Poetry Sunday-Joyful Play

dad as boy

 

Joyful Play

 

With arms outstretched, I whirl around

Floating, spinning above the ground.

Tiny feet dance on large shiny shoes,

Piggy back rides with giants amuse.

 

 

As I ride the waves on the back of a whale,

Now thrown off, high in the air I sail!

And on the sandy beach we bury our treasure,

With squeals of delight in castles of pleasure.

 

 

These moments delight each one is immeasurable,

Through the years repeated with love unforgettable.

Time seemed endless in those blissful days,

Of fond memories in joyful play!

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

 

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My dad’s birthday is Tuesday.  He would have been 86, but died at the young age of 68 from the most horrific early onset Alzheimer’s disease.  He suffered 15 years with this awful monster.

But I remember him now as an Easter baby full of joy, kindness and always playful.  My mother called him her fifth kid.  Last week’s poem spoke of the pain of his loss, but I choose to remember his life of joyful play in this week’s poem.

Many of the memories in the poem are fun times spent with my dad, especially at the Jersey Shore growing up.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

dad collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note:  As I reminisce about playing as a child, I am showcasing pictures of my dad.  In the top photo, he is pictured on the left as a 10 yr old boy in Philadelphia, PA.  The collage shows him as a teen with his godson, his older brother’s first born.  And as a young man just newly engaged.

The last photo, below, is of us kids (my sibs) with my best friend Cindy on the right in the striped pants.  I’m in the middle (about 5 yrs old) on the left with that  head of unruly, curly, dark brown hair.  We grew up in Philadelphia until we moved about a year after this picture was taken.  My dad would take us to the park on weekends while my mom worked as a nurse.  He called us the Motley Crew.

 

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I leave you with a few words about joyful play.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

the crew at play

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

End of Month Potpourri-March 2015

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Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.

~Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You

 

 

 

In my neck of the woods, here in the northeast, spring takes her sweet time.  She slowly walks into my garden, and in March she is just beginning to yawn.  Consequently as others are showcasing their lovely spring blooms, I am still watching the snow melt.

 

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty in my garden.  And for this End of Month Potpourri, I thought I would show you some of the beauty of late winter.

 

 

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The sun comes streaming through the trees and bathes the garden in early morning light as spring comes closer.

 

 

DSCN0403The trees glow first as the sun splits through the bare branches, even those covered in chilly ice crystals.

 

 

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It creates a rainbow on the snow as it sparkles.

 

 

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Early shadows cast a blue glow over the snow-covered garden.  You can see the melting snow is creating creases in the landscape almost like a creek running underground.

 

 

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The sun at high noon is shifting its shadow, and glaring off the surface of the melting snow.

 

 

DSCN0757A couple hours later, and the shadows have moved farther along the fence playing on the snow.

 

 

DSCN0726As the snow melts, it creates ripples and dimples….making it appear as if we are watching ocean waves frozen in place.

 

 

DSCN0733And then it will shift, looking instead like sand dunes on a desert of snow white.

 

 

DSCN0749And there are other playful shadows, such as this one from the patio table, reflecting its intricate scroll work.

 

 

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As we get closer, it appears as if we can see right through the melting snow to the water beneath.

 

 

DSCN0754And even closer still, a few frozen bubbles….

 

 

Those bubbles mean the snow is melting, melting, melting…..soon to be gone.  And all that wonderful water, in the snow, is nourishing my garden and the spring blooms that lie underneath waiting for spring to step into the present.

 

 

 

 

Note:   The branches at the beginning and end of this post are of my dwarf willow trees.  As spring has sprung, and rain takes the place of snow, they are covered in the jewels of spring raindrops.  Soon they will burst forth in pussy willow flowers.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about the change of the seasons and weather.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

bad weather

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-When The Light Went Out

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When The Light Went Out

 

 

The light went out of my life that day.

It was swallowed whole, trapped in a cave.

Though I try in vain to bring it back,

It alludes me now, gone to black.

 

 

And I feel somedays like the walking dead.

Nowhere am I going, nowhere have I tread.

And the sorrow that replaced those brilliant rays,

Has crushed me heavy under the weight.

 

 

Can it ever be regained?

Will I see the light of day?

Can I feel the warmth again deep inside?

Will I ever stop the tears, the cries?

Can this burden be released?

Will the darkness ever cease?

 

 

Perhaps one day as I sit in this cold,

In this place where I try to grab hold.

Of what was once my life and light,

Though I am shattered, even in my strife.

 

 

I sometimes will remember the golden days once more,

When the light glowed warm from deep in my core.

Yes, I will cling to those memories I knew.

Before I lost the light, before I lost you.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

 

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As my father’s birthday approaches each year, I am drawn back to those special times, and special memories.  I lost my father in 1998, and sometimes there are only those days where all I have is much sadness.  This poem is reflective of one of those sad times I have had recently.  Next Sunday, I will post a poem that speaks of the happy memories.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

lilac collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note:  The lilacs from my garden represent memory as this are all I have now of my father, and many days they just do not sustain me.

 

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I leave you with a few words about memories and loss.

lost

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Conversations In The Garden- On Awareness

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A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.

~Leonard Nimoy


 

 

My mom is now in the winter of her life.  At 83, her body is shutting down, and she is in need of more assistance in her basic daily living skills.  It has been a traumatic journey for her recently, and given me much on which to pause and reflect.

 

 

DSCN0389I think about all she has given me over the years.  I was a sickly child, with asthma from the time I was born.  I almost died of pneumonia when I was one, and was in and out of hospitals from a very early age.  I had every childhood disease imaginable.  And in all that time, my mom never complained, and never once wasn’t there for me.

 

 

And now in her most vulnerable time, I try to be there with comforting words.  To give her guidance, to talk about her day, every day I can even though I am almost 3000 miles away.

 

 

And I think about my own mortality, now more than ever before.  How much time I have left here on this earth, in this body.  How long will it continue to allow me to do and think about the things I love….even the everyday things like walking, eating, breathing.

 

 

DSCN0384As I think about all this, I am drawn back to the Wabi-Sabi principles I learned about in January, in particular Principle 6:  Accept the inevitable.  Life is evanescent.  Before we know it another day has gone by, and then another month and another year….and then more years than we care to think about.

 

 

 

So if life is so fleeting, what can we do to not let it pass us by?  I think this is why I have been in a ‘noticing’ frame of mind recently.  To experience each moment….be present, be aware of my surroundings.  Really look, and deeply listen.  And especially become aware of myself.  Observing how I feel, what I am doing, how I am reacting to my life.  What choices I am making.  What might I want to change or do with my life right now.

 

 

DSCN0485And I have found great freedom in this noticing.  I find I am free now to do what I want…whatever that might be.  I am still discovering, even now in my life, that new paths are always showing themselves to me if I can be more aware.

 

 

Winter is a great time to reflect on our lives.  This past winter was a brutally cold one.  One that wore on with endless days of piles of snow unrelenting, and a frigid, bone chilling wind that never ceased to howl.  And under all that snow was a garden about to come to life again.  But for a long time though this winter, all I could see were my memories of it as it was held frozen below the landscape of white.

 

 

DSCN0516And if I take any lessons from this winter, it is this season will pass and be replaced by a new season, a new path, a new time, a new memory.  As I sit with the window cracked listening to the last of winter’s winds blow through the barren trees, I smell the change it is bringing.

 

 

And I hear the birds once again singing in a new season….rejoicing for this new time that is at hand.  A time to celebrate the beauty of what was, and what is to come.  A new garden to be born with new memories to be made.  My life, still before me each new day lived to its fullest.  The possibilities are endless when we are aware, in the moment.  

 

 

 

I am sharing this life and garden lesson with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.

 

 

 

 

Note:   All these images, of my garden, were taken this February during our brutal winter.  Even in its bitter cold and snow, there was beauty to be found.  The last photo is of my early spring garden last year.

 

 

The quote, at the beginning of the post, is the last Tweet Leonard Nimoy made a few days before he died.  I found it inspiring, thoughtful, and in his honor as Mr. Spock, “fascinating”.  May we all, “Live long and prosper”.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about aging, acceptance and life.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

worry

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Waiting On A Friend

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Waiting On A Friend

 

The landscape is lonely

waiting on a friend,

The warm spring winds

to blow in again.

 

Sprouts of green

dot the white,

The seasonal change is

once again in sight!

 

© Donna Donabella 2013

 

 

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I wrote this poem in early March, 2013 when we had a similar unrelenting winter.  I was daydreaming about spring returning.  It felt like a good friend, who had been gone far too long, was returning for an overdue visit.  And I am once again waiting for that friend, spring, to really show itself once more.  Sadly, today, it is snowing again, so I will continue to wait for spring.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

spring collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note:  The green sprouts are from previous year’s in my March garden just as the snow thaws showing the  bulbs beautiful, green growth below.  The purple flowers are early snow crocus that bloomed in mid March, 2013.  An unusually early bloom time.

 

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I leave you with a few words about waiting for spring.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

waiting on friend

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Bitter Drama

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“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”   ~Martin Luther King Jr. 

 

 

In my job as an educator, I was also trained as a mediator.  This skill served me well in helping people resolve conflicts, or work out solutions to seemingly immovable dilemmas.  And there were many times, when anger, aggression and drama were played out on my doorstep at work.  I learned a long time ago that when confronted with these situations, it was best to not talk, but listen.

 

DSCN1928And when given the opportunity to talk, to then wait, count to 10 and ground myself.  Many times I would smile, and even apologize knowing it may not be my fault.  But in order to move forward the person in front of me needed someone to apologize.  It  was the least I could do to show empathy.

 

But the number 1 thing I knew that was important, was to not be aggressive, reactive or emotional.  It only served to escalate the situation.  I had to bite my tongue many times as there were things I wanted to say, but knew would serve no good purpose.  So I rose above the bitterness, drama and aggression and helped this person towards a resolution.

 

So you would think that when confronted with aggressive situations with loved ones, I could use all these wonderful tools to resolve the problem.  Well think again.  Because when it comes to family, all bets are off and everything you have learned seems to fly right out the window on a gale of emotions.

 

Drama is not new to families.  We all have it, and as we grow and move on with our lives, we usually can outgrow or avoid it.  And I am not sure which is the best solution, but I generally try to avoid it.  But family members know how to wound deeply with words.  They know just how to push your buttons, and before you know it you can be in a four alarm drama situation.

 

DSCN1388I have been thinking about these bitter dramas over the last several years.  I can almost predict them, and yet I seem to be helpless in avoiding or resolving them as they happen; only to feel angry and bitter afterward.  And once the bitterness comes, it roots itself inside me where I want to hold onto it feeling I deserve to be angry.  I was wronged.  And I ruminate over these situations rehashing them bringing up the anger over and over again.

 

 

 

Drama does not just walk into your life.  You either create it, invite it or you associate with people who love to bring it into your life. – Kameryn Mariee 

 

 

Now I know don’t look for drama.  I don’t even like Reality TV because, to me, it seems like useless drama that hits too close to home sometimes.  But I never thought I invited drama until I thought about those nasty bitter scenes that were played out with family.  After a few of these incidents, recently, I realized that maybe I was being an unwitting catalyst.

 

So what can one do besides avoid, plead or get in the trenches.  Instead I began to think of solutions I had not tried before.  Perhaps employing some of those mediation skills might serve me well.

And I have begun to listen more, try not to react (not good with this yet, but making strides), and definitely try not to judge.  And if the situation is treading on dangerous ground where I know I might feed it, I take a self imposed time out.

 

In the heat of emotions, I can lose all reason and slug it out with the best of them.  But I IMG_7692really do not like being in the midst of these bitter fights.  In the aftermath, I can reason why it may have happened.  But I am looking for better ways to not get into the drama or at least not feed it.

 

I have also realized, some people just thrive on drama.  Many times the anger isn’t even about me, and if it is, it is from an old script that I have since forgiven.  There is little I can do when someone doesn’t want to move on, or they want to displace anger towards me, so I have decided they can have their dramas without me.  It may mean I will not talk with this person for a while as time away is needed.  But it seems the best course of action.

 

I am also finding for my sanity that I am being clearer when lines are crossed and someone has gone too far.  For me it is important that I not be sucked into these bitter dramas that I do not own or want.  And I hope by being clear with loved ones, these can be avoided or shut down.  I am not naive to think they will go away completely, but I figure if I don’t play in these dramas, then maybe a new script can start to be written.

 

 

 

Note:   The flowers of St. John’s Wort pictured here are said to represent animosity.  An interesting thought as St, John’s Wort is said to help people with depression and boost moods.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about drama, anger and conflict.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

conflict

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Snow Go!

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Snow Go!

 

O Woe,

There’s still snow.

Spring should be here, but the snow won’t go.

 

O So,

It’s too slow.

For March has come, and the garden wants to grow.

 

Go Go,

It’s time for you snow,

To leave us behind, and let the warm winds blow.

 

O Ho,

The bright sun glows.

Chasing the cold from the soil below.

 

Grow Grow,

For it’s time to sow.

The new life in the garden has now begun to flow.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

 

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This poem has me praying to Mother Nature for a March spring.  I love winter, but it is time for it to go and let spring slide on in!  As March continues this gardener’s patience will be tested as there is lot’s of snow to go….

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

oh no snow

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note:  The snow in these pictures is recent and piled up to over 5 feet in my garden and 6 feet in some spots.  We are patiently waiting got it to melt and go away….all of it!  It seems the critters are too judging by these little vole prints in the above shot.

 

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I leave you with a few words of the “snow go” prayer.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

snow go

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

 

Wildlife Lessons-Cedar Waxwings Play

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“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Last May, as I sat on my comfortable lounge chair recovering from surgery, I happened to hear a sound that was about the only thing that would get me up and out of that chair.  You see the surgery was for an abdominal hernia repair, and it was hard for me to get up, stand up or walk.

 

DSCN8070But when I heard the trilling and whistles, I knew what it meant.  The Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) had come back to my garden.  When I looked out to the tall trees in the center of the garden, there they were.  About 20-30 of them….they looked so excited to be here.  They had returned from their southern winter homes and were back to take up residence and find a prime nesting site.

 

It seemed they were hanging in my trees because they were all vying for time in the pond.  If you have never seen an “earful” or “museum” of Waxwings, then you have missed a treat.  Besides all the whistling going on, they are always in motion.  Moving, tussling, hopping, pushing and doing acrobatic moves as they catch insects on the fly.  And they are incredibly social birds too.

 

Whenever I see this “earful” of Waxwings, I think back to my childhood days when my DSCN8084siblings and I, along with the neighbor kids, would get together and play.  We would play these large games sometimes make-believe, sometimes with rules like Simon Says and sometimes just exploring down by the creek or digging in mounds of dirt for unusual finds like arrowheads.  And when we were together, you could hear us a mile away with our high-pitched squeals of delight.

 

I have written about the virtues of play before.  It is one of the joys in life we sometimes forget to practice when we begin to grow older.  And we sometimes think play is only for children, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  One of the best ways I know how to play is to cultivate a creative pursuit.  Dancing, singing, drawing, gardening, photography, writing….you name it.  If it is part of being creative, then it is part of the joy of play.

 

DSCN8570And you don’t even have to be good at it or worry if you are.  I never cared if my pictures looked great or if I used the right green to color in leaves.  I just had fun coloring or drawing.  Now I tend to care a bit too much, but I am releasing the arbitrary bonds I have place on my creative self.  And in that freedom, I have found my playful side again.

 

So when I see fawns frolicking or birds riding the thermals, I am reminded to play.  And it is especially easy to think of play when you I see Cedar Waxwings each spring.  Don’t they have the most beautiful coloring.  I love the browns and yellows so subtle.  And the little red tips on the ends of their wings.  But best of all, I love their masked faces.  Like a bunch of bandits riding into town to whoop and holler.  I want to get on my pretend horse, don my Lone Ranger mask and ride those bandits out of town, the hero of my yard again!

 

The Waxwings also remind me of those times, during recess, when there would be so many DSCN8064children screaming, yelling and playing.  A group of us would sneak off to the old apple trees, and gorge ourselves on dimpled, imperfect apples….much like these fruit loving birds.  Watch out because they will eat every serviceberry, winterberry, strawberry, mulberry, crabapple, and raspberry in sight… as well as the berries of juniper, dogwood and honeysuckle.

 

Cedar Waxwings are native to North and Central America, where they nest in open wooded areas (right behind my meadow) and winter in the southern half of the United States, Central America and the tip of northwest South America.  They are supposed to live year-round here in New York, but I have not seen them here in winter.  And they are supposed to breed mainly in southern Canada, but we have mating pairs here in central New York each summer.  Wherever there is running water (my pond with waterfall) and berries along with lots of insects…that’s where you will find them.  It seems my wildlife garden has become a great spot for the Waxwings to visit and dine.

 

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Here are some interesting facts about Cedar Waxwings:

  • Males and females look alike.
  • Cedar Waxwings have been known to eat fruit that is overripe and has begun to ferment, thereby becoming intoxicated.
  • When there is a supply of berries that only one bird can reach, the Waxwings will line up along the twig and pass berries with their beaks down the line so that each bird can eat.
  • Cedar Waxwings are said to be named because of its fondness for the small cones of the eastern red cedar…..AND
  • Because the name “waxwing” comes from the waxy red tips of its wings that are said to possibly attract mates.
  • The oldest known Cedar Waxwing was 8 years, 2 months old.  It is nice to know that the same birds may return to my garden each year.

 

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With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about play.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

waxwings play

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Return of the Red Wing

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Return of the Red Wing

 

 

A black silhouette high in a tree,

Memories harken to summer.

Hush.  No it couldn’t be!

 

 

 

While the snowflakes fall and cold winds blow.

It must be too soon,

Come closer-I must know.

 

 

 

A tell-tale sign, it’s easy to spy;

stretch of wing, flash of red

As he quickly flies by.

 

 

 

A harbinger indeed oh have you heard.

Shout for joy, spring is here

With the return of the Red-winged Blackbird.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

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Winter has not loosened it s grip yet, and it is snowing again with bone chilling cold.  But as I wait for signs of spring, I am thinking of this wonderful bird.

 

I wrote this poem in early March of 2012 while waiting for signs of spring.  It is said that the Red-winged Blackbird is the true harbinger of spring here not the American Robin.  They frequently show up in mid to late February and stay high in the trees waiting for the snow to melt so they can stake out their territory for nesting.

 

I have learned to tell them just by their silhouette in the tree, but it is when I finally see the flash of their red wing that I know they are truly here and spring is right behind them.  This bird has never failed in bringing spring with it….so I wait patiently for them to return here from their winter homes in the south.

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I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

redwing collage 2

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note:  The Red-winged Blackbirds pictured here are males that visit my garden in spring and summer for food and a bath in the pond.  They nest in the “wild area” behind our meadow.  These pictures were taken in 2014 and 2013.

 

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I leave you with a few words about this wonderful harbinger of spring; the Red-winged Blackbird.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

spring redbird

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.