Dahlia Time

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been nearly a month since we visited the Rose Garden to see the dahlias in full bloom. Time seems to go much slower when the smoke is so thick that you can’t leave the house for nearly a week and half. I’ll have to admit that just looking at these shots cheered me up a little bit.

I’ve posted so many dahlia pictures in this blog over the years that I have to remind myself that I love them just as much every summer as I did the summer before.  After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

It’s hard to imagine that this beauty wouldn’t always seem striking:

Certainly the bees never seem to lose their fondness for them.

Judging from the number of  photos I’ve posted over the years, this would have to be my favorite.

I’ll have to admit, though, this 

was my favorite shot of the day.

It’s All About the Kids

Summer tends to be a rather slow time for birding at Theler, but there are lots of birds there all the time; it’s just harder to see them this time of year because no one is advertising for a mate and parents are busy tryingI(t’ to feed their young and don’t have time to sit around posing for visitors.  So, on this trip we mostly saw juveniles, which are sometimes/always  hard to identify.

I could tell from their behavior and their beaks that this was a pair of young mergansers, but I have no idea if they’re Common Mergansers or Red-Breasted Mergansers.

I am pretty sure this is a juvenile Song Sparrow because of  the breast plumage and where I saw it, but I also know that a lot of juvenile sparrows look alike.  

This one, for instance, looks rather similar and was in the same area, but the yellow eyebrows make me think it’s most likely an immature Savannah Sparrow.

This guy was on the same railing near the immature sparrows, but I am almost-absolutely sure that it is a Barn Swallow because it looks like one and, more importantly, because there was a parent guarding nearby.  

It Tolls for Thee

At 78, illness and death seem to have become constant companions. On every semi-annual visit to Vancouver to visit with fellow teachers, I’m handed the obituary of at least two teachers who have died since my last visit. Though I personally have known only one person who has died from Covid-19, it is a constant reminder that Death is waiting around the next corner.

None of that made it any easier when I learned a year and half ago that Cory, my son-in-law, had a brain tumor.  He was originally given six months to live,  but he managed to live eighteen months before succumbing to the tumor this morning.

Despite majoring in English in college and spending a lot of time writing on this blog, I think words are virtually meaningless when it comes to something as profound as the death of a loved one.  That said, John Donne’s “No man is an island” definitely reminds me of Cory’s large family and numerous friends who are all feeling the loss of a vital part of their lives.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee.