Happy Arbor Day


Well, now, I just assumed we all celebrate Arbor Day at the same time. Silly me.

Here is a neat little map that shows when Arbor Day is in your neck of the woods.  Click here to find your state’s date with a tree, then, go plant a tree, visit an arboretum, garden or zoo, recycle paper, take walk in the woods, breath a little lighter – or just give thanks for trees in our lives, wherever you may live.

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.

Henry David Thoreau


DSCN7936 - Version 2

An icy chill settled in last night.  We brought out the coats and gloves that we wish were by now relegated to the deepest corners of our closets, put on sweaters, and groaned. Here and there were flurries; mere whispers of snow. Hereabouts we know it would not be unusual to have a snowstorm in April. Those who had hanging baskets, or tender annuals in pots, were encouraged to put them in garages. Tender perennials wore sheets and blankets, all tucked into their beds, guarding them against a late frost.

 On Monday, however, it was warmer. After an early morning commitment, then a meeting, and in spite of the strong winds and cloudy skies, a quick stop at the Arboretum was just what I needed. A balm for my deprived gardening soul.

It was quiet; a rare opportunity at such a popular destination. With a few hearty hikers and clusters of schoolchildren on arboreal field trips, all in their colorful jackets and rain slickers, collecting seeds and observing the emerging plants, I was as rare as sunshine as I waddled around the paths and motored about the slow, winding lanes.

I love these moments in nature; the quiet ones in which I seem to have God’s kingdom to myself.  Of course, I don’t, but you already know that I have an abundantly overactive imagination, which was in full throttle on Monday afternoon.

Close up of white daffodil:garden

The flowering trees were decked out as if waiting for their dates to the prom and the daffodils were so abundant and colorful that they took my breath away.

DSCN7960 - Version 3The Redbud trees were in that whisper stage where they are blushing softly and thinking about making their grand entrance soon. The forsythia have been abundantly colorful this year, while the magnolias, well, the magnolias always seem to suffer in a northerly clime, but, even they were hanging on tight.

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With a threatening sky that looked like snow, the whites of this time of blossoms seemed to defy Mother Nature and proclaim “I’m here, I’ve been  waiting far too long for my time to dance and swing and way, so, I’m wearing my best dress anyway. ” 

Flowering tree in full bloom

So, for today, though the yellows and purples are certainly out and about, I hope you don’t mind if I just show you the many versions of Snow White’s gowns, languishing about, just waiting to dance with the sun.

Hydrangea against window:visitor center Birch and pussy willowsClose up of white daffodil:garden:2 snowdrops:zoo

On Earth Day


“This we know: All things are connected like the blood that unites us.  We did not weave the web of life.  We are merely a strand in it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”

Attributed to Chief Seattle.

Cover image from Susan Jeffer’s “Brother Eagle, Sister Sky”.

Mr. Mallard on a log w:reflectionMr. Mallard resting  upon a log.

I noticed him while driving down the Cutoff, stopped the car, pulled my camera out, rolled the window down and took his photograph. He seemed quite content sitting there. I rolled the window up and off I went, noticing a resident of the house across the way. He was watching me watching Mr. Mallard.  It was when I downloaded the photo that I noticed Mr. Mallard’s reflection in the murky pond. Both Mr. Mallard and his reflection, contemplating a growing family, perhaps, and listening to a full chorus of spring peepers, who were practicing for their evening performance.

Sometimes, the rehearsal is better than the actual performance.



DSCN7912 - Version 2I didn’t see it coming – nor did it see me.

It happened approaching an intersection, just past the old, rickety one lane bridge that goes over the train tracks in Hinsdale. The one with a stoplight that lets the north come south, one by one by one, then the south come likewise through. I like to take the old bridge, avoiding a sometimes congested train crossing a few blocks down, especially when a freight train is lumbering through. I take it to avoid a train and also because of the bridge’s aged charm.

When I do cross the tracks, I like to take a turn down a scenic street, one paralleling the tracks, for the august trees and a charming red clapboard house I admire. It reminds me of the Nutmeg Inn; a charming B&B in Vermont where we rested our bones for a spell, once upon a time.

I was toddling along the nutmeg route, at a respectable 30 mph, enjoying the sweet breeze through the sun roof and the warming sunshine, knitting my thoughts from the meeting I had attended, when it hit. Out of the blue, an instant of brown and burnt orange, as if upon my shoulder, for surely it was right there, then gone.

I was t-boned -by an all-American robin!

I slowed a bit, seeing a stunned look on the face of the driver behind me,  turned when I could, then backtracked to see if there was, well, you know.

Mr. Robin was nowhere around, though probably still a bit stunned – as was I.

Springtime often brings thumps and thuds on windows as birds enter their season of frenzy. Whether migrating from their winter homes or flitting about nesting and mating, their thoughts are elsewhere as the swoop and swoon and seize the day. Sometimes they are just preoccupied. Other times they see their reflections in window panes and are on the offensive –  wham, bam. Usually they flit away, though we’ve found them stunned on the ground near the offending glass pane, and every once-in-awhile the poor things need to be buried.

With no visible remains of the day, I left the scene of the close encounter, keeping one eye on the road, the other for seasonal flying objects.

(I originally wrote this last week, keeping it in abeyance for the weekend. As I insert this addendum, a confused robin in pecking on a basement window, tapping away at his reflection, creating a racket a flight up, here in the office/library, and surely wearing out his beak. I need to put something against it so he now longer sees his “rival”. 

A house with daffodils

DAFFODILA house with daffodils in it is a house lit up, whether or no the sun be shining outside. . .

A. A. Milne

IMG_7309 IMG_7310 IMG_7313

It is, however, nice, very nice indeed when the sun IS shining outside. Don’t you agree?

. . . a blessing to my day.

You are a blessing to my day.” IMG_7234

That’s what he said.

You are a blessing to my day”, which I thought to be a very nice thing to say.

I was in the same parking lot, going to same cleaners that was the framework of another post.

It must be the parking lot. Some cosmic energy or force or forget-me-gas must be emanating from the cleaners or out of the pavement. Perhaps, a drone overhead, waiting for me to show up and film another segment of  Penny in the Parking Lot.

As I headed out for usual errands, my cell phone buzzed with an email message from the cleaners. My order was ready. Isn’t that nice? It was on my circuit of things to do, so, I grabbed the claim tickets and off I went. First, the post office, which is not the place to go on April 15, then a few other quick stops, leading me to the cleaners.

I pulled into the lot, parked, gathered the tickets and my purse, closed the door to the car then noticed something amiss with the car next to me. I hadn’t seen anyone get into or out of it, but, there was a pile of clothes on the back seat in their plastic covering with the receipt attached from the cleaners.. The odd thing was that the driver’s door was open. Not ajar, mind you, but open as wide as a mouth in the dentist’s chair.

I looked into the window on the passenger side. A cup of coffee, some paperwork, a brown paper bag; the sort of stuff many of us have in the front seat of the car, especially running lunchtime errands.

I eased around the trunk of the car. “Hello. Anyone there?

Miss Marple I’m not. There I was, looking for a clue as to why the door was open and hoping, no praying, there wasn’t a body on the other side. Did someone fall out? have a heart attack? slip on the cleaner bags? “Hello?”  No answer. No body. Nobody.

People were walking around the lot, to and from their cars, going about their business. I asked, but, no one belonged to the car, a dark gray Toyota.

I sleuthed about a bit more, making sure no one was prone on the pavement.  I’ve come upon bodies in parking lots; a man who tripped and needed a hand up. A woman showing symptoms of a stroke. I’m amazed at how many people pass by, especially when an elderly person is in distress.

Inside the cleaners, I asked a patron if it was his car. No, not him.

Back at my mocha VW with the latte interior, I hung my clothes and went around to see if the neighbor’s car door was still open. It was. Now what should I do? What if someone was abducted returning to their car? What if he or she were wandering around the lot, looking for whatever they needed to remember? It happens.

By now, sure that surveillance cameras had clear pictures of me, a Medicare Maniac, staring at an open car door, shaking her head and calling to no one.  I thought to shut the door, but, what if it locked when it shut and the owner didn’t have another set of keys and was late on the rent and had amnesia? Really. What should I do?

I could walk away, but, if it were my car with the door wide open (and we all know that’s a possibility) I’d want someone watching over it/me.

I decided to check the stores closest to the parking lot, muttering “please, please don’t let it be Payless Shoes“.

First stop was a hair salon. I walked in and was greeted “Can we help you ma’am?“. I explained the open door and no driver. The stylist said “Maybe it’s Mildred’s.  Hey, Mildred, did you leave your car door open?” .  Mildred looked rather indignant, her hair changing colors. “Why would I leave my car door open?“, but, the stylist took her keys and we both checked, for, Mildred had a Toyota. Nope. Not Mildred’s.

As I walked back to my car, trying to decide if I should just drive away, which is not my style, when I noticed a man, dressed to the nines, coming out of Payless Shoes. More than middle-aged, but not quite an octogenarian, he strolled across the lot. Lo and behold, he was headed toward the open doored Toyota. I watched, as did a couple who I’d already queried who were returning from the cleaners with bags draped over their arms, waiting to see what would happen.

Well, my friend, Mr. Dapper Dan walked to his car, threw the bag of shoes on the backseat,  looked at me, then the couple.

Is there some problem with my car?”

Well, sir, do you realize you left you car door wide open?

I did?

Did he not see it open when passed by the door to put his clothes on the back seer?

You did, mister“, said the he of the couple as the she nodded in concurrence. Good. Character witnesses in case I needed them. I was starting to channel Mrs. Pollifax.

” I really must be more careful. Thank you, miss.”

I said “I’m just glad you’re okay and all is well” as I walked away, and then he proclaimed “Thank you, ma’am, you are a blessing to my day.”

A very nice thing to say.

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