Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Morning Mourning Dove

At the risk of distracting my few but precious readers from the day's previous post, I offer for your serenity needs - this picture.

Phoenix Bontanical Garden

AnvilCloud was asking if we'd been to the Phoenix Botanical Garden, yet. We just got back. These pictures are for you AC. The artist Patrick Dougherty created the whimsical willow balls. We thought they were so wonderful and then we stepped inside! Just across the walkway, my friend Jonna, spotted the cactus wren nest which is a small version of the willow balls.See the little hole where he enters? We looked at the willow sculptures and then at the wren nest. We were enchanted.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Strange Day

The desert environs seemed to channel other dimensions today. I don't believe in magic. I'm not superstitious. Spiritual? I'm too lazy tonight to attempt the definition and so can't claim that either. But as I walked the trail that led up into a mini-wilderness area behind a Phoenix resort - I looked at the star burst imprint on the wall of granite above the dramatic bush and immediately thought of Moses' burning bush and visualized the explosive granitic pattern above it as the door through which God entered the world to converse with man. Whoa. It must be the effect of sun and shedding my long underwear. The grackle and windchime feather that hangs from the patio beam, were also sifting mystery. Whoa. It's a good thing we'll only be here a week. We're headed for Sedona Wednesday and I hear they're all a bunch of weirdos up there. Crystals and witches and other New Agey stuff. Hmmm. This desert air does something.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Point And Shoot

Let's face it. Here in the desert - you can't miss. Point and shoot. A Cardinal is a flame. A Cactus Wren wrests a smile from a winter countenance. An arid climate frames the lives that inhabit a landscape of strong shadows and spiny plants. We're not in Kansas anymore. (If you can only click on one - make it the Cardinal)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

While The Glaciers Retreat

The little Mourning Dove above was taking advantage of the sunshine in Ohio yesterday. The light was so strong that though the temperatures were below 32' - the icicle above the dove's head sent drips past his perch onto the receding glacier.
Today I photographed a Gambles Quail with nothing like an icicle looming overhead. What a difference 4 hours can make this time of year.
I think I'm getting a fresh cold - the first this year. It's OK - I feel so relaxed and bleary it's kinda nice. And what the heck - Everyone - has colds. Far be it from me to be a non-conformist. (I hear my friends sniggering)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Why Do We Weep For Trees?

A bit ago I posted about the neighbors taking a limb off our oak tree Please understand that their reasons may have been sound: thin grass, obstructed view. Still I mourned and imagined that so too did the squirrel who napped there in the daytime. A gentle soul in Wales recently witnessed the destruction of a very old friend. Why do we mourn these entities, these mere plants? This Robert Frost poem doesn't answer the question, but it uses the interesting attachment we make to trees to good effect. Don't you think?

Tree at My Window
by Robert Lee Frost

Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.
Vague dream-head lifted out of the ground,
And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
Not all your light tongues talking aloud
Could be profound.
But tree, I have seen you taken and tossed,
And if you have seen me when I slept,
You have seen me when I was taken and swept
And all but lost.
That day she put our heads together,
Fate had her imagination about her,
Your head so much concerned with outer,
Mine with inner, weather.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Whilst Cleaning My Pantry

This stronger light has me opening drawers and cupboards that were completely uninteresting to me a few weeks ago. I even cleaned the pantry! Wow! Streaking around the house as I run from project to project I glance out the windows and go 'Awwwww'. So I've snapped a few pictures. Happy Returning Light, friends. One of the pictures is a Robin who's a little early and has resorted to hanging around downspouts where the ground is clear of snow. The Sparrows took their first bath during a milder day. And - what can you say about squirrel ears, but awwwwwww :0)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Magic Macro

Thanks to Bev at Burning Silo I persisted in trying to get a macro shot of snowflakes (check out this excellent webite) You may have to move your head a little to be sure you're getting the subtle light. The last time I failed to get a photo I could 'naked eye' some beautiful flakes because they maintained their form in the really frigid air. This morning it wasn't as cold and the holly leaves were graced by a cap of mealy looking snow. Determined to get a macro shot I wheedled a few shots out of my camera as I bumped snow on the lens and felt snow sifting over the tops of my boots. I was pretty sure I'd only succeeded in fogging up the camera and soaking my long underwear. When I got inside and viewed them, my suspicion seemed verified. Then I zoomed in and what do you know . . . .? Look at that. A snowflake. Just the whisper of one - but, a snowflake nonetheless. That flake is located almost dead-center in the bottom photo. Now I'm hoping it snows a little more. Who could have foreseen THAT?! (P.S. I don't know what I did to get this pix off center on my blog)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jody

When your son turns 40, well . . . spring-cleaning can wait. I caught this picture of the the Sun as it glowed above the horizon well after 6 o'clock this evening. There's still light in the sky and we're going on 7 o'clock. I've always told our son that his birthday occurs just as the birds are beginning their Spring songs and my heart finally believes that the light is returning - that Hope and renewal pulse just beyond that horizon.
Happy, Happy Birthday, Jody.

Friday, February 16, 2007

More Snow

In this case, a Snowy Egret. Notice his golden slippers. As I look up and beyond this computer screen I see snow - lots and lots of snow, but I hear the Titmouse and Cardinal practicing their Spring songs via my outside microphone. (click & scroll down to 'Sound') The same light that is drawing forth their melodies is compelling me to do a little Spring cleaning. If I have any will power left (doubtful) I may refrain from posting for a couple days in order to focus on several heaps of mayhem. Wish me well. Carry on, my blogging friends.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Blizzard Ghost

It's the fountain. I covered it with a very unattractive plastic tarp this fall - thus the snowy wraith. It was kind of you all to indulge my whimsy.

Whooooooooooo . . . Whoooooooooo . . . Give up?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Sun Came Out

After all the cold, the blowing snow - the Sun came out. It's a stronger light than a few weeks ago. Today it made me take off my winter coat as I shoveled the driveway and front walk. These icicles gave up their crystal form to run free. Winter is weary and is headed north again. Looking over his shoulder, he blew a hoary-breathed 'good-bye.' This snow won't last. I hear the daffodils stirring beneath it.


Blizzard '07

This is the most snow we've had since 2001. The out-of-focus device hanging in the foreground is a little solar-powered device whose little motors turns a crystal that flashes rainbows around the room. The Junco and I are patiently waiting for the Sun - for rainbows.

Monday, February 12, 2007

For Nancy

My e-friend Nancy just lost two of her fur-kids, Miss Molly and Big Guy, after long struggles with illness. This picture of gentle departure seems so right. Today my heart goes out to all who love the four-legged little souls who come into our lives, our care - our hearts. Chances are that when we choose to give our hearts like so many of us do - that we will suffer the pain of loss. In these relationships we discover - we become, the best that we may be. This is what we do - love, suffer and love again. Nancy creates a delightful potpourri she sends to subscribers called "Friday's Journal" at her website The Past Whispers.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

How I feel - What I Need

Sorry. I'm just so done with winter. And I know you're with me. Don't give me that crystalline splendor, crisp clear air stuff. No. You're with me aren't you? No more pretending. We've paid our solstice dues and it's time for the equinox payoff. Actually, Swamp4me at Swamp Things encouraged me to post this picture of scat. Thanks Swamp-e. As a naturalist she's able to help me id it. (Photo of scat from Corckscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Fla. The breath of Spring:Outback webcam in central Ohio -sigh)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

No Style

Bev, who cuts my hair and is one of the brightest women I know - was explaining the several 'NO-NO's" of home decorating. She'd been watching some Martha -Stewart- type TV program and here's what I learned. NO silk flowers. Oops. NO 'floating rugs'. Oops. NO theme rooms. Oops. The list went on as did the assault on my sense of style. I'm a loser - a hopeless loser. I tried to explain that in this dark, frigid climate my silk forsythia keep alive my dream of Spring. And that danged rug has got to float. It's so thick that a chair leg positioned on it to create an 'anchor' would create vertigo for the inhabitants of the skewed chair. And shucks - I love my Cape Cod bedroom with the dust-catching wooden sailboats, the hooked rug runner with the tidy line of Cape Cod cottages entwined in pink roses. Yep. I've got the nautical bookends that are only propping up air. (That would be an airy sea breeze if I could manage to really complete the theme :0)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Star Dust

After yesterday's post I figured I'd better try something with a bit more grace to salvage my reputation as an 'ahem' - serious blogger. So instead of dandruff - I give you star stuff as seen from the warm confines behind my windowpanes. It's too cold to stand outside, but the sun created beacons sending fire across the moonscape winter lawn and through the glass. With a few tweaks in ACDSee the glints were transformed into interstellar space. Cool.


How could one help but to project that this Tri-color Heron felt 'glum' on this rainy, soggy day? Now that I'm sitting back in Ohio in my desert-humidity winter home, I'm thinking that bird was feeling 'smug'.
As I hurriedly undressed last night, I took off the daytime black wool long underwear to don my white silk long underwear. Shivering, I reached up to hang the daytime garment on the peg and paused - and squinted and ducked my head to peer over the top of my glasses at some strange phenomenon involving the day's apparel. Hmmm. How can I spare you too detailed a visual? Hmmm. Let's just say the garment now looked inhabited. Seems the outer layer of my being has decided to migrate. I'll leave you with that. So now it's time to find the emollients and spend chilly shuddering moments slacking the thirst of my epidermis when I'd just rather crawl under the covers and imagine the banquet I'm laying before the resident dust mites. Well- someone may as well be enjoying this.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Somewhere The Sun Is Shining

It will be -4' tonight. Nothing is moving - it's very still beyond the windows. The moon has laid tree shadows across the yard . The water in my heated birdbath is the only thing above 32' and it looks so strange - that little puddle of liquid in that vast frigid landscape. As I sorted through the photos from Florida they seemed a dreamscape. I remember watching the Woodstork and Little Blue Heron as they stalked the shore and thinking how these birds were involved in survival. Tonight I try not to think too much about the local creatures and a night lived in sub-zero temperatures.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

"Is January Not The Hardest Month To Get Through?"

Thoreau's Journal: 2-Feb-1854
This from Greg's The Blog of Henry David Thoreau

The scream of the jay is a true winter sound. It is wholly without sentiment, and in harmony with winter. I stole up within five or six feet of a pitch pine behind which a downy woodpecker was pecking. From time to time he hopped round to the side and observed me without fear. They are confident birds, not easily scared, but incline to keep the other side of the bough to you, perhaps.

Already we begin to anticipate spring, and this is an important difference between this time and a month ago. We begin to say that the day is springlike.

Is not January the hardest month to get through? When you have weathered that, you get into the gulfstream of winter, nearer the shores of Spring.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Where Is That Camera Manual?

I can't read manuals. ( I won't read manuals) But this morning's light dusting of crystal had me standing in a snow drift trying to get a macro pix of a snowflake before they (what's the word?) deliquesced? (that's not right) sublimated ?(nah). I just know from experience that they quickly morph from their stellar state to far less interesting forms. I couldn't get the macro feature to work - couldn't fiddle with depth of field because I'm too blinking lazy/hyper? - fill in the blank - to have taken the time to read the operating manual. But - I pushed and tweaked and cursed and got this out-of-focus snowflake for my reward. I put another pix in ACDSee and created an intergalactic star field. Well - sort of . I've got to find where I pitched that manual.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Back to the Birds

It's cold and snowy in Ohio. I could post pictures of my sparrows scratching through the snow for the millet that the starlings have knocked off my bird feeder tray. Boring. So we'll take a short trip back in time. Let's look at feisty Roseate Spoonbills. How about the two Little Blue Heron? It took me a couple years to figure out that I was looking at the mature and immature forms.