Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Weather on Parade

The Weather on Parade

It was almost time for the parade to begin this Memorial Day. The roads entering town were closed to traffic Children sat on the curb eager for the fun to start. Their parents lined the sidewalks in folding chairs, chatting with their neighbors. We were all staring down the main street in anticipation. But it was hard to wait, even for the dog who came along for the event. He sighed and finally laid down. We heard some preparatory notes from a trumpet. Then, at last, the parade started.

There was the town marching band, lots of fire trucks and rescue vehicles, girl scout and boy scout troops tossing candy to the kids at the curb. We clapped for the veterans, the local politicians, and the Farm Fair Queen. Mother Nature lent a hand for the parade with beautiful weather. It was warm and sunny, perfect conditions that added to the joy of the day. The dog seemed to sense the excitement, too. He walked back and forth, accepting petting from the viewers as if he were a prominent part of the festivities.

The weather was as important as the participants to the spirit of the parade. Weather conditions affect our attitudes and influence our mood. Fortunately, sunny weather tends to bring out the friendliness in us so it was no surprise that I could talk to the woman next to me even though I didn’t know who she was, and I was handed a red and white carnation from a young woman who was walking by. The crowd was upbeat, reflecting the energy of the weather.  

The display of vintage cars brought back eras of old, with their shiny tail fins and oo-gah horns. What fun it all was. Too soon the parade was over and the streets turned back into ordinary thoroughfares again. The dog, wagging his tail happily, came over for a goodbye pat before we all went on our way.

I was feeling wonderful as I walked back to our car. What a day. Not a cloud in the sky hinted of rain. Perhaps if we know how weather affects us, we can be prepared for the sway it has on us. And make the most of a sunny day. 

This link is technically for kids but it has so much weather information, I couldn’t resist sharing it:
How does a sunny day affect us?:
And what about other weather patterns?:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Osprey Day!

Happy Osprey Day!

On Mother’s Day, we took a trip to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey. This is the kind of gift I love, to be out in natural settings, observing animals and birds in their native habitats.

One particular thing I observed that day was the scattering of osprey nests through the refuge. In the wild, the male osprey gathers the makings of the outside of the nest - twigs, sticks and branches - and the female lines it with grass, sod, vines, and sometimes found materials. They like to build their nests in open spaces, usually near a water source as they tend to eat fish exclusively, leading to their description as fish hawks. The problem is that ospreys may build nests on man-made structures such as telephone poles, utility poles, buildings, and other open spaces, which can pose a hazard for the birds. This was not the only hazard. Ospreys became endangered as a result of DDT spraying, before the chemical was banned in 1972. They have recently been rebounding, partly due to the support of wildlife and conservation organizations. They often construct platforms for ospreys to nest on, in protected areas out of harm’s way.

This day, we saw lots of ospreys perching alongside the nests. I wondered if they were the males or females as both tend to the nestlings. On this special day, I chose to imagine they were the mother birds, watching over their babies. Mothers, regardless of category, have much in common. I sent them silent messages of appreciation and understanding; raising youngsters is an all-consuming job (Can you see the baby in the nest?). I was glad that the adults were being cared for, too, by the wildlife conservation community. We need to support each other. It is cause for celebration when we can say that a species is reclaiming its right to exist.

Happy Osprey Day!

Get a feeling about ospreys:

Lots of photos of ospreys at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge:


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Lilac Presence

The Lilac Presence

Purple is a color that cannot be ignored. At least not in nature. I see purple tulips in people’s yards, purple buds on flowering plum trees, purple outlining pansies. It is a dramatic color. And nothing is more dramatic in my Spring garden than the lilac bush. It insists I pay attention to it. It has an intense presence that calls me to come and admire it. And admire it I do, knowing that this will only last two to three weeks before the blossoms fall and all I will see will be green leaves.

But lilacs are just as famous for their scent as their color. The early buds are tight, withholding their smell until the flowers open. Then they release their heady fragrance, filling the air like the perfume sprayers at department stores. It is an imitated scent in perfumes, candles, oils.

Yet, as with most things, lilacs vary. The deep purple is only one of its shades. They can be lighter purple, pinkish, sky blue, sometimes yellow or white. And the scent varies depending upon the stage of blossoming, the time of day, and the kind of lilac; there are dozens of varieties that can smell sweet or spicy, cloying or calming. The lilac is a harbinger of Spring and also symbolizes first love.

It isn’t necessary to analyze the lilac to value it though. Each type can be appreciated for its own individuality. It kind of reminds me of babies; they all belong to a specific category, that of baby, but each one immediately exhibits its own personality, preferences, and energy, and every child has a presence from the moment of her/his birth. I find it refreshing that no two of anything is exactly alike – not people, not birds, not animals, not flowers, not even lilacs.

What to know if you want to plant lilacs:

And more about lilacs: