Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Three Things

[July 22nd]

So, the day before yesterday I saw a hummingbird drinking nectar out of catnip blossoms. I'd moved the indoors plants out onto the table on the balcony to take advantage of the summer sunshine, and later I happened to look out the window while doing dishes and there it was. Since the catnip stalks are tall (between one and two feet, I'd say) and flexible, when the hummingbird licked it pushed that stalk away, and the bird followed, only to have the stalk bend back when it'd gone too far. So the tiny little bird and the catnip swayed back and forth as it worked its way through the stalks, one by one. Quite the sight.

Then yesterday while waiting for Janice to get off work I saw a crow eating a banana. Someone had thrown down an old black banana peel in the far corner of the parking lot, and this crow was working on it, pulling off bite-sized pieces of banana and eating them one by one with great satisfaction -- so much so that he ignored a few peanuts I offered him. Clearly a crow who goes his own way. But then one crow who frequents that parking lot and can see me coming a mile off is the only crow I've ever know who's figured out how to solve the three-peanut problem.

And now today I noticed for the first time that the little mimosa tree in the yard has the first beginnings of what will eventually be a little pink blossom. I've raised this little tree from a seed (thanks, Jennifer!) and nurtured it through for about five years now, initially in a series of ever-increasing pots indoors until I finally took the plunge and planting it in the yard last year. To my great relief, it survived the winter and seems to be flourishing. Here's hoping that long may it thrive.

--John R.

Update, W. July 29th
This post was drafted before we left for a few days' vacation on Whidbey Island, so I can now add to the list above having recently seen a harbor seal (from a distance), harbor porpoises (from a boat at Deception Pass), guillemots a plenty, a cormorant, a bald eagle (the first I've seen in a long time who wasn't being harassed by crows), and a kingfisher (who came and went repeatedly from a dock we could see during dinner our last night on the island.

And of course having the chance to pet a marvelously friendly cat named Broadway Billie at The Kingfisher, a fine little bookstore in Coupeville: a pot-bellied little cat who purred so aggressively that you could hear her five feet away. In the words of Professor Higgins, 'How delightful!'

--John R.

current reading: Tom Shippey's piece on Screwtape and Verbicide in TRUTHS BREATHED THROUGH SILVER, ed. Jonathan Hime [2008]

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