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.
Yellow-rumped Warblers began arriving a few weeks ago. Now they are a constant presence in the wax myrtle as they gorge on the small, unappealing berries that other warblers cannot digest.
Every year I fall in love with the warblers, all over again, and spend hours trying to photograph them.
Cloudy days test my patience with low light and grainy images.
Sunny days emphasize the warblers’ camouflage, turning photos into abstract riddles of highlight and shadow.
Exposures set for the interior of the wax myrtle flare distractingly bright whenever a bird strays into a patch of sunlight.
Exposures set for sunlight fail when a bird retreats into shadow.
Every so often, sunlight, shadow, and bird merge into a split-second of breathtaking beauty. At those moments I freeze, too captivated to remember my camera. Then the moment passes, and I’m left snapping a photo of perfection’s echo.
These photos are the most frustrating of all, teasing reminders of what might have been. They are also my favorites. They are cause and effect. A reason to keep taking photos. Photos worth keeping.
I’m finding that photography, like poetry, is a hunger that returns season after season.
A final set of photos from Wednesday’s walk at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
A rich variety of wildlife makes every visit a fascinating new adventure.
(The ducks pictured above are a new species for me, and I would love a little help identifying them. Are they Gadwalls?)
As much as I enjoyed taking these photos, I regret that I missed the deer.
And I’m aching to know who left the following tracks on a patch of sand near the trail.
There were two sets of tracks, side-by-side, moving in the same direction. The footprints were slightly smudged, but the tail-drag marks were clear enough. What do you think? Did I miss otters? Or are the tracks more lizard-like?
I can’t resist a mystery, and I would love to add deer photos to the archive. I’m already planning my next walk…
Yesterday started sunny and mild. A brisk, warm wind raced ahead of a stormy cold front, and it was impossible to stay inside.
Low tide had drained the marsh into a muddy network of puddles, many of them marked with fresh tracks.
I would have stayed longer, but the sharpening wind made trails increasingly unfriendly. Cones clattered down from the canopy. Branches creaked and scraped. Trees swayed so hypnotically that I gave up on watching the trail and staggered along with my attention focused overhead, stumbling over roots and ruts.
I also spotted dozens of potential nest cavities.
When a long-dead tree shattered across my path, I decided it was time to find the car.
This morning, our damaged fence made me wonder how many more trees fell in the park overnight, and how many nesting places were lost.
With swirling breezes and temperatures in the seventies, today might have been mistaken for spring.
The pear tree shrugged off its cloak of leaves and stood all day, bare-limbed, in a pool of gold and brown.
Robins and warblers perched on sunlit branches, their restless urge to forage temporarily forgotten.
But today’s weather shouldn’t fool any of us, trapped as we are in winter’s web.
An early dusk approaches, wheeling night behind it. Sleep is creeping through the yard, with months to go before waking.