“Both male and female S. rufus are territorial; however, they defend different types of territories. The more aggressive males fight to defend areas with dense flowers, pushing females into areas with more sparsely populated flowers. Males generally have shorter wings than females, therefore their metabolic cost for hovering is higher. This allows males to beat their wings at high frequencies, giving them the ability to chase and attack other birds to defend their territory. The metabolic cost of short wings is compensated for by the fact that these males do not need to waste energy foraging for food, because their defended territory provides plenty of sustenance. Females on the other hand are not given access to the high concentration food sources, because the males fight them off. Therefore, females generally defend larger territories, where flowers are more sparsely populated, forcing them to fly farther between food sources. The metabolic cost of flying farther is compensated for with longer wings providing more efficient flight for females. The differences in wing length for S. rufus demonstrate a distinct sexual dimorphism, allowing each sex to best exploit resources in an area.”
I copied this straight from Wikipedia. Fascinating. Fair? For some reason, I trust their information for basic science, though I might be skeptical for more subjective knowledge. Around here, we call these birds “little bulldogs,” or more subjective epithets. I love them despite their aggression; they are beautiful, remarkable creatures. I am grateful to have the Rufous and the other two species zipping around the yarden all day, intensifying in the evening.
I’m grateful for all the pollinators. I haven’t even cracked the manual for the new camera, and the current lens won’t give me the crystal clarity of the macro lens on the old camera, but I’ll get there eventually. Meanwhile, playing around with it this morning I caught a few pollinators doing their thing. Imagine where we’d be without them! So grateful for pollinators, and the fruits of their labors.
I’m grateful for the 4000 species of native bees in North America, and the dozens that forage and nest in my yarden. They’re responsible for pollinating about three-quarters of all our food plants, but their very existence is not well known to the general public. I didn’t know about them until I started raising and photographing honeybees, and paying attention to all the other pollinators I discovered through my camera lens. There aren’t nearly as many individual bees or bee species in the garden this summer, making me cherish them all the more. You can learn to identify and plant for native bees with the Wild Bee ID app put out by the Center for Food Safety, and enjoy some of my better photos while you’re at it.
I was grateful this morning to find myself with both leeks and potatoes in my hands, fresh out of the garden. There’s only one thing I think of with both those vegetables: vichyssoise! It was my father’s favorite soup, which I’ve known my whole life. Today I thought of him, grateful for his culinary skills and interests that he transmitted to me. I’m grateful for many things about today, including vichyssoise.
Have I mentioned lately the point of this commitment? I chanced to have a conversation with a young conservationist the other day, and she mentioned grief. Grief is one of the most appropriate emotions for any of us to be holding, juggling, however we choose to acknowledge it. Gratitude is another. The two complement each other: they are antidotes and catalysts at the same time, grief and gratitude. Whichever one you start with can lead you to the other, particularly if you start with grief. From my particular world view, grief and gratitude are themost appropriate emotions for anyone aware of the climate crisis. [trigger alert: these links are not for the faint of heart.]
So I’m grateful for the mental fortitude I’ve cultivated this past year, and my whole life, really; grateful that I can put myself in perspective with the world at last, after decades of exploring the relationship. I am content to be a small pebble in a small pond, causing small ripples. I am sitting in the teepee, watching the giant blue planet approach. I am grateful for every moment of beauty and grace that I can be aware of, as the moments of this fleeting life flow through me.
Literally (I don’t see enough of them, as a night owl) and metaphorically: sunrise on the next phase of this unpredictable journey through life. I’m grateful for another amazing day of retreat, and for the accomplishment of certification as a mindfulness teacher. So much gratitude!
Sometimes this is all that occurs to me to say: Mercy!
I’ve spent the entire day working on a 10-minute presentation for a retreat this weekend, except for the time I went to PT or was eating. I’m immensely grateful whenever I get so inspired that a whole day goes by absorbed in a project. It’s a type of mercy to lose myself and all my concerns in the creative process.
I’m grateful for all ten feet that enable Stellar and Topaz and me to walk through the woods most every morning. After visiting the Survivor, whom we haven’t been to see in a couple of months, we came home and rested by the pond, where they both drank and I meditated.
Old painting, new life. I’m grateful my brother painted this fifty years ago, that I wouldn’t let it go when the old house sold; that I kept it rolled up in storage for decades, and unfurled it a couple of years ago thinking: better it hang somewhere, even outside, than spend the rest of its life in a tube and get thrown away whenever I die. It survived two years ignominiously screwed to the wall a little askew, but today it finally got framed and hung straight. I’m grateful to Wilson and his little helper for crafting the beautiful slab wood frame. Grateful for the mill down the road that sells its scraps so reasonably. Grateful I have a wall to hang it on. Now, looks like it’s time to finish the wall with a coat of smooth plaster: I’m grateful for how one thing leads to another, and we grow.
Looking back over that half century, I’m grateful that the oasis of wild joy and color in this vision from my childhood has come to vibrant life here at Mirador.