12 March, 2013 Bliss
I don’t have a specific topic. But after an extended non-blogging interval I of course have a large pile of pictures. A large digital pile. Spring will be popping any day now – really it already is – so I will have tons of pictures. And how hard can it be to write about bliss.
I’ve put off blogging until I got some unpleasant (non-blissful) accounting business out-of-the-way. Fortunately I have a pleasant accountant! It was just boring stuff that I don’t excel at and avoid. So I told myself I couldn’t blog (a favorite activity) until I got it all done. One night while lying awake thinking about why I was avoiding this simple activity, I was thinking about mindfulness. Thinking about mindfulness is not being mindful, by the way. Anyway, I was thinking of the expression “ignorance is bliss” and realized mindfulness – the opposite of ignorance – is also bliss.
Fortunately or unfortunately I fell asleep. Fortunately – at least from my point of view – I now have an opportunity to post a few of the pictures I’ve enjoyed taking. And I’ll post again soon.
Also vaguely on this subject, I’ve just hit the two-year mark since my first blog post. An anniversary meaningless to all except me, but I’m glad I’ve kept the blog up and it’s as much fun as when I began. My first post was March 2, 2011, “Rivers are always different and always perfect.” No pictures! I think that won’t happen again.
My last post was on February 2! Over a month ago! It’s great to be back.
I’ve gotten two neat pictures of the moon. One in daylight when I was with my friend at Bryan Park. This was on Monday, February 18 at 4:15 PM. At that point it was “waxing gibbous”, about eight days old, about ⅔ illuminated. Here’s the picture:
Precisely seven days later I walked out on my front stoop in the evening just as the full moon was rising:
Fun pictures to take – I’ve never taken a picture of the moon before.
I got a pretty picture of the sun last month too. Evie was leaving early for a trip so I got up too and went down to the river early like I used to. Just after sunrise I took this picture at Pony Pasture:
I was at the river later and it was that beautiful, or maybe more. I ran into a friend who asked if I’d been to see the Chihuly exhibit at the Virginia Museum. I said no – is it more beautiful than this? I may be a Philistine (some would say there’s no question about it) but I don’t tire of the river.
Only a day or two later – still in February – I took this picture of a daffodil at Pony Pasture. Spring is springing:
I suspect there will be lots of baby mallards soon. I saw this little six-pack in a canal at PP last week. Later I saw a ten pack, but didn’t get a picture! Five pair of mallards! Wikipedia says each female lays between 8 and 13 eggs, so I’m guessing there will be a whole lot of babies down there soon. Unless there’s a massive flood or a hungry fox takes up residence, but that river is just loaded with all types of waterfowl right now.
When we got out of the car at PP that morning I saw my favorite (and central VA’s most ubiquitous) weed on the edge of the parking lot. I understand why people want to get rid of these and I am even unfond of them in my own yard (where they grow like… weeds) but they’re so beautiful:
I saw a grebe (perhaps a cormorant) that morning at PP as well. I took some reasonable pictures, but the light and the water were unattractive and made an already somewhat homely bird look even homelier. It’s possible I’ll still get a picture of one in better light and put it up.
I get decent bird pictures around my house from time to time, mainly on my feeders. I am unfond of taking pictures of birds on the feeder because it’s a little unnatural, but the birds are pretty. And I bought the feeders and seed with a little of the money dad left me, since he loved to feed birds. It always reminds me of him. Dad’s favorite songbird (by far) was the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis). I see them at the river and on bike rides but I haven’t gotten a picture – yet. When I do, it will go up here. Dad and mom also both love Carolina Wrens (Thryothorus ludovicianus). They’re quite common and I’ve even managed to get a picture of one in the wild at PP. Mom and dad have wreaths on the front door of their house and wrens build nests in the wreaths and even lay eggs! This one was on my back feeder:
In my yard I also have Juncos (a few), nuthatches (occasionally), tufted titmice (many), and chickadees (I’m almost overrun). Of course I have crows and cardinals and robins and mockingbirds and blue jays but I enjoy the little songbirds most. I’ve also recently seen at my feeder for the first time a rufous-sided towhee, but I was too slow to photograph it. Maybe in a future post. These little ones were all birds that figured prominently in my youth, especially chickadees and especially at the cabin.
Forgive me if I repeat myself – it’s possible I’ve told this story in a previous blog post. But we spent so many great winters at the cabin. It was in the mountains and would snow like mad. My mom just gave me some old pictures; I’ll put them up soon. But we had a front porch that spanned the 24 foot width of the cabin and extended eight feet in front. Two huge sliding glass doors opened out onto it and woods came right up to it. In the snow – and at all other times – we’d put out lots of bird seed. We could stand inside in our shorts and t-shirts by the blazing woodstove and look out at the birds eating a foot from our faces. I hunted a lot and had lots of warm clothes. Once I got bundled up and put bird seed in my gloved hand and went out there and stood in snow with my arm extended. I’d hardly begun to get cold when a bold and hungry chickadee landed on my glove and began gobbling sunflower seeds. I’ll put up a chickadee picture soon. It’s been harder than I thought to photograph them at the river but they’re a dime a dozen at my bird feeders. Ever since that one literally ate out of my hand I’ve had a soft spot for them. I have a beautiful picture of one hanging on my wall that my friend Lynda Richardson took.
The seed in my yard attracts a lot of white-throated sparrows:
Meanwhile (perhaps inevitably) back at Pony Pasture, I saw a new (to me) duck last week. It was a ring neck duck, a very handsome little guy:
Pony Pasture, to my great delight, is left for the most part in its natural state. But there’s a neat plaque on a bench there:
As a general rule I enjoy freshwater more than salt water, and I enjoy flowing water (rivers and creeks) more than I enjoy still water (ponds and lakes). But I like being near any body of water, and my friend Ethan and I hike at Bryan Park regularly. A nice creek flows through it and it has some beautiful ponds. Yesterday we took a long hike through the park and just as we got to the car we spotted a great blue heron wading around in the mud. We sat on a bench and it stood still while we practiced taking a few pictures. It certainly appears to be paying close attention:
Anyway. I hope your early spring (and final week of winter) is enjoyable. Have a great day,
Wait – this just in – I was going through other pictures and found a chickadee photograph I took at Pony Pasture. It’s a non-traditional chickadee picture. They’re at their most distinctive from the side, where their black and white heads stand out clearly. And there are branches in the way here – the bane of wildlife photographers, I’m learning. But it’s still cute. And I like the blue-sky background:
Also (why not) I have yet another bufflehead picture. I took one at Bryan Park yesterday, but this little flock was bobbing on the river last week. I thought they’d have headed for their summer grounds by now but they’re still out in large numbers: