Bird Watching, Insects

Nature’s Colors

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

– Eleonora Duse

June 6, 2015

Blue seems to be calling to me today.

In our sea of woodlands green, the color blue catches my eye like a glittering fish underwater. And today, just like that fish in the sea, sparkling for but a moment then disappearing, my eye held an iridescent blue butterfly for a flicker of time then lost it to the current of emerald treetops. So longing to behold that beauty again, I’ve been lucky enough to see this striking black and iridescent blue butterfly more than once. After a little research, I’ve identified it as a Red Spotted Purple butterfly. These angelic butterflies have a beautiful contrast of deep black across the whole surface of their wings with rows of iridescent blue patches on their hind wings.

On my evening walk, with my little one in tow, again, a bird’s bright blue feathers get my attention. No, it’s not a Blue Jay. Those are everywhere here in Southeast Texas and even as striking as their blue, white and black feathers are, they are so common I barely notice them anymore. This bird, however, was very plain, but the color spread across its back and wings was so unique I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Mostly a deep blue, almost bright purple body, it also sported a light red patch across its throat. I knew immediately it was too big to be a hummingbird so I was at a loss for its name, but later recognized it as an Eastern Bluebird. After near extinction in the early 1900’s, this bird is now becoming a more and more common sight in North America. I wondered how I’ve never noticed this bird before, but it was only in following the path along the road, against the open blue sky that my eye caught it.

So blue became my color today. Known for peace and tranquility, it is one of humanity’s most beloved hues and one I love now even more.

Which colors in nature have been beckoning you this season? What do colors in nature mean to you?

 

Standard
Nature

Glory

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’ “

Genesis 1:26

Would nature do the same as I?

Hide under its blossoming beauty?

Hold back its glorious bounty-

God given?

They receive it, unfurling each

glory in their own way.

Some tall, majestic, proud.

Some tiny, delicate, tender.

Some fat and flowery,

Some thin and graceful.

And who am I?

Nature’s crown, image of Glory Himself,

And I hide behind the profane.

In God’s language: common, ordinary.

I am a jewel among jewels.

Another bright star in a sea of stars,

All pointing to the

Maker of light.

The prickly starfish,

The airy foam of ocean waves,

The tender unfurling of a fern,

The minute perfection of a gnat,

The glory of a mushroom,

The rays of sun,

The cascade of forest branches,

The smell of rain soaked woods,

The touch of the silky frog,

The cry of a newborn babe-

And who am I?

I am one more

displaying glory.

I can purpose to add to that beauty,

Or rip it away.

Is there any place on earth

Where you can do neither?

Standard
Bird Watching

American (Robin) Hospitality

“Alas! in winter, dead and dark,

Where can poor Robin go?”

– William Allingham

 

January 29, 2015

A few times now our silent winter days have been pleasantly disturbed by flocks of American Robins coming in to forage and feed. At first, as I took my walk outdoors, I couldn’t put my finger on what was different about this day. Until I stopped to listen, and it was precisely then at that moment, that I was listening I realized the air was no longer silent! Most winter days are as barren in sound as they are in other ways, but the presence of these birds brought a cheeriness to the silent sky. And had they not been rooting and foraging through the dry leaves I would not have noticed them at all for they are exactly the same color as those brown and orange foliage. They do not swoop about the trees as other acrobatic birds do, instead they root for various insects and berries. Our 1 acre of backyard suits them perfectly. We were unknowingly perfectly hospitable.

 

Standard
Insects

On Butterfly Wings

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”

– John Keats, Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne

November 19, 2014

One day my husband calls to me to come and see. Cupped in the palm of his hand, a butterfly. No longer alive but almost entirely intact, I am amazed at how much nature gives to us even in death- a chance to observe this beautiful creature up close and at my leisure. Such a treat to inspect beautiful butterfly wings up close, and this one was a treat indeed. Orange and black, I make the mistake of the uninitiated and confuse it for a Monarch but it was not. Delicately, I turn the butterfly over and witness beautiful shimmering metallic spots across its wings. Like perfect pools of silver or little glass mirrors dotted on its underside. I learn it is a Gulf Fritillary and common in this area.

I keep it on my windowsill for a long time next to a mason jar filled with marbles. I gaze at it while I wash the dishes and think of this common insect with an uncommon beauty.

Standard
Night

Night Music

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”

Aristotle

October 30, 2014

We have quite forgotten what it feels like to spend our day by nature’s musical clock. I actually do not own one clock anywhere in my home. It happened very much by accident, but has continued on through desire. This time of year the windows let the night air run through our home, and we fall asleep to the lullaby of crickets and frogs singing their nightly chorus. It is predictable, just the way too when the weather takes a sharp cold turn, the lullaby ceases. And in the Summer, when the air is warm and thick even late into the night, their song is almost deafening. I’ve also grown quite familiar to our nocturnal owl friends hoot-hooing in the deep hours of the night. And when night is overtaken by the coming sun, the cricket’s song fades and cheery birds cry out to signal morning. The screech of the hawk and the caw of the crow remind me it’s time to get up and get work done. But by far my favorite, and the most comforting, is the lullaby of those on the forest floor, the crickets and frogs softly lulling us to sleep.

Standard
Insects

The Spider’s Web

“For me each day begins and ends with wanting to learn a little more about the secrets of spider silk.” 

– Cheryl Hayashi

October 2, 2014

It is Fall. The grip of the Summer’s sweltering heat has loosened and we are given relief. There are many things missing from city life that one only clearly finds when removed from it. For example, I can tell you with certainty that it is Fall, not because of the writing on the calender and not because we have cool winds blow in from time to time, but because the spiders are out in full abundance. Looking out the window one morning, I squint closer at what I wonder is even real. It looks too perfect, too amazing- a huge, circular spider web balancing between two trees on either side of our dirt driveway. I go outside to take a closer look. It’s intricacy is only surpassed by its perfection- I have never seen anything like it. And then I look up just above it- another! Two glorious webs side by side, and every day it seems I find more and more along our driveway, under the outside stairs, across bushes, high up in branches of trees. Early morning is their favorite time, that is when I see the most webs, their dewy frames glistening in the new sun. The new day’s rays then hit the spider’s web and brilliant colors pop to life- bright magenta, stunning turquoise, deep green, colors I would never have imagined lived in those little strands. I am beginning to have a great respect for these tiny brilliant creatures, their beautiful webs and their interesting lives.

Standard
Bird Watching

Breathe in Deep the Woods

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

– John Muir

June 25, 2014

Dew’s dripping;

Cricket’s chipping.

Crow’s cawing;

Day’s dawning.

Thunder’s rumbling;

Storm is coming.

Hawk’s screeching;

Life’s teeming.

Songbird’s swooping;

I am looking.

Breathe in deep

The woods.

Today

Flipping through my journal I stumble across this, and it seems the perfect thing to share today. The woods teem with life here. I see so much around me that I wrestle with my everyday to carve away some time to write it. Rural chickens take my breath away. Did you ever know chickens could do that? Dusty tan and perfect black alternate in loops across their feathers and it looks like the most beautiful lace. A Greater Roadrunner runs off in the road ahead of me. If only he would slow enough to let me look at him! His spotted array glimmers with a hint of shimmery blue. Three White-tailed deer dash across and it never fails to put me in awe of the wildness around me. Yes, breathe in deep the woods.

 

Standard