|male bluebird on pine candle|
Several monarch(?) butterflies have been butterflying around the back yard today. If anyone has recommendations on how to tell, while they're in flight, monarchs from viceroys, at a distance, please share. Flashes of orange are inconclusive, but about all that's available some days.
|monarch butterfly feeding|
While sitting and watching the birds and butterflies, I briefly thought about the fact that the trees looked like they were just standing there, doing as little as I was. That's if we consider pumping groundwater up to leaves; producing shade and oxygen and perches for birds; growing acorns and providing nesting sites for birds and resting sites for squirrels; capturing carbon; stabilizing soil and producing wood is doing little. (What have I left out?) This reminded me of the zen saying "When nothing is done, nothing is left undone." Would that we all left "nothing" as undone as trees just standing there. Do we too often take trees for granted and assume they're just taking up space that could be put to better use? On my list of books to read over the next few months is The Hidden Life of Trees. I wonder if it will provide insights into whether trees themselves are satisfied with their own lives. I'll let you know when I'm done reading it.
|what life is hidden here?|
Song of the Trees1 We are the Trees. Our dark and leafy glade Bands the bright earth with softer mysteries. Beneath us changed and tamed the seasons run: In burning zones, we build against the sun Long centuries of shade. 2 We are the Trees, Who grow for man’s desire, Heat in our faithful hearts, and fruits that please. Dwelling beneath our tents, he lightly gains The few sufficiencies his life attains— Shelter, and food, and fire. 3 We are the Trees That by great waters stand, By rills that murmur to our murmuring bees. And where, in tracts all desolate and waste, The palm-foot stays, man follows on, to taste Springs in the desert sand. 4 We are the Trees Who travel where he goes 20 Over the vast, inhuman, wandering seas. His tutors we, in that adventure brave— He launched with us upon the untried wave, And now its mastery knows. 5 We are the Trees 25 Who bear him company In life and death. His happy sylvan ease He wins through us; through us, his cities spread That like a forest guard his unfenced head ’Gainst storm and bitter sky. 30 6 We are the Trees. On us the dying rest Their strange, sad eyes, in farewell messages. And we, his comrades still, since earth began, Wave mournful boughs above the grave of man, And coffin his cold breast.
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