two trying to get at the peanuts. However, this scrub jay fussed at them and mostly kept everyone away.
Then, after all that effort, this jay would fly from the feeder to the nearby shrubs to hide the peanuts. I mean, no subterfuge whatsoever. A direct line from feeder to shrubs. I waited for the others to start raiding the peanut cache, but I never saw anyone try it.
Perhaps the other birds took note for later in the season when they’ll need food. If so, I envy them their memories. I had trouble locating my coffee cup this morning.
Sometimes no matter how hard I flap my wings, it feels as if I haven’t gotten anywhere.
It’s nineteen degrees,
if I had wings I’d fly south.
At least I’m inside.
Looky looky here
spiral-y peanut challenge.
Feeder empty now.