I had hoped spring would chase winter’s gloom into memory, but it hasn’t yet. Instead there are all these photos of hunger and snow, dating back to October.
Along with hunger and snow, this winter brought weeks of numbing cold.
I was glad I had left the bird houses hanging because I saw chickadees retreating into them at nightfall.
It’s not that winter was completely cheerless. The yard had a few winter blooms, and there were certainly days of sunshine.
But I’m ready for spring. Real spring, with hours on end of warmth and nest building and bird song.
I can’t be the only one who is fretful and impatient. Maybe that’s why it seems as if spring is embarrassed to be arriving so late. Instead of rushing in with thunder and rain-scented gusts, spring is edging into the yard like a guilty ticket holder who overslept and missed the opening scene. Bees are sluggish, the irises and pear tree bloomed while I wasn’t looking, and the house stays chilly despite bright sunshine and open windows.
I suppose I’ll be complaining about the heat, before too long, and wishing for a cool draft in the house. Because summer always follows, and fall after it. And then there will come a day, sometime in early September, when I will wish for winter. But for now all of my wishes are focused on spring.
This week our television flashed image after image of chaos, pain, and loss. I don’t have a personal connection to any of the Boston Marathon bomb victims, nor any of the Texas fertilizer plant explosion victims, and yet my shock and grief feel personal. More and more personal as time passes, as scenes of blood and smoke and flames give way to achingly poignant details about the dead and wounded.
Desperate to escape my growing sense of helplessness, I turn off the television and retreat into the yard, where I find a foraging cardinal, a pollen-dusted bee, and a pair of brave grackles. A hungry tufted titmouse, a half-grown rabbit, and a sleepy squirrel. They remind me that my journey is simultaneously important and insignificant, that I am both connected to and separate from the world. And their company feels like a glimpse of solace, a brief visitation of peace during a week defined by turmoil.
Today’s sun made the air seem warmer than it actually was.
We took a long-ish walk through Red Wing Park, where we heard more birds and animals than we saw.
A cluster of early blooms reminded us that spring isn’t all that far away.
I found several sunlit doorways.
On the way home, we circled a field three times after spotting a pair of hawks. I didn’t get a very good look at them, nor a very good picture. I thought, at first, that they were Cooper’s Hawks, but maybe they were Red-tailed Hawks? Is there a way to tell for certain, using only the information in this picture?
I’ve really missed the sun, and I hope it decides to stay for a while.
There’s so much going on that it’s hard to know where to look. If I focus my camera on the vultures wheeling overhead, I miss the carpenter bees zooming underfoot. There are crane flies mating and irises blooming and new visitations of wonder in every corner of the yard.
I’ve been hearing a tufted titmouse call for weeks. These birds have a loud, clear call that carries. (You can hear a sample here.) I find it hard to guess how far away the bird is, when I hear one calling, but it always seems to be across the road or in a neighbor’s yard or a few streets over.
Today one visited our yard, hopping through the pear tree as it sang. I desperately wanted a picture of this little bird and managed to catch several frames of it. None of them are quite right. The top photos are my best shots of the day, but I never did get “the” picture.
The following are a few of my failures. They are like many of my writing failures, suffering from poor focus, flat light, or awkward angles. But, unlike my writing, I can’t save these photos. They are missed opportunities with no chance of salvage. I can’t edit them into success.
I hope to remember these photos the next time I sigh over a stubborn phrase, resenting the work of revision.