Nature is my school. My latest teacher is a heron.
Two of its favorite fishing spots are within sight of my desk.
Both locations have a downed tree lying in shallow water.
The heron balances on the trunks and stares into the water.
It is poised as though it is meditating or doing yoga.
Its movements are slow and deliberate.
Bend and Snap
It is focused on only the water. No wasted movement or attention.
It seems to be doing one thing and only one thing.
In reality it is doing two things.
Balancing and fishing.
Maintaining balance is required first.
Balance is required.
Balance is first.
Cliff Swallows build their nests under the bridge near our home.
They form huge colonies which swoop and tweet as your ride under them.
I love watching their activities from below.
It is all new construction this year. The old nests were cleared during bridge maintenance over the winter.
The Cliff Swallows carry mud pellets in their beaks and spit them onto the vertical surfaces.
The pair work together to construct a cup and close it in. The result looks like a jug on its side.
Each nest may have as many as one thousand pellets in it. That’s 500 pellets of mud and grass per bird.
Get some mud in your mouth, mix in some grass, fly to your chosen site, carefully spit out the pellet, repeat…
I am so glad I am not a Cliff Swallow.
One of my flying friends chose to build her nest in a precarious place.
I noticed the mud on the concrete first. Then little scraps of moss and grass.
I wanted to tell her this was not a great place, but she was very determined.
I placed a metal plate on the deck above her nest, so we would avoid that spot when we blew off the leaves and pollen.
I also knew that the beam her nest is on is in line with drips from the roof. That is where I set out my houseplants when it rains. I guess a bucket will go there now. Can’t let our nest of mud get wet!
Yesterday, I climbed a ladder while the parents were absent.
I held my camera over my head hoping to photograph eggs. Then I saw something tiny move.
Yes folks, I am a grandma again.
So I spent my Earth Day doing what we all should be doing, helping Mother Nature.
HAPPY EARTH DAY
I have tried to save him from himself.
Nothing I have done has worked for long.
The interventions were merely distractions.
Nature has hard-wired him to fight his mirror image.
He thinks it’s another suitor for his mate.
He thinks it’s an invader in his space.
All the while his mate is ignored and his territory is neglected.
He has been fooled by an image.
Fake is Real.
He cannot fight the fixed action pattern in his little brain,
like a twelve year old boy playing Fortnite.
How do we save him from himself?
How do we get him back?
Poor little Mr. Blue.
I am sorry for you.
But go away and leave me be.
Your sickness is robbing me of peace and sleep.
I live here, too.
Blue bird be gone!
My pity won’t save you.
He comes every morning to fight his foe.
I hear the tap, tap, tapping on the window.
I know it is he, doing battle bravely.
He fights his reflection
because he does not know himself.
He is his own enemy.
flow is low
(This post is to honor those innocent people who were needlessly killed at my alma mater, UNCC.)
Creatures let you know when you have screwed up.
The bunnies throw their metal pan if their breakfast is late.
Hummingbirds buzz my head when the feeder is empty.
But this was my first scolding by a bluebird.
It started by his looking in the windows while I was cooking.
He was very vocal as he fluttered around the windows.
At first, I thought he was talking to his reflection.
But he followed me across the front of the house.
He repeatedly flew from the windows to the deck railing and back.
It finally dawned on me that the bluebird house attached to the deck pole just below where he kept landing had fallen apart over the winter.
I found a different house and got out the ladder to pop it up in the old house’s place.
I waited. The scolding continued.
It did not want a new house, it wanted its old orange house.
The one that had fallen apart.
Out came the hammer and nails. The ladder was dragged back out.
Up goes the newly reconstructed old orange house.
Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird are pleased.
I don’t appreciate being bossed around by a bird.
I have watched this Great Blue heron for hours.
It has stayed on this post all morning.
Once I looked up to see the post empty.
Next time I looked, the heron was back.
I have spent the entire morning on my computer
while my friend has spent this time preening on a post.
I tried to sneak down to the shore for a close-up,
but it flew away…
to another post.
The heron, its reflection and its shadow.
Three in one: life and light and darkness.
The real thing, its image and its negative.