Spring forth

A chipmunk feeding on the seeds I leave about for them.

Life springs forth in Spring. It’s irresistible.

I have chosen my home office location well, and have the welcome distractions of birds, squirrels, and chipmunks outside my window. This time of year I am also finding delight in Springtime blossoms.

Daffodil or narcissus?
Pacific Bleeding Heart.
I love the deep purple of the vinca.
Tulips live a short life but give such pleasure during that time. I don’t think there is such a thing as too many tulips.

Friday (yesterday) I worked a typical 10-hour workday (I work a compressed schedule), and the weather was spectacular! It reached 69 degrees here, and for much of the day there was not a cloud in the sky. I work at home most days, including yesterday, and racked my brain all day long for reasons to leave my desk and go outside. I really wanted to develop some kind of mild sickness that prevented me from working, but I couldn’t dredge up a sufficient illness. Sadly, I was well enough to stick it out all day long at my desk with my computer screens.

But I did grab my camera and run around during breaks and capture some of the blossoms in sunlight.

Oregon grape bursting with yellow flowers.
Narcissus along the driveway.
A closer shot of the narcissus.

Research shows me that all of the blossoms I call both narcissus and daffodil are under the category of narcissus. I grew up calling the flowers with a large trumpet daffodil. Those bloomed and passed already. The daffodils on my property are all a deep, sunshine yellow. Now I have new blossoms of white petals with yellow or orange trumpets that are very short. I call these narcissus.

I mentioned recently to fellow blogger Derrick J Knight that the deer ate my camellias over the winter. I included a photo below. Luckily they only ate the leaves off, and left the plant to try and recover. I see small buds of regeneration already, and I have learned the important lesson that some plants need to be covered in the winter. At my place, this includes camellias, azaleas, hydrangeas, honeysuckle, and hellebore. I believe all of them are still alive, but rather decimated. I will be a better steward from now on.

Volunteer grape hyacinths add colour along the path.
Pitiful camellia after the deer ate it this winter.
Peony looks very healthy.

This morning, chilly and wet, the scenes from the same window were still captivating, as I caught hummingbirds and a chipmunk going about their days, much less concerned about the rain than this fair-weather human.

In my last post I commented concern that sugar water would not be enough to provide a balanced diet for hummingbirds. So I looked it up and discovered that sugar water is a supplement to a hummingbird’s diet that includes small insects and spiders. Multiple organizations that profess to have a hummingbird’s best interests in mind assure me that the sugar water is a good thing for them. Just no food coloring.

Sugar-loving hummingbird, returned from her winter playground.
The chipmunk seems unconcerned that I loom at the window with an enormous lens pointed at her.

I did glance out the back window and spot another heron. I have poor eyesight, so I spotted only a great grey blur out in the grass. It is rather exciting to train the camera out there, focus, and see this enormous, elegant bird, on his way to eat some of my fish or frogs from the pond. They move quickly, and I am slow with the manual focus, so… I apologize that the image is blurry.

You may recall that I can never get a great shot of the Great Blue Herons who fish in my pond. This photo proves nothing has changed.

One of the pieces of my character is that a sense of beauty always gets through the static and fog of whatever else is going on. If I am consumed by a particular veteran’s case at work, if I am worried about my Tara making their way through the world  away from home at college, if I can’t make a reassuring plan for how to pay all the bills, if I remember that I am lonely, or that I miss my mother, or that refugees are suffering, or women still do not have their rights protected… no matter how powerful the dark thoughts, beauty pierces the cloud and makes me smile. How grateful I am to be human and to be able to comprehend beauty.

20 thoughts on “Spring forth

  1. I love the photos! I’m always impressed by people who can name the plants and animals around them. I know you worked hard to get this beautiful place. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for the compliments! Some of the plants I can’t name, so I look them up. I do the same for the birds I want to name. I’m getting pretty good at choosing the right search terms to bring up the plant or bird I’m trying to identify. My mother is my inspiration, because she could always rattle off the names of every plant around her. She was particular about learning the Latin, or botanical names for plants, rather than the common name. Unless it was an old forgotten common name, then she would use that. I think she just liked being uncommon, even if it meant extra effort. It may have rubbed off on me a little…

  2. Your last line says it all. To be able to appreciate the beauty in the world around us is the greatest of gifts, I too believe. You got a great photo of the Blue Heron. Looks perfect to me. Along with all the others including the chipmunk. I’m glad you get to work from home more even if you are chained to the desk. At least the view is better. You do have an incredible view. Hugs.

    1. I am lucky to be able to work at home, and I’m one of those people who can buckle down and work even when I wish I could be doing something else. I know co-workers who don’t work at home because they don’t trust themselves to stay motivated when no one is watching them!

      Thank you for appreciating the heron photo. I will keep at it, and one day I’ll come up with a shot perfectly in focus. I suspect that it may take a day of sitting down at the pond for hours, and waiting till wildlife comes to me. Any time I spot something from the house and then begin heading down the hill, they take off. Except for the deer – they have figured out that the humans along here are harmless. I have learned of two neighbors of mine who feed them!

    1. Aww, thanks Curt. Beauty saves me. It’s my main lifeline to my own humanity and positivity. It’s one of my only effective drugs. I find beauty in a rusty hinge, and dried mud, an unopened leaf bud, the wrinkles of a friend, raindrops collecting on a spiderweb, the way words are put together in a book, moonlight on snow, the sound of instruments or voice…you know, basically everything. So, when beauty saves me, and when I can find beauty anywhere, then it only makes sense that I am grateful for that amazing gift.

      I wrote that line because it occurred to me that probably noone but humans assign value to beauty. Trees and fish probably don’t care.

    1. Thank you! Tell me where you are. I went over to your blog to try and find out, and you mentioned the house in Guinea, but as though it were past tense. While there, I was distracted by a post. I’m a sucker for street art.

      This spring I have finally seen a squirrel. When I lived in the city, the squirrels were fat and spoiled and I got them to take peanuts from my hand. I was sad to think there were no squirrels in the country, though I saw the chipmunks now and then. But I think after two summers of bird feeders stocked with cracked corn and seeds, the animals are learning to come here. The chipmunk comes almost every day, and finally, a Ninja Squirrel. I call her that because she’s dark as a shadow and she flows down tree-trunks face first fluidly, and almost without a sound. She whisks in, darts here and there ever so gracefully, and then if I’m lucky I’ll catch sight of the shadow as it blurs away.

      1. Nice. We do have squirrels. Even in the garden. The American variety. A few, very few are almost black. I live in Mexico city. 🙂 Enjoy your week-end.

  3. Beautiful thoughts and beautiful photos. The chipmunks are so cute. I planted some new camelias outside our wall last year and never thought about deer. I’ve only seen them once around here near the road though so I hope I’ll get lucky and they won’t find the camelia.

    1. Ha ha! I hope the deer don’t find your camellias too. I had a neighbor (who has lived here much longer) tell me that the reason my deer ate so much is because this was a particularly hard winter for us. So, here’s hoping next winter is milder and gives my plants a chance to make a foothold. 🙂

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