19 February 2018
Taken in Camera+ and Polamatic. Edited in Snapseed and Pixlr.
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These few words suffice for how I feel today, a day that felt more like SPRING than late winter. Today emotions and reactions exploded, inspired by serendipity and timing.
While spying on the bird station, a surprise came into view: six bluebirds. Those spirited creatures created an intense reaction–a reaction that speaks directly to nature’s gifts.
These birds have such appeal that I have spent the day bubbly with thoughts of their presence. While that may seem an overly strong reaction, it’s an example of how a moment can rearrange behavior and mood. How one moment can intercede to blend grace with joy.
But more importantly, those showy birds showered my universe, erasing the outside world. They showered my universe, allowing me to grasp the essence of the here and now.
Yes, bluebirds do bestow happiness, lighting the way with their sprays of blues and oranges and whites. They also speak to ritual, because for the last few years their appearance is a steppingstone to Spring’s arrival. And that is part of the source of my exhilaration. They act as a symbol for awakening, rejuvenation and renewal.
“Let Your Winter Garden Go Wild” (by Margaret Renkl, 10 February 2018, The New York Times) appeared last week just as I was beginning to trim some of my perennial grasses. I’ve always left them as aesthetic additions to the winter landscape, but they also serve as hideouts for wintering creatures). Various native grasses fan across my gardens, drifting yet stationary as wind and rain and snowstorm bring them (temporarily) to life again. They conceal and reveal.
Renkle’s thoughts easily fit into my own philosophy of gardening. Every home cultivated by me has the sense of slightly tamed wildness. But winter is a time to provide even more habitats for the animals, and the untamed becomes part of the visual panorama.
With spring a month in the distance I am beginning the rounds to make small gestures to the landscape. The big pruning, trimming, rearranging and some removal will be weeks away.
Renkl’s article is a treat, and I encourage you to read it. Whether you are a gardener or a voyeur of all things in nature, it’s worth the time to sit back and enjoy her words. Here is a sample:
“An unkempt garden offers more than just food for the birds. The late offspring of certain butterflies, like the black swallowtail, spend fall and winter sealed away in a chrysalis clinging to the dried stems in what’s left of a summer garden. Others overwinter as eggs or caterpillars buried deep in the leaf litter beneath their host plants.
Most species of native bees — or their fertilized queens, at least — hibernate underground during winter. An industrious gardener pulling up dead annuals could expose them to the cold, and one who mulches too deeply could block their escape in spring. Other beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings and parasitic wasps spend winter in the hollow stems of old flowers.”