Lines Written in Early Spring

The late afternoons are so beautiful now.  I sit outside on my chaise lounge, dilatorily reading the newspaper, as the birds chirp around me.  A pyrrhuloxia at the top of a nearby mesquite.  I watch and try to find words to describe his vocalization.  Twit twit twit twit twit twat twat.  Can’t do it.  The quail won’t peck at the fallen seeds under the feeder; I’m too close.  But the finches are comfortable with me and flitter and feed.  They fight for position; they’re almost as territorial as hummingbirds, who can be quite nasty.  Haven’t seen any curved-bill thrashers, which used to nest in the cholla right next to my garage in the Foothills.  (When one chick fell out of the nest, the mom watched as I replaced it.)  Haven’t seen any phainopeplas either, which I used to see all of the time at the house next door.  There is a gray bird hanging around that I haven’t identified.  Maybe I can take its picture.  Has a crown kinda like a gray flycatcher.  Haven’t gotten close enough to see if the “basal two-thirds of the lower mandible is yellowish”.  Also must check the length of its tail.

When I was in elementary school I joined the Audubon Society.  I loved birding.  But when I found out that Audubon killed the birds in order to paint them, I quit, never to join again.

My cat rolls herself in the dirt.  Why does she do that?  To disguise her scent?  Before she goes into the house I always have to wipe her down.  Three rabbits have appeared in the yard.  (Most of my friends would not applaud that.)  Perhaps they have become emboldened by the lack of bobcats; I haven’t seen them in weeks.  Possibly the bobcats are searching for a warren not yet depleted.

But as soon as the sun retreats, a cool waft of air flows down the wash and in my T-shirt, shorts and sandals, I retreat inside for my sweat suit.  My daughter and family just returned from the Grand Canyon with visiting relatives.  There was still snow there.  With our temperatures in the mid 70’s I have a hard time wrapping my mind around Arizona snow and blizzards in Tulsa.

Last Tuesday varied, however.  I was at the UMC Travel Clinic getting a prescription for malaria pills for the Amazon (although for 14 years my friends have not taken any and have never had problems; a coworker had contracted malaria during the War in Vietnam and from his description, I don’t want to take a chance) and because of the signs, stopped to donate blood.  By the time I walked outside the cumulus clouds had retreated to the mountains, leaving their fractonimbus sister weeping over the city.  It was just a drizzle, but I was wet by the time I reached my car, and my sandaled feet were very cold.

I have gotten back into yard work.  Want to finish my projects before I leave for my trip in two weeks.  Am planting Texas rangers that had volunteered in my swale; I dug them up and put them in pots last spring and a few are doing well.  The red worms are chewing up my compost, although the twigs take longer.  They are very sexy worms; there must be 10 times as many as I bought last spring, and I often find them in clutches, having group sex?  I sift them and the twigs out and put them back in the pile before using the compost in my plantings.

When I moved the steps to my Jacuzzi deck I had trimmed the myoporum (seen around the bobcat in the photo above) and put the cuttings in a bucket of water.  They rooted so fast!  So I’m circling the deck with them.  There are enough old drip lines, I just have to connect them.  My transplanted deer grasses are not doing so well; guess I need to buy a couple of new ones.  Missed the Desert Survivors (  the Native Plant Nursery  provides employment for adults with disabilities) plant sale two weeks ago; meant to go after my shift at the Book Fair, but as they needed more volunteers for the final shift, I said ok and missed the sale.  I trimmed the dead branches off the lantana in my front yard, but those in the back yard have been gnawed to the nub.  Yet even the light yellow lantanas are budding!  The guy at the nursery scoffed at my planting them four feet apart.  Said they grew like weeds and I only needed half as many.  Perhaps in the city, without my nibblers.

Lines Written In Early Spring by William Wordsworth.

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure: —
But the least motion which they made,
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

2 Responses to “Lines Written in Early Spring”

  1. Lynn Shore Says:

    Can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading your musings!
    Have a great trip to the Amazon. Hope you can blog from there

  2. James Says:

    I once tried planting the niger thistle seed for the golfinches, but none of it germinated. I the they are somehow steriled, to prevent them from spreading.
    Abe asked me for your flight number and time of arrival, so that he can be there to meet you at the airport, and take you to La Pascana.
    Bobcats need a range of many square miles to get enough to eat. We rarely see the pair that includes us in their territory.
    Our brown thrashers are setting up territories right now. They spar with their images in the study window.
    “The Army has dropped Lariam — the drug linked to side effects including suicidal tendencies, anxiety, aggression and paranoia — as its preferred protection against malaria because doctors had inadvertently prescribed it to people who should not take it.” No one where we are going takes this systemic poison; and we have never heard of anyone who has had malaria.

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