Green Herons: Backyard Entertainment!

Green Heron chick

Green Heron chick

This summer I have new neighbors. A Green Heron family. I glimpsed one of the parents weeks ago thinking it was a duck trying to land in our trees. All I really got a good look at was long yellowish/orange legs which belonged on some kind of water bird. And I knew it was about the size of a small duck. I wasn’t even sure ducks nested in trees but found out that some do. Later that week I saw two of them flying overhead.

 
I kept trying to get to get a good enough view to figure out what it was. A week or two later, I finally got a better look and heard them. From those clues I figured out that they were Green Herons.
Earlier this week I saw a couple of young ones trying to get around from branch to branch in the trees. They are awkward looking and not very coordinated but fun to watch. I finally got some pictures.
Two days ago one of the babies was walking in my backyard. It had a little less fuzz and more grown up feathers.

Exploring the backyard

Exploring the backyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also noticed that the two chicks like to perch near each other in the sun in the mornings while they give themselves a good grooming.

Siblings

Siblings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, both chicks were walking around in the backyard. 

 

Both exploring the ground.

Both exploring the ground.

I imagine they will be flying away for good soon but it has been a lot of fun to watch them.

Harry Potter, Again?

 

Harry Potter Books

Harry Potter Books

 

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling holds a special place in my heart.

I first met Harry when my daughter introduced me to the first book when it came out. She and I read the book together and fell in love with the new wizarding world of modern day Harry Potter. She was enchanted because she was the same age as the character of Harry Potter and grew up with him. I was enchanted with the detailed original world and characters I was reading about.

Later, when I worked at a bookstore, I got to experience being a part of the midnight release parties. I was in charge of the trivia contests we had. Being a part of the excitement was amazing. I would buy two copies of each new book so that my daughter and I could stay up all night reading them together. We couldn’t wait to see what happened next!

By the time the last book was being released, I held discussion groups in the months leading up to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The anticipation of how the series would end filled every fan with mixed feelings. We couldn’t wait to see how it ended but we dreaded that it would all be over. During these groups, we poured over every detail, tried to outdo each other in the trivia games and guess what would happen in the last book. I was amazed at the range of ages at these groups. Yes, it was mostly kids that but these books were enjoyed by people of all ages. Looking around and watching parents and grandparents discussing these books with their children, teens and grandchildren was awesome. How often does this kind of thing happen these days?

Why am I bringing this up now? Because recently I have enjoyed rediscovering the fun, wonder and good writing of these books. I work in a library now and am hosting two discussion groups about the Harry Potter books as part of the Summer Reading program. Last week was the first of the two groups and we discussed books 1-4.

Once again, I was sitting with a group of people ranging in age from a six-year-old to a couple of grandparents! The magic is still happening! It was wonderful hearing what parts of the story were their favorites, what parts made them laugh and what parts made them cry. Once again I am amazed at how much fun everyone has in trying to answer trivia questions or talking about what they would do if they had an Invisibility Cloak or the Marauder’s Map. How much they dislike Dolores Umbridge or how much they love Hagrid, Dobby and Luna Lovegood.

I was afraid it would be old and I would have to force myself to get through it all. I’ve had that happen with other books when I’ve reread them after time has passed. What a wonderful, and yes, magical surprise to find out that these books are just as good, ten years or so later!

From time to time I have reviewed books and written about authors in this blog and since I am fully immersed in the world of Hogwarts and all things Harry Potter once again, I felt it was time to share the fun with you.

I know it’s easy to let all the media hype steer you away from the massive icon Harry Potter has become but maybe you should give the books a try? If you do, I would love to hear what you think.

In the meantime, I am brushing up on my trivia knowledge from books 5-7!

Sunday Reflection

sun-rays-through-the-clouds-105111

 

Isn’t going to church
meant to contemplate
how I’m doing
on my spiritual journey?

Isn’t sitting on my porch
taking the time to reflect
on the gifts of my life
the same thing?

In church I listen to the
voice of the preacher
surrounded by people who
have the same beliefs.

Sitting in meditation
I listen to my inner voice
surrounded and embraced
by all of Spirit.

Isn’t it all the same?

The Privy Lady

As you may have noticed, I love going to Renaissance Faires. One of the many reasons I love to go is because I see creative excellence when I’m there. This is a quality that I feel is lacking in society as a whole and when we see it or experience it first hand we realize how amazing it is to see someone take something simple and make it magical.

My magical experience this past weekend was in seeing the Privy Lady again. This is a woman who has been working in the privy, (bathroom for those of you unfamiliar with this term) for years. Most of us, myself included would assume this to be one of the most menial of jobs. But this Lady, and she deserves this title, has made this job amazing!

First of all, the privy is her realm and she has taken it upon herself to make her realm as pleasant an experience as possible. Her realm could be a confusing and complicated place, but no! She dresses in accordance to the time period and makes it her duty to greet each guest as they arrive with a sincere ‘good day, my Lady’. When a line forms, she makes sure that each woman knows exactly which stalls are open keeping the line moving efficiently. She chats pleasantly with those waiting. She watches out for children or anyone needing assistance and helps without being asked. She constantly cleans and stocks her kingdom making sure there are plenty of supplies for all of your needs. There are always pleasant smelling candles burning and hand lotions available. She even has a basket of candy waiting on the way out.

It is the details and her cheerfulness that make going to her privy a pleasant experience. During the Halloween weekends, I have seen her in full costume as a helpful witch. Her skin green with her face and eyes full of smiles. She wears a belt of rope and rolls of toilet paper. She cackles merrily. Her realm decorated for the season.

How many of us have jobs that lack in creativity? How many of us go through our day without enthusiasm? How many of us just do what we have to do to get the job done?

Not this woman! She has taken a job that could be terribly demoralizing and draining and made it a creative and joyful experience. She sincerely enjoys the women who pass through her realm making each and every one of us feel special.

I find this incredibly inspiring. It makes me wonder how I can improve the ways I do things. It shows me that simple little things can make a world of difference. I find myself wondering how I can make somebody’s day just a little brighter.

What a gift this woman has. I bow in respect to magic of the Privy Lady.

May Be Continued: Tiny Efforts

Thirsty FinchThis is the time of the year when there is so much to get done in the yard that I’m not sure where to start. Today I decided to get the birdbath set up for the season.

I have an old concrete or cement birdbath that was given to me years ago, so it’s very heavy. I carried it to the back yard, set the bowl of it on the grass and began to spray water into it to rinse it out so it’s nice and clean. Within seconds of the water hitting it, I saw and heard birds chirping and flying around the yard. They love the sound of water!

It took me a little while to get the base level. I had to fill the bowl a bit and see how level it was, adjust the base and add more water and so on. Once it was level, I filled it to the brim and wondered how long it would take for the first bird to show up.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that as soon as my porch door shut, a purple finch landed and took a good long drink!

My Being today is to see how many tiny efforts I can accomplish after I take a few moments to look around where I am right now and see what can be done. Whether it will be picking up some trash the wind blew into a bush or giving the birds some fresh water to drink it’s all good.

We hear so much about how we are hurting the environment and nature that it makes me smile to know that at least on my tiny spot of the Earth, I have made a few creatures happy. (As I write this post, I am watching a few robins taking turns splashing around in the fresh water. Okay, so maybe they are chasing each other away but they are all getting to use the birdbath!)

Maybe we aren’t all bad. In fact I believe that we can all do tiny things to make this a better planet and that it makes a difference.

 

May Be

Rainbow

After the flooding, torrential rain we got on Wednesday, May Day was a beautiful gift. The sun came out and the temperatures rose into the 70’s.

There is something cleansing and rejuvenating about that kind of rain and the strong sunshine of Spring.

After work I was able to spend a little time outside. I took my old dog, Shadow, out with me and even she got a burst of energy. She happily sniffed and trotted her way around the yard. Despite being almost fourteen, she had a little puppy energy.

This was the first time this year that I could wear my sandals and I couldn’t resist taking them off and enjoying the feel of the grass under my feet. This is something everyone should do from time to time. Either go barefoot or just sitting on soft grass is wonderful!

I decided to do a little weeding and enjoyed the feel and smell of the awakening soil. Soon dark clouds arrived and we had to go inside but it was a short downpour and the sun came out again.

There was a rainbow! I think these are always a miracle in the sky. The raindrops were literally sparkling like jewels in the sun and shimmering on the trees.

Then my best gift of the day arrived at the back fence where the bleeding hearts (dicentra) had just bloomed; a hummingbird flitted from flower to flower. I love hummingbirds and I think this is one of the earliest I’ve seen one here.

If I hadn’t taken the time to enjoy the moment yesterday, I would have missed all of these wonderful things.

The month of May is full of life here and one of the most beautiful times of the year.

I think I will make the month of May a time of Being. Just a moment or two to find something to admire in the world around me.

Maybe this will make me appreciate the gift of life even on the hard days.

Would anyone else like to try this?

May Be?