Friday Flora & Fresh Air

Bird of Paradise 4Two stunning birds of paradise stopped me dead in my tracks yesterday morning: this perfect Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) floral specimen …

Bird of Paradise 6

and one angry little hummingbird who read me the riot act for crowding his flower.

Bird of Paradise 2

I was on my morning walk when I noticed a glimpse of orange in the center of a giant clump of those distinctively enormous oval leaves.

Bird of Paradise 5

As I composed these images, a much smaller and more vocal bird of paradise swooped right up into my face and told me to buzz off.

Bird of Paradise 3I’m so glad I stopped to take a closer look.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Heartaches, Attachments, Autumn

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Autumn Leaves 1Flowering Cactus with shadow Seed Pods 1Prickly Pear Fruit 1Toyon in Autumn 1As I type these words, I’m trying to memorize the contented sound the quail make as they move through our yard. It goes something like this: whoop whoop whoop whoop. But I’m frustrated because that sound isn’t quite right and I’m quickly running out of time to learn it by heart. So each morning I scatter seed then wait, watch and listen. When I feel overwhelmed, I go outside to soak up some sun and check on the oak tree we planted two years ago; inevitably, a tiny lizard joins me. Each evening a hummingbird pays us a visit and I delight in the sound of it’s wings. I want to capture these moments and file them away.

Last week I picked two limes from a tree I planted five years ago. They were the first limes the little tree ever produced. Our Meyer lemons are starting to turn yellow, but we won’t be here to pick them. We bought and planted that tree six year ago, the very weekend we arrived in California. Have you ever planted a tree knowing you won’t be around to see it mature? In my mind, that’s one of the least selfish things a person can do. It’s a gift for future generations.

Now, do four favors for me, please?

Read this post by artist Lily Stockman and listen to this recording of the Mojave Desert at dawn by naturalists Sarah Koschak and Andrew Skeoch.

Plant a tree, then go hug someone you love.