Mutual Benefits

First snow of the year

The first snow arrived, followed by below freezing temperatures. Fortunately, I don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which makes life for those afflicted a huge challenge, especially if they reside in temperate zones where four seasons are the norm. I’m not a big fan of either extreme heat or cold but I’ve found ways to manage myself under those conditions. I’m probably more worried about ice than anything else the weather can toss at me. Getting older comes with potentially nasty results if you slip and crash to the cold ground. Honestly, falls become more risky no matter what the weather. Aging is more perilous than youth on every level, in every season.

Music goes a long way in buoying me through my days, hot or cold. When I’m outside I listen to streaming services. When I’m inside, I’ve got this great collection of CD’s, primitive though that may sound, along with the equipment to play them. Actually, they’re quite like streaming channels. Michael made me my own special playlists ages ago. I also have his collected house favorites, a set called the British Invasion and oldies from the ‘50’s through the ‘70’s. As he prepared to sell his massive music collection, he couldn’t stop himself from duplicating special albums. I could lock myself up for a year, playing music day and night, and never finish what’s available to me. Right now I’m resisting the impulse to include lists of my favorite songs, artists and concerts in this blog. Perhaps another time.

Summer and winter, front yard.

Aside from the stuff of daily life which for me includes chores, swimming, writing and spending time with family and friends, I am committed to doing my part in making my corner of the world a better place. Over the years, as climate change has accelerated to become the existential threat of our current era, I’ve evolved from the greenless-apartment-dweller who found a yard, into the gardener-developing-a-habitat-for-threatened-pollinators person. When I first began to muck around in the dirt I had no idea that I was making that kind of commitment. But I’m really happy to have found a way to make at least a small difference in our challenging world. Being visited by a wide variety of creatures who fly, crawl or roam into my garden is as good for me as it is for them. We’re experiencing mutual benefits. They find physical sanctuary, at least for awhile. I find respite and peace, along with a sense of accomplishment, also at least for awhile. My habit of list-making and record-keeping has turned into a decades-long history of commentaries, observations and photographs which describe the trends I’ve seen here as I continue to develop this space. Although the year has not quite ended, I decided to look back to the snowy days of January, 2022 and the subsequent months through the summer. The snow comes and goes, as do the visitors. I selected a number of photos that celebrate the diversity of natural life in my sliver of the earth. Here they are, for your viewing pleasure.

Cardinal and sparrow
Little miracles
Sky over the yard
Lingering honeysuckle berries
Squirrel marauders
Juncoes, sparrows, dove
Blustery day
Squirrel sitting in the bird feeder
Caught in the act – attacking the suet feeder.
Starling group
Downy woodpecker
Female cardinal
Carolina wren
Awful frozen beak
Carolina wren
Competition for food
Starling and its shadow
White-breasted nuthatch
Starling in the bird feeder
Daffodils emerging
Mourning dove
Red bellied woodpecker
Bears’ breeches
Indigo bunting
Rose breasted grosbeaks
Squirrel getting comfortable
Baltimore oriole
Rose breasted grosbeak
Baby house wrens
Black swallowtail
Giant swallowtail
Eastern tiger swallowtail
House wren
Sphinx moth
Clouded sulphur
Red spotted purple
Red Admiral

I’ll spend part of my cold indoor months planning for the spring garden, hoping my plants survive the winter. It’s been a good year.

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