The flowers haven’t bailed me out!

28 February, 2021 The flowers haven’t bailed me out! 

I keep hoping for a burst of color from the flowers but I’m getting ahead of myself. There are a handful of daffodils blooming – I’ll put one here – but no profusion yet. I keep hoping to have a colorful blog post full of shiny blooms but it’s still too early. And gloomy! It was gloomy when I photographed this handsome dude – see his wet feathers? – but I can’t look at a guy like this and think “gloomy”: 

I never feel blue when I look at a bluebird

That picture was from today – there has not been an ungloomy instant today in Richmond. There are at least two pair of bluebirds coming to my feeders – perhaps more. I saw two females at the same time Friday. Here is one of them: 

Female bluebird

This week I became aware of a course from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology called The Wonderful World of Owls. If you click on that link you get a free preview. The course was not free, but it had five lessons and twenty topics and they estimate three hours for completion. It has sixteen videos that are each around four or five minutes long. I learned a lot. Of course they had owls from all over the world, but owls are such an unusual group of birds, they share many similarities. One thing I learned is that owls mate for life and are monogamous, but they only stay together during breeding and nesting season. They live apart for the rest of the year. Since I took this picture on Thursday (2/25/2021) it must still be breeding season: 

Owl pair on a non-gloomy day

I stand corrected – by my own photography. It hasn’t been gloomy all week. Here are two pictures of the moon I took on Tuesday, 2/23/2021. The first one is from 5:16 PM 

Moon Tuesday at 5:16 PM

I have two apps that show moon data. Here is what they showed at that time:


Same day, 10:03 PM: 

Moon Tuesday at 10:03 PM:

I also stand corrected here – a flower at Pony Pasture did bail me out! It was far away in the woods but I got my lens on this daffodil, not far from where I often photograph deer: 

Daffodil glowing in the woods at Pony Pasture on Thursday, 2/25/2021

I also stand corrected here – this time re: gloominess. The bright red tail of this Red tailed hawk is in sharp contrast to the crisp blue February sky: 

Red tailed hawks are well named:

Here’s a picture of Dash on a chair in the living room Thursday morning: 

Dash is living right, and that’s all there is to it

I got a quick glimpse of a brown-headed nuthatch yesterday – a favorite songbird since I only became aware of its existence in the last year or so:

Brown headed nuthatch, what a treasure:

And a chickadee the day before: 


Well, let me close of course with Mackey and Turner at the river Thursday. And have a great week!: 

They smile more when we walk:

All best, 


Stop the presses! There are, of course, no presses. But I’d considered an idea earlier then thrown it out then now (at 8:45 PM) decided to include it.

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It’s a pleasant sentiment, but if you live a while and get close to some people, you’ll learn there are days when this idea is trite. If I’m just being whiny, I just need to get over it. At this point in my life, more often than not, I can keep choosing joy every day. Sometimes you just can’t. Fortunately, human beings are mind-bogglingly resilient, and when we’re mentally healthy, we can choose joy again – evolution has selected us for it.

That quote appeared in my photos – I don’t know how it ended up in there, in the middle of all the dogs and river and receipts and flowers and birds and all that. But there it was. I must have done a screen shot.

I hadn’t thought of Henri Nouwen in years – possibly decades. But I was swamped with anger in the early years after my accident – you’d hardly even have recognized me – and I was grabbing every life ring that came along. I’d write it down if I thought it would help me keep my head above water. I handle most emotions pretty well, even negative ones, but I really, really, really do not do well with anger. I don’t know how I came across this – I just remember almost palpable relief – a physical sensation – when I read this. From my journal, around 1995:

“Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly.  The hard truth is that all of us love poorly.  We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour —  unceasingly.  That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”  – Henri Nouwen 

I didn’t plan this section – I conceived and wrote it from the first = = = = = to the last = = = = = practically without looking up from my computer. It came to mind. I’m looking forward to March! All best,


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About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
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