Sunday, April 22, 2012

A day of contemplation in the garden

Photo: CC*BY FlyingSinger
Today is Earth Day. I am spending as much of it as I can outside just being in the garden. With my cat. She's so laid back.

Kitty Girl
What luck! We're joined there by the Austin symphony of spring birds playing their best solos -- its the spring breeding season and no one wants to be ignored. Over the course of this single day I've heard, in no particular order, Chuck-will's-widow, Summer tanager, Louisiana waterthrush, White-eyed vireo, Golden-cheeked warbler, Nashville warbler, Northern cardinal, Spotted towhee, House finch, Lesser goldfinch, Black-crested titmouse, Carolina chickadee, Carolina wren, Great-horned owl, Great-crested flycatcher, Black-chinned hummingbird, Eastern phoebe, White-winged dove, Purple martin, Blue-gray gnatcatcher. I must be forgetting somebody.

And there are a few that seem to be missing. Where are the Blue jays, the Northern mockingbirds and the Chimney swifts? What about the Bewick's wren and the Red-eyed vireo? I heard them yesterday. Well, so it goes.

Photo: CC*BY .:[Melissa]:.
I hope I never forget how beautiful a place this is, how sweet and fresh the air, how delicate the web of activity that brings it all to life in an unending process of birth, growth, decay, death and renewal. Like those little 8-spotted Forester moths that showed up recently, innocently hanging out around the Virginia creeper. And then a few weeks later, what? What on earth is skeletonizing the Virginia creeper -- oh -- it's a little caterpillar, which I look up and find is ... 8-spotted Forester moth larvae. Of course. And the birds love to eat the caterpillars. And I learned today that it's no surprise that the Summer tanagers hang out here. We have a bee-hive in the side of our cliff and Summer tanagers eat, yes, bees. Their favorite thing. It's like poetry only more beautiful and without words.

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