Tag Archive | Iris reticulata

Sandhill Cranes

There they are: the first sandhill cranes I’ve heard this season. Their grekking, trekking cry suddenly falls on your ears from thin air, and you look up, seeking the source of the call. You see nothing but sky… and then! Their spiral turns under sun, from invisible silver they flow into a hundred shadows, sound made manifest.

I’m grateful for the first sandhill cranes this season ~ the first I’ve noticed anyway, they may have been flying over for days, but not while I was outside. This afternoon walking up the driveway I heard them, searched the sky ~ and found them, circling slowly, high. I’m grateful each migration season to recognize their unmistakeable ancient traveling call as they soar or circle overhead. One forgets. They pass through, fleeting, for a few weeks each spring and fall, then vanish to their breeding range north of here, or their winter refuge south, and one forgets. But then, out of the blue one afternoon, there it is, that sudden certain signal sound, of spring officially sprung. The sandhill cranes are back!

Years ago, closer. I anticipate many more opportunities to admire them this spring.
I’m grateful this week for little blue Iris reticulata, blooming as the snow melts.

Mud

I’m grateful for this thing

I’m grateful for mud, as I’ve mentioned before, because in the desert, mud=life. We’re in such an extreme drought cycle that we can’t afford to complain about mud season anymore, probably ever. Let’s surrender to gratitude: we need every drop of water the skies can deliver – we always have in this region, it’s just more apparent recently. Topaz is too young to understand this, and she prefers to avoid mud. I’m grateful to have this cat who walks with us like another dog; I’m grateful for all the cats who’ve happily walked with me like dogs in this forest.

Here’s another reason to be grateful for crusty snow. It gives an alternative path to ice or mud. Stellar enjoys it too. Stellar also enjoys mud. He enjoys walking anywhere, anytime. He’s always been such a happy boy.
Where now shine crocuses there was recently just … you guessed it, mud. I’m grateful for ants. For some ecological reasons, but also, when I bent down on elbows and knees to examine a few little specks rushing in and out and around the petals, I discovered to my surprise…
… that crocuses have a compelling fragrance. I don’t think I’ve ever stuck my nose close enough to notice before. Thanks, ants.
Soon the south border will fill with color. I’m grateful for the first one open of all the little naturalizing irises.
I’m grateful for her agility.
I’m grateful for lunch, chicken and rice with ginger-scallion sauce. So simple, so delicious!
I’m grateful for another beautiful day with Stellar, for sitting with him in peaceful silence under the apricot tree, for walking with him in the mud…
…and I’m also grateful for this thing. After our morning walk I pulled it out of the mudroom, filled it two-thirds full of warm water, and plunged each of Stellar’s mud-clad feet into it one at a time, lifting them gently up and down for a few swishes til they were -sort of- clean, before I let him back in the house. I’m grateful he’s patient and good enough to let me do this. I’m grateful to Suzi for sharing her exciting discovery of this ‘right tool for the job.’ It’s truly a remarkable mud season accessory for the high desert dog owner.

Cultivating Joy in a Dark Spring

How is it that with all this extra time on my hands I still can’t unclutter my house? Oh yeah… the garden is waking up.

First to bloom in early March, purple dwarf iris.
As the purples fade, these new Iris reticulata ‘Eye Catcher’ bloom for the first time.
Then the first native bees take advantage of grape hyacinths…
… including Muscaria azureum, a delightful surprise this year, which only grows to a couple of inches tall.
Here they are just sprouting from bulbs planted last fall in my Blue Bed.
The first butterflies come to these early spring bulbs.
And also the first bumblebees!
Last week European pasqueflowers began opening, attracting an early digger bee…
… and one happy spider with a not-so-lucky little sweat bee.
This one fares better on a little yellow tulip.
This tulip is an accidental hybrid between Tulipa tarda, the ground-hugging wild tulip, and a tall coral-colored cultivar I planted many years ago. Told I should name it after myself, I just did: Tulipa ritala.
Meanwhile, Stellar wobbles along on his last legs, filling my heart and breaking it at the same time.

I simply don’t have words to convey the maelstrom of emotions that swirl within like March winds this spring. Above all there is gratitude for the many blessings this life has given me so far. I’m grateful to be an introvert who works from home anyway. I’m grateful that I have a reasonably healthy body, though my immune system is not robust and neither is my right lung, which never quite fills all the way. I consider myself to be fairly high risk, and so I’m grateful I have friends willing to shop for me and deliver necessities. I’m grateful I’ve worked hard for nearly thirty years to create this beautiful refuge, which now offers solace and peace amid global turmoil, and I’ll be grateful when I am again able to share it with people.

Other emotions may be less healthy but are also valid: rage at the rampant greed and graft manifesting at the highest levels of government during this pandemic when all humans should be working together to stave off despair and death; disgust at the ignorant response by trump cult believers that is causing so many more Americans to sicken and die; despair that the dying petroleum industry and the politicians that subsidize and profit from it take advantage of our distraction to rape and pillage even more egregiously our fragile planet. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention: Broaden your information horizons.

Meanwhile, the Say’s phoebes are back shoring up at least two nests around the house. A day after they first fluttered into the yard, I took last year’s nest off the top of the ladder leaning against the north wall, and lay it down so I could use it this summer if I needed to. The next day I felt so bad that I gathered scrap wood, tools, and screws to build a little shelf in the same spot where I could replace the nest. But once I stood there with all the materials I realized it would be way too complicated, so I propped up the ladder against a joist to provide corner stability, and tucked the old nest securely back into place. It’s one small thing I can do…

Like Biko emerging from hibernation, I take advantage of every sunny day to appreciate the rich beauty of this particular spring.