Sunday, February 23, 2020

This Time of Year

I took a walk this morning. The thermometer said 28F. The sun felt warm. These Lenten roses peeking out from under dry leaves say we are balanced between the seasons. 
There's ice on the creek, but it's supposed to be above 50 degrees this afternoon. The ice will disappear as the day unfolds. Click to enlarge.
Cherry blossoms are ready to pop.
I found one precocious forsythia blossom on a bush of otherwise tightly closed buds.
This is really coming along. I think it's a Cornelian cherry dogwood.
It's still cold out there, but things are happening. Everything's on course for spring.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Year of the Rat

Lots of unusual urban wildlife was on display last weekend in New York City for the Lunar New Year celebrations in Manhattan's Chinatown. 
There were lions.
And dragons.
But mainly there were rats! 
Lots of rats.
Rats everywhere.
These stuffed golden rats with lucky red money envelopes won my best-rats-of-the-day award. Click to enlarge.
More golden rats on sticks.
The rat is the first in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. I hear it got to be first by riding an ox to the contest and jumping off just at the last minute and rushing over the finish line. That put the ox in second place, so 2021 will be the Year of the Ox and we'll be seeing lots of them this time next year.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

More Winter Flowers

A bunch of purple crocuses pushed their heads up in my neighborhood this week. Nice to see them! I agree with Gertrude S. Wister, who once said: "The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size." 
And I agree with Anne Bradstreet, who said: "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant." Click on the photos to enlarge.
And I totally agree with Kathleen Norris, who said: "There seems to be so much more winter than we need this year." But doesn't that seem true by this time every year?

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Winter Flowers

Snowdrops are blooming! As if on cue, they're in time for Candlemas, a Christian feast that falls on February second. They have long been associated with the holiday, especially in their native Europe, so much so that one of their common names is Candlemas bells.    Click to enlarge.
In one of many folk stories about snowdrops, the spirits of Spring and Winter were fighting because Winter would not release the Earth from her hold. During an ensuing battle, Spring lost a drop of blood from which a snowdrop grew. Spring won. In flower language snowdrops symbolize hope, rebirth, and a promising future.
There are more signs of imminent spring than snowdrops out there. Here are some other spring bulbs reaching up. AND this morning the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil emerged during a snow shower and failed to see his shadow, thus predicting that winter will wrap up soon. This is quite the Sunday: Candlemas, Groundhog's Day, the Superbowl, and the cool palindromic date 02.02.2020.