Monday, June 18, 2018

The orioles return #phenology

Sometime within the past few days, the Aldo Leopold Foundation < @aldoLeopoldFdn > shared this Tweet:
"Noticed Baltimore orioles have disappeared from fruit & jelly feeders? They change their diet to insects for more protein as they rear their chicks. Spot one of their "hanging basket" nests & look for adults feeding nestlings. Soon, the whole fam may visit your feeder! "
 Today, as we were starting this post, a male Baltimore oriole arrived at our feeders. He drank some nectar from the hummingbird/oriole feeder and took a taste of grape jelly. His arrival, as foretold above by one of our favorite orgs, was a very pleasant surprise. We'd like to get his picture, since the only orioles we've photographed so far are females. Anyhow, maybe there is something to this phenology stuff? 😇

female Baltimore oriole at feeder
female Baltimore oriole at feeder
Photo by J. Harrington

We have no idea where the orioles' "hanging basket" nest may be located. There's a multitude of trees around here. That leaves us looking forward to the arrival of more orioles at the feeders. In fact, we'll put out fresh grape jelly tomorrow. The female rose breasted grosbeaks have been nipping at it from time to time and, with no orioles in sight until now, we saw little point in freshening the jelly since it was clearly a second choice, after sunflower seeds, for the grosbeaks. Some of the local squirrels check out the taste of jelly from time to time also. The dogs love to chase squirrels off the deck into the branches of the overhanging tree. The squirrels are safe until and unless the dogs learn to climb trees.

We hope our recent wave of overly hot, excessively wet weather (6" to 12" or more a county or two North of us) over the weekend hasn't disrupted your life. The claims of climate scientists, that climate change will result in more volatile, intense storm patterns, seem to be pretty well reflected by recent weather events. Sigh!

That Woman



Sarah Getty1943


Look! A flash of orange along the river’s edge--
“oriole!” comes to your lips like instinct, then
it’s vanished--lost in the foliage,

in all your head holds, getting on with the day.  
But not gone for good. There is that woman     
walks unseen beside you with her apron
  
pockets full.  Days later, or years, when you least    
seem to need it--reading Frost on the subway,    
singing over a candled cake--she’ll reach

into a pocket and hand you this intact    
moment--the river, the orange streak parting 
the willow, and the “oriole!” that leapt

to your lips.  Unnoticed, steadfast, she gathers      
all this jumble, sorts it, hands it back like 
prizes from Crackerjack.  She is your mother,

who first said, “Look! a robin!” and pointed,   
and there was a robin, because her own
mother had said to her, “Look!” and pointed, 

and so on, back to the beginning: the mother, 
the child, and the world.  The damp bottom 
on one arm and pointing with the other: 
       
the peach tree, the small rocks in the shallows,    
the moon and the man in the moon.  So you keep on, 
seeing, forgetting, faithfully followed;   

and you yourself, unwitting, gaining weight,
have thinned to invisibility, become
that follower.  Even now, your daughter

doesn’t see you at her elbow as she walks
the beach.  There! a gull dips to the Pacific,
and she points and says to the baby, “Look!”


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Sunday, June 17, 2018

For Father's Day: fight family separation

Aldo Leopold's "shack" a gift to his family, and the world
Photo by J. Harrington

Children, please read this and help where you can, in honor of your fathers.

Here’s How You Can Help Fight Family Separation at the Border

Lawyers, translators, donations, protest.

Fathers, please read this and help where you can, for the sake of your children and every child.

Here’s How You Can Help Fight Family Separation at the Border

Lawyers, translators, donations, protest.

Happy Father's Day! Remember, only we can make a better world for all of us. This morning's thunderstorms might make today's poem a seasonal misfit but it wonderfully captures the distinction between a child and a man. Real men know how to love.

Those Winter Sundays


Robert Hayden19131980

Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he’d call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well. 
What did I know, what did I know 
of love’s austere and lonely offices? 


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Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.