Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring is here!

Yesterday was absolutely beautiful. The sun was bright, the sky was clear blue, and everywhere around are signs of life. The ornamental pear trees are in full bloom, and we have many streets lined with them in southeastern Virginia, like the picture. I remember riding the bus to junior high school, back in 19mrmphty-mumble, and how inspiring it would be when the pear trees would bloom along the boulevard my school was on.

There are buds on our cherry tree (I first typed "cheery tree," which is pretty accurate, too). In a couple more weeks, the dogwoods will bloom. I've always loved dogwoods, especially the ones that blossom in pale pink. The dogwood is both the state flower and the state tree for Virginia, and in early April, you can see why. In looking for a picture this morning, I found this legend about the dogwood, which is highly appropriate for the approaching weeks.

A few years ago, I was driving up to northern Virginia for a business meeting, and I stopped at a rest stop along the interstate. It was a warm but very blustery day, and as I walked back to my car, it looked like it was snowing, despite the sunny blue sky. The wind was whipping the blossoms from the cherry trees, and the petals blew around in the air. It was absolutely beautiful.

Most of all, I look forward to the azaleas blooming. Since they're a fairly attractive evergreen, and they grow like weeds here, April brings a riot of color from blooming azaleas - brick red, pale pink, orangey-pink, white. And, because I am a twisted soul, they make me laugh because of a hilarious interchange in the Steve Martin classic The Man With Two Brains. The doctor (Steve Martin) has brought his femme fatale wife (Kathleen Turner) home for the first time, and the gardener and housekeeper are waiting on the front step to greet them. She looks at them and says, "What are those assholes doing on the porch?" And he chuckles and says, "It's pronounced azaleas." So every spring, I drive past the gorgeous blooming azaleas, and think of this scene, and laugh. See? Twisted soul.

On Saturday, a little drama unfolded at my finch feeder. There was a pair of tufted titmice at the feeder, happily eating seed without having to compete with the grackles at the larger feeder. After about five minutes, a black-capped chickadee came over and started bitching at them. Seriously! He landed on the bar at the top of the feeder, and started complaining at them rather loudly. He flew at the titmice, so they flew away. The chickadee started to eat, but the titmice came back. There were a few more interchanges like this before the titmice gave up and went away, and the female chickadee came to eat with her mate. I thought it was funny.

Even better, on Sunday, I finally caught a glimpse of the cardinals I'd been hearing. The female was on the rail of our deck, right next to the larger bird feeder, and a few minutes later, I saw the male, in his red glory, on the some-kind-of-pine-looking tree in the back corner of the yard. (You see - I've trotted out the names of all the plants and birds that I know, and now the vastness of my ignorance has been revealed. Would you rather talk about statistical analysis? Sigh, I didn't think so.) On the topic of Virginia state things, the cardinal is our state bird, and they are so cool to watch. The males are fantastic, but I love the understated beauty of the females. It looks like they're nesting in our pine-looking trees again, which is just fine with me!

Just so you know... blogging may be light this week, as I'll be traveling to northern Virginia for business meetings. Or, I may be bored and unable to sleep in a strange room, so I may post bizarre things at 2am. Guess we'll have to see!