Spring makes me wish for a more powerful macro lens.
I want to capture all of the delicate splendor of the yard as it wakes from winter.
I use words like “corolla” and “calyx” in poems,
and name characters after weeds and wildflowers.
Henbit and Purple Deadnettle.
Speedwell and Dandelion.
Spring is the only time of year when I truly love ants.
As I follow ants with my camera, I find other treasures.
When carpenter bees emerge, my imagination becomes airborne.
I stalk our carpenter bees with both macro and long-focus lenses.
Long-focus lenses let me stalk the yard’s other visitors, too.
But I always return to the macro lens, yearning to be closer.
Publication note: On March 2nd, my poem “On Losing the Old Dog” posted at Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, which is one of my favorite poetry sites. Many thanks to editor Christine Klocek-Lim!
The yard is warm and sunny today, sprinkled with blossoming weeds. A few weeks ago it was frozen and snowy.
This year January and February saw days warm enough for house repairs (replacing wood damaged by carpenter bees), followed closely by days too cold for anything but reading and sleeping.
Some days were strangely confused, cold with bright sunshine or warm with dreary skies.
Our annual writers’ weekend at the beach brought a little bit of everything.
March will likely bring a little bit more of everything, but hopefully it won’t get fountain-freezing cold again.
Our dog Indigo suffered from thunder phobia. During her aging years (before she lost her hearing) our entire household suffered from thunder phobia. I dreaded all of the fireworks holidays during those years.
After Indigo lost her hearing, I was able to enjoy thunderstorms again (I’ve always been fascinated by storms), but I never regained an appreciation for fireworks. I find all the sparkle and flash I could ever want in the yard, without the sizzle and boom.
Admittedly, some of the yard’s fireworks are more flash than sparkle…
Fighting? We weren’t fighting…
I know that I’m not alone in my preference for quiet fireworks. What’s more, my discomfort is trivial when compared to the flashbacks that haunt many service members. (Here’s an article: “Fourth of July fireworks bring pain, stress for some service members.”)
Which brings me to a request. There are many, many holidays in the course of each year that are traditionally celebrated with fireworks. So there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy fireworks, if you enjoy them. But please refrain from lighting your fireworks randomly, between holidays.
I recently registered for the 2015 Hampton Roads Writers’ Conference. (September 17-19 in Virginia Beach) This conference is one of my favorite events each year, and I’m already counting the days.
In other writing news, my poem “The Tracking” was published on May 12 at vox poetica. A version of this poem won first place in the Barbara Dunn Hartin Memorial Poetry Prize contest at the 2014 Hampton Roads Writers Conference, and I’m delighted that editor Annmarie Lockhart accepted it for publication.
And in news only vaguely related to writing, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my camera. Despite summer’s growing heat and humidity, the yard is hard to resist this time of year. Everything is blooming, the baby rabbits are thriving, and birds are everywhere.
In mid-May a dove decided to nest in the front petunia basket. Now her two nestlings are ready to fledge.
The yard’s most curious visitor, lately, is a very bold squirrel that follows me around as I take photos. If I sit still for a while, he sidles closer and closer until he is within a few feet, pretending he is burying something nearby. His jaw quivers nervously as he mumbles and grinds his teeth, but he comes back time and time again. It makes me wonder if he was raised by a rehabilitator, if he somehow equates humans with food and safety, yet also with peril.
I’m trying not to encourage the squirrel’s behavior, but I can’t resist photographing him. He’s very handsome.
If he hangs around much longer, I might write him into a poem.
Today’s winter storm should bring nothing more than miserably cold rain and a few flurries to our area, but I decided to stay inside anyway. I dug out my digital to-do list, pulled on my favorite socks, and settled in for an afternoon of computer work. Mid-way through organizing my 2014 photo archive, I opened a forgotten folder and found a forgotten cache of summer.
These images don’t make my house warmer, and they won’t melt snow or ice, but they reminded me that summer is only a few months away.
It won’t be too long before spring rustles in — waking the yard’s flowers, urging birds to nest, and breathing life into new generations of insects.
Soon, sooner than February ever lets me imagine, it will be time to put away my favorite socks, turn off the heat, and open all the windows.