A Break in the Clouds

Finally, we’re beginning to get a little sunshine, even if it’s only between rain showers. Though I’ll admit I felt a little like these turtles trying to catch a few rays,


it’s comforting to know that fellow Tacoma residents love Pt. Defiance Park as much as we do.

The gardens were in full bloom; these Jonquils were so rambunctious that they had to be fenced in.


There were several tulip trees in bloom, but this was my favorite.


I was a little surprised to see that some real tulips were already completely open, almost at the end of their season,


though some cherry and plum blossoms were just beginning to bloom.


The wet weather and warm temperatures seem to have joined to make this a spectacular Spring. Leslie and I spent a long weekend enjoying at Pt. Defiance park, the beach, and Belfair enjoying Spring’s Beauty.

Unfortunately, the weather has also been great for the weeds and the lawn, so we had to spend much of Sunday working in the yard.

Fresh Eyes Always Make a Difference

One of the real advantages of birding with kids like Mira and Lael, besides their innate enthusiasm, is that they see things that Leslie and I tend to miss. For instance, Mira had asked about beavers, so when I saw freshly chewed sprigs, I pointed them out to her and went on my way looking for birds. We’d barely gone ten yards down the path when she called us back to see her discovery.

Neither Leslie or I could spot what she was talking about at first, but I finally managed to focus my birding lens (the wrong lens) on the insect (which I never did identify) and could see it in the viewfinder.


We hadn’t gone too much further down when she called us back again, this time to look at this green insect sitting on the sign.


I probably should try to identify it, but I’ve resigned myself to limiting myself to identifying all the birds I see and to not cluttering up my mind with the names of all the insects and plants I wish I could identify but will never manage to memorize in this lifetime.

Heck, if I could manage to identify all the insects I’d still be frustrated by my inability to identify trees (and flowers) that I photograph.


Thankfully, it’s possible to see the beauty in a branch without knowing its name. It’s far too easy when we “know” a plant to ignore it, as if giving it a name somehow captures its essence. Unlike kids, we take it for granted.

Of course, even though I recognized this as a variety of Oregon Grape, it struck me as quite beautiful:


First Trilliums

Leslie and I took Lael and Mira with us to Theler Wetlands Saturday. I knew it was going to be a good outing when we were greeted at the gate by the first Trillium of the year.


They’re one of the more spectacular early white flowers to bloom here in the Pacific Northwest. Their brilliant white makes it hard to miss them even in the heavy shade where they emerge.

Scattered throughout the deepest woods, you need to be a contortionist to get a close-up of them,


but the result always seem to justify the effort.

Be Mused

Looking back over the last few months it’s pretty clear I’ve been spending more time on Facebook linking to political stories (and even more time playing Scrabble) than I have posting to “In a Dark Time.” Mainly that’s because, as I’ve stated too many times lately, our Pacific Northwest winter continues to be brutally wet. Perhaps if Leslie had managed to retire as planned, I would have already have spent weeks in California taking pictures, but we’ll be lucky if she can manage to retire at the beginning of April.

Although I read way too much about the Bundy occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, I was too angry — and definitely too irrational — to write much about it. Besides anyone who would give a damn about how I felt would probably already know my feelings based on the number of shots I’ve taken there. Actually, I have written down a few thoughts that might eventually offer my perspective on the issue, but hopefully they’ll reveal more about me than they will about how I feel about the Bundys and their ilk.

I’ve also spent hours reading about the upcoming elections, but anyone who follows me on Facebook knows I’m a Bernie fan and suspects I have already given as much money to him as I can comfortably afford. Early on, this blog was political, beginning as a America’s invasion of Afghanistan. Later it became an attempt to ensure that Bush would not be re-elected; I even ended up writing political articles for other sites who recruited my help because we shared common views. I’m not going down that road again. Hell, I can barely stand to read some people supporting Bernie, much less those supporting any of those absurd Republican candidates.

Unfortunately, much of what I’ve been doing doesn’t lend itself very well to blogging. I’ve been spending at least two hours a day, five days a week trying to help my Grandson deal with his migraine headaches and the problems they have caused with his schoolwork. Not fun. Hope it never happens to you or the ones you love. Don’t want to spend any more time than I already am thinking about that particular problem.

And what the heck am I going to write about the hour and a half a day I spend at the YMCA when it’s raining out. I’m already bored walking around the small track 24 times to walk two miles in 30 minutes without trying to write about it. Fifteen minutes on the rowing machine helps me to build up my endurance, but it’s so mindless that I can’t do it without music from my iWatch and a headset. The twenty minutes I spend in the weight room may help to maintain my upper body strength, but it’s just as boring as the rowing machine.

Sadly, perhaps the most interesting thing I’ve been doing lately is meditating using a Muse headset to monitor how well I am relaxing. I’ve been using it for nearly a year now, and I have managed to score much better scores than I did when I began. In fact, I reached 90% relaxed in two of my last 3-minute sets. Can’t keep my mind from wandering more in longer sets of 20-30 minutes, though, and the best I’ve scored is in the 80% range. Not sure how much help it is my life, but I think it has helped me to deal with some of the stress of trying to work with my Grandson while dealing with Shingles and a pulled tooth. At least my handy Azumio app keeps telling me that my stress level is in the low range (except the day before I had my tooth pulled). I’ve actually read quite a lot about meditation in Buddhist zines which has helped me in my practice, but I certainly don’t feel expert enough to comment on most of those articles.

Forecasters are actually predicting a sunny week after today’s storm passes, so maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get out and get more pictures next week. Here’s hoping.