Sunday, June 26, 2011

Back yard drama

I have a contract with the universe to care for the birds in my corner of the world.  I live in the end unit of a condo block, and the back yard is surrounded by a fence and a high, thick hedge.  There are also some big dense trees.  In the winter I put out a bird feeder and in the summer a bird bath.  It's  a perfect place for small birds - robins, sparrow, chickadees, finches, nuthatches.  The bigger birds like magpies and crows don't come in much because it's small.  The sparrows build nests under the hedge and the robins in the spruce tree.  There are plenty of fat worms in the garden for food.The pets are all well-fed and belled.
This year, a baby robin fell out of the nest before it was able to fly.  It flopped and hopped in the long grass.  The parents were, we think, trying to build a nest on the ground to protect the little one.  My tabby cat, Holly, walked out on the deck and sat down to survey her kingdom as usual.  The robins began to screech and dive bomb  her.  She crouched down and backed up to the door, wondering, I'm sure, how she lost her position as supreme ruler of the back yard.  We put her inside and the birds calmed down.  But the crows and magpie got word that there was a tender morsel available and they came in, once more causing the parents to go into safety mode.  That little robin went  right after that big crow and chased it away.  I flapped the rug at the rest and they flew off.  Eventually the new nest was ready, predators were averted, and they herded the little one into the bushes to safety.  A few days later the big robins spent lots of time in the birdbath, which is usually what they do once the little ones have found their wings and left the nest.  So I hope they all survived and left to start their own lives.  And Holly can reign supreme over the yard again.
Pen, ink. watercolor pencils in the little sketchbook

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Fresh Start

It's been  long, cold, sunless winter and its left me feeling discouraged and disheartened. It seemed that everything I attempted went wrong - colors smeared under a second layer of glaze, paper buckled unattractively and left ugly blotches, my wireless network was under relentless attack and so on.  I started many things and abandoned them.
One day on a routine mission to empty the garbage, I stood in a rare and unusual bit of sunshine (Ouch, what's that bright light?), and noticed the tulips blooming in the front.  I mean, I really noticed them.  I saw the voluptuous brashness of the yellow tulip, the graceful curves of the red one, the slender pointed petals of the purple ones, the tall straight stems, and the graceful leaves.  And I heard again that quiet, still voice that said "I could draw that".  And so I did, and determined to make a fresh start against the discouragement.  Start with what I've always loved to draw - flowers, birds, nature. Maybe with that simple start, my soul can stand as straight and bloom as bright.