Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Wisdom of Damon's Mother, and the Arrival of the Painted Buntings

The very term implies you're keeping up: weblog. Ah, well.

We do the best we can, all of us. This is a core belief shared with me years ago by Damon's Mother. She said, more or less, that she'd come to this belief, almost because she had to: Everyone Is Doing The Best They Can, All The Time. I was younger back then, and more inclined to judgement. How can you say that?, I asked indignantly, because it was abundantly clear to me that everyone was NOT doing their best all the time. How could they be? Look aROUND you, I thought. Serenely (if anyone should be called "Her Serene Highness", it's Damon's Mother) she spoke her patient words and convinced me that people are operating with the tools they have, often under circumstances we cannot begin to see, or even guess at. They're doing the best they can. If it's not good enough, we have to decide for ourselves how to react to it. But they're doing the best they can. As I trust in the wisdom of Damon's Mother, I believe this now.

And so we continue to watch spring unfurl itself, a blossom that continues to open for days upon unimaginable days. Dear Lorie sent this photo a few days ago; these are the roseate spoonbills who arrive each spring to feast on tiny fairy shrimp and deepen the pinks and fuschias of their feathers. Lorie tells me there was a line of cars, pulled over to the side of the bridge, all trying to catch an image of these ridiculous, astonishing, beautiful birds. Thank you, Lorie! In case you've never seen one in person, they're bigger than you think and when you see them in flight, they're PINKer than you think.

Right on schedule, the elusive painted bunting arrived this year, this very day, around 4 in the afternoon. He came back several times, braving the cardinals, who are bigger than he is, the catbirds and jays, who are bolder and the red-breasted woodpecker, who seems to think the bird feeders are filled for his personal use. (Note that I use the masculine pronoun because birds are difficult to identify by gender with some notably colorful exceptions.) It's not a good photo, I know, but perched out on the far range of that badly trimmed begonia is a small bird with an indigo blue head, a red breast and body, whose back and shoulders are a shimmering green and gold. Like his very distant cousins the Roseate Spoonbills, Mr. Bunting is unlikely and surprising to us, although clearly evolved for excellent reasons of natural history. But he looks as though he'd been dipped in several paint cans. I promise better photos when Rodney moves his from his camera, and shots of Mrs. Bunting when she arrives. She is less gaudy but no less beautiful, her whole body being painted with the soft shimmering green-gold her husband carries on his shoulders. So are we blessed, these April evenings, doing the best we can, all the time.

Credits: Roseate Spoonbills @Lorie Hollar 2010


  1. Thank you, Angie, I've been missing you! Today I was working outside and heard the call which Mary Moon described, "You're sweet, you're sweet, you're sweet"!!!

    Love you, my friend:)

  2. What would we do without our birds? We are so fortunate to have them to bring us such sweet, small joys.

  3. I would love to see a flock of such large pink birds in flight. It must be amazing! I've seen flamingos, but never in flight.

  4. Lulu dear, how kind you are. Please read on to see how Suldog liked your rosies. Love you!
    Ms. Moon, this is SO true. We watch every year, do the bird count, mark them down in our little notebook, but no time is like springtime. Love!
    Suldog, you might laugh out loud at the closeup view, because they have such long, almost comical beaks with, well, spoons at the ends. But when they're airborne they are splendid to behold.


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