Backyard birding

Over the last nine days, I have, among other things:

■ followed the progress of the robin family that calls our forsythia bush, “Home”;
■ mowed the lawn three times (!!);
■ seen a play (Suddenly, Last Summer at the Raven);
■ visited the Lincoln Park Zoo;
■ prepared for and undergone one of those screenings doctors recommend for all of us fifty-plus folk;
■ potted a couple of new plants and repotted some older ones;
■ lost a battle against an unidentified and insistent weed in my back garden area;
■ seen a good movie (I, Tonya) and a good documentary (Jane);
■ caught up on the harrowing second season of The Handmaid’s Tale;
■ fretted about how little I have practiced my music; and
■ finished four books:

Sometimes I Lie (Alice Feeney; 2017. Fiction.)
Buried Child (Sam Shepherd; 1978. Drama.)
The Idealist (Justin Peters; 2016. Non-fiction.)
Behold the Dreamers (Imbolo Mbue; 2016. Fiction.)

For the commonplace book, from Act Two of Buried Child:

SHELLY: Can’t we just drive to New Mexico? This is terrible, Vince! I don’t want to stay here. In this house. I thought it was going to be turkey dinners and apple pie and all that kinda stuff.
VINCE: Well I hate to disappoint you!
SHELLY: I’m not disappointed! I’m fuckin’ terrified! I wanna’ go!

Birthday gifts

99E0F93D-8AD4-48DA-B63E-027A8D75B365In the week since I last posted, we have experienced temperatures ranging from the high twenties to the mid-seventies. Today, temps may reach eighty. Spring in northern Illinois is usually brief and not always beautiful, but this is one of the briefest and ugliest I’ve seen. Excessively dry, the ground has stingily offered wan blooms and pale grass. As if incredibly perplexed, the trees and bushes have budded with what can only be described as reluctance. It is 10 a.m. on May 1, and the thermometer in the shade already reads 71 degrees. If I am accorded an average life expectancy, I will see two dozen or so more springs. Is it wrong to wish that they were lush, flower-filled seasons colored daily by butter-yellow sunshine and clear, blue skies and fueled nightly by cool, gentle rains?

Regardless of spring’s length or appearance in any given year, it’s arrival coincides with the arrival of birthday gift cards from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and books make everything better. My haul this year is pictured above.

Post-eclipse

IMG_2499Before pouring my first mug of coffee this morning, I caught a glimpse of a female ruby-throated hummingbird visiting the hanging plants in the front yard. I had time to whisper, “Hummingbird!” twice, to alert my daughters, before she darted away. Ordinarily, the hummingbirds are attracted to the plant pictured above. It hangs near a window in the back of the house and appeals to many backyard visitors, including spicebush swallowtail butterflies.

Did you watch?
My youngest fashioned pinhole projectors from recyclables, and we safely viewed the phenomena between lunch and shopping. Yesterday’s errand list filled a page, but we didn’t want to miss the event. I had purchased glasses for all of us from Celestron but, erring on the side of (extreme) caution, we contented ourselves with “science in a cereal box.” Pretty cool.

Not so cool? How (very, very) swiftly the last fifteen weeks passed: My daughters are preparing for their return to university, and I am wondering how my heart can feel as if it is both bursting with proud excitement and breaking into ten thousand shards.