Category Archives: Nature

The Birdie Fashion Show

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I had a front row seat last week
for the Birdie Fashion Show.
I waited for the fun to start
with bated breath held low.

The robins all around me
hopping to their seats.
They chirped and bobbed and glanced 
about to see the new Spring treats.
                                                                          
As the sun, a spotlight true,
burst onto the darkened spot,
A cardinal fluttered down he flew,
his feathers fluffed, a deep red hue.

That was not enough, you see,
he turned this way and that,
And then he raised his royal crest
to show his wondrous hat!

Next came the little lady, 
her garb so brown and muted,
She swirled and twirled so all could see- 
her style was not disputed.

Again, the bold and dashing male
come to strut his stuff.
He took the stage, his feathers spread,
he was so sleek and daring. 

His mate, so shy, was not about
to be outdone by this display,
She alighted on the iron bar and tipped her head to say, 
"My crest is just as elegant, as his on any day!"
                                            
Alas, the little birdies had to flit away,
and all around the cheers were heard for those who had to go.
With heavy hearts, we turned away,
with hope again, next Spring to see, the Birdie Fashion Show.
                                   ©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved

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This is an image from the internet, labeled for use with modification.  

The idea for this poem came to me last week as I looked up from my work in my new office (my kitchen table). A male cardinal alighted on the back of my wrought iron porch chair and showed off for me. On the rim of a clay pot, his mate awaited her turn. She and the male took turns, on right after the other, landing on the chair and having their own private fashion show. I was not fast enough with my camera…

Bad Hair Day

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Peeking out of my window, a faithful friend beckoned me.
“Come visit today," she seemed to say.
So reaching and grabbing my jacket so dusty,
Gaily, I waved and went slipping away.

Enjoying the company one of the other, 
“Oh, help me, please,”  silent eyes did plead.
So pitiful her imploring was, I scarcely could recover,
I decided right then, I could help my friend, help her to be freed.

Touching her fingers to wild, messy tresses,
“Could you, would you, help me please?
So tangled and matted and tattered and knotted," Oh, how she stresses!
I’ll do my best to fix this mess, I answered with unease.   

Running to go, to grab what's needed,
“Don’t be long,” she exclaimed and pleaded.
So knowing how quickly I’d return, her words I never heeded. 
I found the things so very quick, my task was soon competed.

Beginning to comb, this way and that, from every side and angle,
“Ouch! Be careful.  You're hurting me," she whimpered and did whine.
So gently I pulled, I pulled at the mats, I tugged at the tangles;
I snipped at the snags;  I combed at the locks 'til beauty did shine. 

Gathering dead and damaged hair,
“I'm feeling so much better,” the happy chorus refraining.
So I walked all around to inspect the repair,
I smiled to myself with my pride never waning.

Whistling cheerfully, strolling back home,
“Thank you, oh, thank you,” came floating along.
So I pondered how glorious my yard to behold,
and heard all the chirping, 
                 the rustling of leaves, 
                                   the joyful, the jubilant 
                                                         song of the spring.  

©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved





The comb...

Perched Upon a Split-Rail Fence

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Perched upon a split-rail fence,                                                    

American_Robin_2006

American Robin

The gray-brown bird with rusty breast

Glances left, glances right,

His beady eyes, inky night.

 

“Trill-ill-ill,” the song he sings,

A friendly sound to welcome Spring.

Tail feathers spread, a fragile fan

Work up and down like a dutiful flagman.

 

His act repeats with joyful glee.

“Trill-ill-ill,” the merry melody rings he,

The gray-brown bird with rusty breast

Perched upon a split-rail fence.

 

©B. Donaldson, 2018. All rights reserved

April Fool’s Easter

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This year Ash Wednesday occurred on Valentine’s Day and Easter on April Fool’s Day.  That seems unusual to me, but it also got me thinking…

 

On Easter, when usually sunshine and daffodils and baby chicks come to mind, Mother Nature seemed to chuckle as she slyly planned her own April Fool’s trickery.  Sitting on my porch, a large, low container of pansies welcomed one and all to our home. Their immense faces cheerfully flirted with the breeze, teased the frollicking clouds, and chatted with the neighborly sparrows. Mother Nature looked the other way, feeling a more and more out of sorts, feeling more and more grouchy at being left out of the Springtime cheer.  So out of sorts was she that she abandoned her naturally sunny disposition, feeling not in the least generous or gracious.

 

So, as Easter approached, Mother Nature decided the time was right for her little “joke”.  She spied the pansies with their joyful exuberance of the coming celebration. She noticed the golden forsythia wreath on the ruby red door.  “No, no, no,” she thought. “If I’m not happy, ain’t nobody going to be happy.” So with premeditated purpose, instead of whisking in fair winds and warm sunshine, she decided play her joke. On Easter Eve, she invited Old Man Winter for a little visit.  His blustery breath sent a freezing chill over the land. His late visit frosted the happy pansies. Their heads now drooped in frozen death, no longer having strength to greet the morn. Easter-goers who, in cheerful anticipation of a glorious day, stepped out upon the porch  They clutched their coats tighter, pulled on their woolen mittens, and stared at the sad, sad pansies. Snowflakes swirled as Mother Nature laughed.

A Recipe for Spring

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I used “Recipe for Writing a Spring Poem,” by Georgia Heard from Falling Down the Page as a mentor poem.

 

One teaspoon gentle breezes,

One tablespoon golden sunshine,

A pinch of Old North Wind.

 

One teaspoon chirping robins,

One tablespoon crocus blooming,

One dash of snowy flurries.

 

One teaspoon cloudless skies,

One tablespoon longer days,

One splash of April showers.

 

One cup childhood laughter,

One pint smiling faces,

One gallon of May flowers.

 

Oh, yes, a recipe for Spring!

 

©B. Donaldson, 2018. All rights reserved

The First Bike Ride of the Season

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Yesterday, the day, fresh and warm and gorgeous, beckoned me,  “Come play!”

I answered.  My bike, with flattened tires and dusty body, sat stoically behind winter storage-the wicker chairs and pillows, the planter, the shovel, and an assortment of other items.  Ugh!

Determinedly, wiggling this item, moving that item, scooching the other thing, I managed to roll out my royal blue Peugeot.  It’s like an old friend; we know one other well The seat is comfy; the handlebars are adjusted just right; and the frame is perfect for 5’3” me.  I wonder where that pump could be? Usually, my husband and I ride over the rolling hills along the bike trail to a lakeside deli that overlooks a marina together, but today, my husband is working.  I think I can do this by myself this time.  After wasting a good bit of time looking for the elusive pump, I decided to call my husband’s work.

“Do you know where the pump is?” I asked.

“Are you going on a bike ride?” he answered, somewhat disappointedly.  I knew he wished he was free to ride along.

“I know I’m out of shape so I thought I would just go on a little ride. Maybe 20 minutes or so.  Do you think it will be OK? Both the tires are flat, though,” I added. The last time I rode by myself, I got a flat tire and had to be rescued by the sag wagon.  The bike dealer had repaired the rim, noticing that there had been little metal shards that sliced the tire.

“I think if you go 20 minutes without any problems, you should be ok.  The pump is over to the left of the garbage cans. Have fun!” he added wistfully.

The yellow pump was shortly attached to my tires.  Pushing down easily and quickly at first, it became harder and harder until, at last,  I was using my entire body weight to force the air in. Reaching out with my right hand, I squeezed each tire hard.  Neither was mushy or soft. I’m good to go!  Quickly, I detached the pump and put it away.

Just to be sure I didn’t overdo my very first ride after a long winter’s biking hiatus, I set the stopwatch on my iPhone for 24 minutes.  Twenty-four minutes out, turn around, and come back home.. The return trip for me is traditionally a bit longer.  Max time about 45 or 50 minutes.  Just get my legs warmed up for the season.  

Click! My chin strap latched as I put on my helmet.  On slipped my gloves, first the left and then the right..  Right foot on right petal. I’m off.  Looking both ways, I navigate out the driveway onto the suburban road in front of our house.

The saying, “It’s like riding a bike,”  is so true. My bike and I start to fly along in perfect harmony, just as if my bike hadn’t been waiting patiently all winter long for me to come play.  The unseasonably warm day, 55 degrees to be exact, brought more than just me out. I think every two-legged creature alive was out walking, and many with their four-pawed friends. Couples with pouchies.  Moms with strollers. Parents with children. Joggers. Bikers. Scooterers.  Is that a word?  Oh, I don’t care.  The air was fresh and clean and it breathed new life into my winter-weary soul.  As I slowed to cross one road after another, I noticed I didn’t even have to stop.  No one was driving their cars! All werel out, like me, soaking up this seasonal medicine.

My alarm, annoyingly, started to ring, reminding me that I must turn around.  Seeing a little turn-around spot along the bike trail, about halfway down the hill  I”d been zooming down, I slowed my bike and sharply turned the handles. Time to head for home. 

The return trip was full of delights. Two cardinals-one a brownish female with just a hint of red and the other a male wearing his scarlet robes twittered a merry hello as I glided by.  Then, a pond slipped by, complete with a goose and her goslings swimming in an orderly line…like children following a teacher. Rabbits hopped from bush to bush; squirrels scampered here and there.  All were out-human and creature alike.

I slowed as I spotted a familiar gray house with its red door and inviting forsythia wreath..  Carefully, I steered into the driveway and came to a gently stop. Reaching behind me, I unzipped the pouch in my neon yellow windbreaker where my iPhone was ticking off the minutes.  I checked it. Twenty-eight minutes return trip. That figures!   A little pride puffs up inside me, I know pride goes before a fall, but I am happy with my accomplishment- this little goal for the day.  I can’t wait for the second ride of the season!

 

A River Runs

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River

The river outside my window is hurrying, scurrying by,

swirling and gurgling and bubbling,  

rushing on watery wings.

 

Onward toward its destination

without a thought or care

for passing shores or meadows green.  

 

Does it ever pause to think,

“Where is my final end?”

Does it ponder o’er and o’er,

“What’s the meaning of this race?”

 

Does it look to right or left

as on fleeting feet it flies?

Does it hear whispers

of rustling leaves on overhanging trees?

 

Does it attend the songbird’s call?

Or hear the lark or wren?

Does it in merry mirth reply,

or does it hasten on?

 

How fleeting this life!

How swift the years!

hurrying, hastening, scurrying on,

with nary a slack or pause or care.

 

Time flies on and on!