25 March, 2018 Cuernavaca, la eterna primavera
Cuernavaca is a place my Mom visited every year in Mexico. “La eterna primavera” means “the eternal Spring” in Spanish; it’s early Spring in Richmond and I saw three deer yesterday at Pony Pasture and another today. When I see a deer I tie up the dogs’ leashes and begin taking pictures. In case I lose sight of the deer, I just have to look where the dogs are looking:
As I mentioned last week, ospreys reappearing in Richmond is a sure sign of early Spring. My friend Sam and I were hiking at Brandermill earlier this week and we caught one of a pair of ospreys perched on the edge of the lake:
Sam and I saw squirrels near the same spot; I saw more at Pony Pasture this week. Here’s one from Pony Pasture:
I took a fifteen second video of the squirrel at Brandermill. Squirrels probably do this all the time, but in all these years I never knew. At around seven seconds into the video, the squirrel bends down and grasps the branch with its front paws and begins scraping its chin back and forth on the branch. I don’t know if it has an itch or crumbs on its jaw or why it does this. It is (in my opinion) an endearing gesture:
That osprey up there, by the way, is the only raptor I got this week – unless you count this indistinct female Red-tail preening herself near my house early Thursday afternoon. A male that I assume was her mate flew by about five minutes later but I didn’t have my camera:
There hasn’t been a great deal of raptor activity this week. Except for that picture, I’ve mostly seen male Red-tails this week, and only glimpses. The snow and messy weather made them harder to see this week, but my intuition says the females are primarily on the nests right now and the males are bringing food. I’m not sure if the eggs have hatched yet or what the precise timetable is in this area. But the action is slowly building.
It’s getting a bit warmer – but we’ll continue to have fires for a while. Mackey had taken up the coveted spot in front of the woodstove and Dash wanted it. The three of them quibble about who gets to lie there. But generally the first one on it gets to stay. Dash is testing hat theory:
Robins here in the mid-Atlantic region are always associated with Spring, but you could take a picture of a robin in Richmond 365 days a year and probably not even leave your yard. But it seems like this time of year, for every robin you would normally see, you see ten. They are everywhere. It’s Sunday evening (March 25, 2018) as I type this sentence, it’s 7:30 PM, and I can hear robins twittering outside my window as I type. I’m told it’s mostly males at the moment. It’s difficult to distinguish gender in robins. Unless you see one lay an egg. This one was from Deep Run on Friday. This non-typical posture I’m sure is significant but I don’t know what it signifies:
I was driving Friday afternoon beside a swampy little spot near Cheswick Park known as Shaaf Pond (there is no pond in evidence); one vulture was picking apart the remains of an animal beside the road – possibly a young deer. This vulture was waiting its turn or keeping a lookout – it wasn’t eating while the other one was, at any rate. This is high mating season though, so this may have had courtship implications:
This first part of the blog came to a sudden halt; my thinking wasn’t as linear as it needs to be. So to end this first part I’m including a daffodil Ev cut from our yard. Dad’s favorite color in the center, surrounded by Mom’s favorite color:
And since I’m on the subject of closing a not-very-colorful blog post with a bit more color, here is a pair of bluebirds from yesterday:
And have a great week! And come back next week! The first Sunday in April! Easter! All best,
My old Cuernavaca shirts are wearing out. “La eterna primavera” is Spanish for “Eternal Spring.” Mom used to bring them home from Cuernavaca every year. It’s likely I would have never heard of Cuernavaca if I hadn’t been raised by Mom and Dad. We’re wrapping up Mom’s estate now, thanks to both the hard work and easygoing natures of my two brothers and two sisters. It was a shock when Dad died in late 2012, but after a year or so of grieving, Mom remained very much herself. As we all did. It’s been about fifteen months since Mom died – as suddenly and with as little fanfare as Dad did four years earlier. Grief ebbs and flows (in my experience) and at this point I go for long periods without thinking about what life was like when they were around. But I took those shirts out of the wash not long ago and watched the way they disintegrate a bit each year. They remind me of the experience of loss I feel about Mom and Dad. Those shirts have a finite life though – they’ll be 100% out of my life in another year or two. Fortunately the experience of being Mom and Dad’s son is my very literal DNA and it’ll outlast all of my clothing.
I was checking through emails and found this one from Mom in July of 2012. She was in Cuernavaca when she sent it: [[Hi, Jay, Yesterday Shane found Claudia’s email address […] Evelyn would be interested, I think. This is the first time I’ve googled. Love, Mom]] “This is the first time I’ve googled.” I’m smiling when I read that. She gloated regularly about her computer illiteracy – she took more than a little bit of pride in it – but after Dad died, she thought e-mail was the greatest thing since sliced bread. She never met a stranger.
A high school friend of my Mom’s wrote in the guest book from Mom’s memorial service “Rarely have I known anyone as energetic or enthusiastic as she was!” “Energetic and enthusiastic” – I’m grateful that’s in my DNA. “La eterna primavera” – I can see why Mom was drawn to Cuernavaca.
I looked back through old blog posts before writing this; I’ve already used this story three times, all in relation to Dad. But I’m relating it for a fourth time here, in relation to Mom. Her father James or “Jimmy” died in 1979 or 1980, early in my ill-fated first career at VCU. I was talking to one of his old-guy buddies at the funeral and the guy said – I can still hear this – “We’ll miss old Jimmy, darn his hide.” It was such a warm, sweet, honest, little-old-guy thing to say. It was so sincere. I still miss old Jude, darn her hide.