Ready for Summer

Petunia April 27

Despite winter’s lingering chill, the yard is ready for summer.

Iris April 30

Iris April 30

Tulip April 29

I’m looking forward to the warm months ahead, to days filled with honeysuckle blooms, nesting doves, and cardinal fledglings…

Honeysuckle April 30

Dove April 29

Cardinals April 30

Finding Spring

Hyacinths March 16

Today was so warm that I pulled the lawn mower out of the shed, checked my gloves for spiders, and spent several hours working outside. As I scraped away layers of leaves, twigs, and mud, I found traces of spring in every corner of the yard.

Dandelion March 16

Irises March 16

Hydrangea March 16

Wax Myrtle March 16

Pear Tree March 16

After finishing in the yard, I opened the windows, took off my shoes, and invited spring into the house.

Windows March 16

New Rabbit Nest

This morning, one of the rabbits built a new nest in the irises. It looked like a lot of work. She pulled grass in huge mouthfuls, carried it into the iris bed, arranged it carefully, then returned for more grass. She also spent a great deal of time digging, uprooting several irises in the process. (The irises will survive. They always do.)

I can hardly contain my curiosity, though I know better than to disturb the nest today. Maybe sometime mid-week, I’ll take a closer look.

I’m looking forward to a new litter of bunnies, and I’ll be very disappointed if the nest fails. Or if the hawk returns…

The Irises

I can’t explain my fascination with irises. My paternal grandmother kept them, but I have few reliable memories of her. They are Tennessee’s state flower, but I never planted them in Tennessee’s soil. Maybe my Virginia house and yard simply called for irises, as some metaphors call for poetry. Maybe my first iris bulbs, prized gifts in a brown paper bag, arrived when they decided I was ready.

Years ago, I preened over blooms, then gaped in awe as sturdy green fans survived hurricanes and snowstorms. I fumed through fall’s brutal business of separating stubborn roots and bulbs, then forgave my unruly brood when spring’s spectacular crop nodded thanks for my labor.

Soon they’ll need separating again. The work is tedious and itchy, fraught with allergy perils. I scratch and sneeze while my irises fight back with the only weapons they possess, an encamped army of spiders and mosquitoes, crickets and ants.  Maybe there will be another praying mantis, like the one that leapt into the cuff of my glove last time.

I’m still fascinated, if a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of what grew out of that brown paper bag.

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I wrote parts of this piece several years ago. It was a starting place for what later became one of my favorite poems.

Irises and More

Today’s survey of the yard found an abundance of irises, a few sleepy roses, and a single amaryllis.

There’s also a new species of dragonfly–one made of spoons. (Thank you, Sharon!)

And, ruling over it all, a grumpy robin. I’ve been attacked by nesting blue jays more than once, but today’s robin attack was a first. The irony is that I never would have found her nest, had the robin ignored me. Instead, she chirped and complained and tried to pull my hair as I knelt in the irises, which made me very curious…

Publication note:  Poetry Breakfast posted my poem “Rinse and Repeat” today. Many thanks to editor Isabel Sylvan!