Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Spring blues and riotous others #phenology

As we drove past the marshes North of county Highway 36 today we spotted a great blue heron quietly keeping an eye on things. Some sort of small, blue butterfly has been flitting about the local fields the past few days. We're hopeful it could be a Karner Blue, but haven't got a close enough look to be sure. One of these days we'll see if the bluebirds have nested in their house.

did you know grosbeaks like grape jelly?
did you know grosbeaks like grape jelly?
Photo by J. Harrington


A male Baltimore oriole (and maybe a female) has been seen at the grape jelly feeder. Most of the prior tasters had been male rose-breasted grosbeaks. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are regularly stopping at the feeders in front and behind the house. A male turkey was strutting and displaying this morning in the field about 150 yards West of the house. Neighborhood fruit trees and lilac bushes have developed magnificent flowering. More and more dandelion blossoms are appearing daily, sometimes, it seems, hourly.

bull snake sunning, mid-May 2014
bull snake sunning, mid-May 2014
Photo by J. Harrington


So far we haven't seen any reptiles warming themselves on local roads, but we did notice a number of barn swallows nesting under the eaves of a local Family Pathways store when we swung by to make  a donation this morning. They were almost as thick as Minnesota's state bird, the mosquito, which, thankfully, haven't yet hatched in numbers. All in all, Spring is getting more and more colorful by the day.

Colors passing through us



Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
the purple of ripe grapes
sunlit and warm as flesh.

Every day I will give you a color,
like a new flower in a bud vase
on your desk. Every day
I will paint you, as women
color each other with henna
on hands and on feet.

Red as henna, as cinnamon,
as coals after the fire is banked,
the cardinal in the feeder,
the roses tumbling on the arbor
their weight bending the wood
the red of the syrup I make from petals.

Orange as the perfumed fruit
hanging their globes on the glossy tree,
orange as pumpkins in the field,
orange as butterflyweed and the monarchs
who come to eat it, orange as my
cat running lithe through the high grass.

Yellow as a goat’s wise and wicked eyes,
yellow as a hill of daffodils,
yellow as dandelions by the highway,
yellow as butter and egg yolks,
yellow as a school bus stopping you,
yellow as a slicker in a downpour.

Here is my bouquet, here is a sing
song of all the things you make
me think of, here is oblique
praise for the height and depth
of you and the width too.
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.

Green as mint jelly, green
as a frog on a lily pad twanging,
the green of cos lettuce upright
about to bolt into opulent towers,
green as Grand Chartreuse in a clear
glass, green as wine bottles.

Blue as cornflowers, delphiniums,
bachelors’ buttons. Blue as Roquefort,
blue as Saga. Blue as still water.
Blue as the eyes of a Siamese cat.
Blue as shadows on new snow, as a spring
azure sipping from a puddle on the blacktop.

Cobalt as the midnight sky
when day has gone without a trace
and we lie in each other’s arms
eyes shut and fingers open
and all the colors of the world
pass through our bodies like strings of fire.



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