It was dawn on the day of the Vernal Equinox and I had not closed the shades. I usually do, but I forgot. When I woke up, it looked as if the room was on fire. The blue sky turned deep red and violet before finally, the sun came up. It was the most amazing sunrise I’ve ever seen. My friend called me to ask: “Did you see that sunrise this morning? It was amazing!”
And I keep a camera in the bedroom, just for this kind of event. I can only get these amazing sunrises before the leaves come out. After that, the trees hide the sky.
It’s gray, rainy, cold and the world is made of mud. No hope of flowers because it still feels like the end of winter.
Then, suddenly, the sun appears and you get a couple of warm day and the world explodes in color. Breathtaking barely describes it. It’s like a new world, a new planet. The sky is blue, the birds are singing. Of course, the squirrels are still eating all the seeds, but the lawn got mowed, the dead bushes are gone, there’s a tall fence to keep Duke in the yard where he belongs … for today, at least, the world is just perfect.
Garry went out and took pictures yesterday. Me too. I got serious about birds. He got serious about Uxbridge. There are so many pictures, I have barely had time to scrape along the edges of the more than 200 pictures from just yesterday. Call this “Breathtaking Sample 1” with more to follow!
From Garry Armstrong, the village and neighborhood:
From Marilyn Armstrong, more birds and a squirrel.
Usually, I limit these posts to actual flowers, but it was such a glorious, lovely, warm, bright day and all the new leaves in the woods look like flowers. Even the birds look like flowers.
We intended to go take pictures, but we wound up cleaning the house, which badly needed it. I had to clear the dead leaves off the deck and also clear off at least some of the millions of seeds. Then there was vacuuming and floor washing and sofa cover changing, and the vacuum cleaner bag exploded.
You know. A lovely weekend day at home.
I also have a little bird story.
Yesterday I was in the bathroom about to do something I felt was somewhat urgent, but I made the mistake of looking out the window. “Holy Moly!” I cried. There was a Pileated Woodpecker on the flat-feeder. That’s the really big woodpecker who looks just like Woody Woodpecker. He has a hammer-shaped head with a huge, heavy beak. He’s a big guy, too. About as big as a medium-sized hawk.
That beak that can break through a chunk of live oak in search of a bug and they have no objection to whacking some other bird over the head if he or she gets in the way.
So the Pileated Woodpecker who I have seen before, but never gotten a picture of him, was right there. There were also about a dozen Brown-headed Cowbirds lined up on the railing, waiting for him to leave. One Cowbird (they aren’t afraid of anything, probably because following herds of buffalo had its own perils) jumped up on the feeder and without a second thought, Mr. Pileated Woodpeckeder bonked him on the head.
Cowbird returned to the railing. Brave, but not stupid.
I ran to the dining room, grabbed my camera, turned it on. And, of course, the woodpecker was gone. Vamoose.
Meanwhile, the cowbirds were jumping onto the feeder. I guess they felt they’d waited long enough.
Me? I sighed, turned off the camera and went back to the bathroom. I’m getting used the disappearing act. So is Garry. He can’t understand how they completely vanish in literally the blink of an eye. But they do. Kind of amazing in a frustrating way.
So today, I took pictures. Mostly of plants and trees because they do not disappear. They sit still, roots firmly in the ground or in their pots. They let me take their pictures and do not fly away while I turn on the camera.
I don’t love summer because I’m very sensitive to heat. I actually feel sick when I get hot because my sweat glands don’t work properly and I rarely sweat. Great savings on antiperspirant bills but it sucks when everyone else is happily sitting outside in the sun and I’m stuck inside with the air conditioning.
So, summer is not my favorite time, even though I have a boat and summer is the prime boating season. I spend most of my boat days – you guessed it – sitting in the air-conditioned cabin, often by myself. Even my loyal dog, Lexi, who usually follows me everywhere, lays in the sun on the deck on a nice day and abandons me to the interior of the boat.
But spring is great. The obvious joy of spring is watching the grass and the flowers and the leaves bloom, turning the world from grey to a rainbow of colors.
Spring is when my waterfall is fully flowing. I can open the windows to hear that wonderful sound throughout the house. In the summer, the stream usually dries up since we have less rain and more heat. So the view from my window is glorious – a picturesque waterfall in the middle of a continually greening wood.
Another, more pedestrian plus of spring is putting away my darker and heavier winter clothes and pulling out the bright-colored clothes of this bright-colored season.
I pay particular attention to my spring/summer wardrobe because when I hang out on the boat, I schmooze with people every day, as opposed to winter when I can go days without seeing anyone other than Tom. And when I make my rounds to the Post Office and the local stores and coffee shop, people can see what I’m wearing because I’m not wearing a coat that covers up what is underneath.
Not wearing socks is another wardrobe benefit of spring and summer.
My socks bunch up all the time and I have to take my shoes or boots off regularly to adjust them so I can walk comfortably.
There’s also the problem of navy versus black socks. I can’t seem to tell the difference in my bedroom, but as soon as I get downstairs, I can tell immediately that I’ve picked the wrong one and have to go back upstairs and change. (Yes, I care!)
Not wearing a coat or a sweater is also a spring thing. Outside, the temperature is perfect (same in the early fall) so no outerwear is necessary.
I don’t have to wear a sweater inside because the air conditioning everywhere isn’t at full blast as it is in the summer. I always carry a sweater with me throughout the summer in case I am subjected to frigid A/C’s.
Spring also means that the many local farms in my town reopen their markets and I can get beautiful, fresh produce and other gourmet treats, right in my backyard. The freshly baked bread is awesome!
In the offseason, I have to drive 20 minutes each way to a supermarket to even get an onion or a potato. Now these staples, as well as the seasonal fruits and vegetables, are just a few minutes away.
Tom is happy in the spring because he can start working on the boat, preparing it to go back in the water in May. So spring has a lot going for it in my world. I don’t hate winter, like most people, and I love snow, but spring really is a lot better.
Except for the hordes of tiny black ants that invade my kitchen every spring. Here they come! Get out the ant traps!
Almost spring does not mean the same thing everywhere. In New York, it meant that everything was budding. We were waiting for it to burst into bloom. Cherry trees and apple trees were often already flowering. So almost spring really was almost. It was warm, bright, and shortly it would be absolutely lovely.
Up here, it means it’s raining. A few flowers are blooming (daffodils, azalea, tulips … and in very sunny places, apple trees), but there aren’t a lot of buds on the trees. The only leaves I can see are on the still living despite having at least three trees fall on it, lilac — and forsythia.
Spring in New England is frustrating. It’s winter, winter, winter, chilly rainy and muddy … and you look around and it’s gray. Then, one day in the middle of May (depending on weather, of course), it bursts into summer in a matter of hours.
Today I actually had to turn the heat on again. I really didn’t want to because I am trying hard to NOT need another tank of oil before fall. Winter this year was a bit weird. Not nearly as snowy as usual, but blowy and periodically, very cold.
We didn’t get those long sieges of bitter weather we often get in January and February, but it was cold enough to need $300 in plowing and an extra tank of oil. And all we had was one snowy month. If it had snowed the rest of the winter, we’d be bankrupt.
Yesterday was sweatshirt warm and if you were in the right place, even warmer. It wasn’t raining, so we went and took pictures. A lot of pictures because who knows when we’ll have another chance to go out again?
The constant rain begins to get to you after a while. Last night it poured with thunder and lightning Lucky us, no tornadoes.
Oh, for the people who recognize plants. The woodlands are full of that green stuff that looks like skunk cabbage. I couldn’t get close enough to get a tight picture. It was across the waterway, but I think that’s what it is. Doesn’t anyone know for sure? I’m not good with recognizing wild plants. I’m not even good at recognizing garden plants so assistance would be appreciated!
Speaking of changing, what a month! For that matter, what a couple of months this has been. Crazy weather.
The Sunny Gallery
Red-bellied woodpecker and his friend, the Tufted Titmouse
It has been raining relentlessly forever, it seems. We get a couple of nice days … then a week of gray weather and pouring rain. No worries about dry rivers this year!
Not that crazy isn’t an inherent part of our New England weather. Our weather is unpredictable, especially as winter tries to turn into spring — and usually fails, until May when suddenly, it’s summer.
It was lovely here Monday and Tuesday. Blue skies, warm weather and the song of the Carolina Wren can be heard all around the property. Today the gray weather showed up again, but it’s not supposed actually rain again until Friday and Saturday. But no sunshine, either.
Tomorrow, there will be rain and wind — but after that, I’m hoping to clean up the garden before the rest of the flowers open. It’s hard to rake when the daylilies are blooming. And half the rhododendrons are dead and need cutting back.
Not only did it start out sunny, but it stayed sunny. All day today. It was warm without being hot and the flowers began to bloom. There was almost no humidity.
The birds were singing. The winds were warm and a bit blowy.
Tomorrow it’s supposed to be even nicer. Sunny and warm, without the wind. It should be the most prime of prime days for all of spring and if I can find a little time between errands, it could be the best day to take springlike pictures.
And all I have to do, is get to the doctor to pick up a script, have the oil in the car changed (I don’t know where the time has gone!), go grocery shopping, put the new mailbox up, and go into starvation mode for the tests they are (finally) running on Thursday. These should prove, once and for all, whether or not I have brains in my head. Or maybe it’s just some old hard drive that got stuck there.
Oh and I really should back up the month of March before it becomes May.
Thursday should hopefully be the last day I am spending at the hospital unless they find something I don’t want them to find. It’s why I hate testing. It’s not merely the time, inconvenience and the bill that always shows up eventually. It’s that I don’t want them to discover something unfortunate. So if all goes well, I should be able to stop visiting specialists and maybe save enough to get a pair of eyeglasses.
And pay the man who is going to fix the chimney. And buy a storm door for the house before winter shows up again.
We were at the doctor today, too — for Garry. Meanwhile, I’m trying to find a good injector of cortisone to see if I can get my hips and back to hurt less. It’s getting hard to get around. In 10 years, I’ll be unable to move at all and that is not a pleasant thought so I have to see if I can get arthritis to at least, slow down.
So again, if I’m missing, it’s not lack of love. It’s just that the days are not long enough. It’s half past midnight and I’m writing tomorrow morning’s post because I know I won’t be able to do it at the usual time. These are the days when I begin to wonder if maybe there’s another way to deal with this.
Hundreds of unread emails and posts and news and photos to process … and I already know I’m not going to be able to do it.
Not what I had in mind, but at least, for two days, the sun is shining and look! The birds stayed and let me take their pictures!
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