Spring Legacy

     In Spring there are almost always blooms of color in our yard, especially in certain areas where I see my late mother’s magic. 20 years ago my mother dug up some spiderwort plants in her yard and brought them to me for our new garden. As I planted them I had no idea if they would survive, let alone reproduce.  I also had no idea how special this simple motherly housewarming gift really was.  Each February since then the purple spiderwort flowers bloom. By late March they have taken over large sections of the backyard. I wake up in the morning and look out the window at a small sea of purple heads on green stalks.

    Spiderworts are in the family Commelinaceae and the genus Tradescantia. They are native to North America but the genus was named after John Tradescantia, a 17th century naturalist and gardener to King Charles the 1st of England. Someone in North America sent some spiderwort seeds to Tradescantia in England. The plants are still grown in English gardens.  I can imagine a member of the royal family admiring the spiderworts in their gardens 300 years ago.

spiderwort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mother died in 2010.  I still miss her every day. But, I don’t feel sad when I see the spiderworts. Instead, I smile and see her reborn in each lovely purple flower.

Backyard Spiderworts (1)

 

Pictured above:Giant Spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea)

Sources: Wildflowers of Texas by Geyata Ajilvsgi; Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country by Marshall Enquist

Photos © Betty McCreary

Rattled

 The spring sun

warms you

well hidden under the prickly pear

 

Ambling down the path I come

enjoying bees on blossoms

meaning no harm

 

Moving close to examine a  bug

I hear loud fast buzzing ssssshhhhhhhhhhh!

a warning rattling buzzing sssshhhhhh!

 

I  back up and move away

the buzzing sssshhhh slows

then silence as you slither off

 

Seeking  to avoid my kind

your beautiful diamond back

disappears into the bluebonnets

Rattled

Photo of Western Diamond Back (Crotalus atrox)

by Betty McCreary

Migration

 
 

 

cropped-dscn1645-e1546730864442-2.jpg
Monarch On Blue Mist Flower
 
 

The Great Journey

 
Black and orange and white
the small wings flutter high above the earth

Monarchs headed to the highlands of Mexico

 
Onward they travel 
generation after generation

fall after fall

 
 
A three thousand mile migration
seeking fir forests 

 sanctuary from winter

 
 
Far to the South
trekking over roads and rivers, 
carrying babies, pushing wheelchairs

young and old, women and men

 
On the road to a better life
headed North two thousand miles

also seeking sanctuary

 
Onward they travel
through sickness and despair

to the highlands of Mexico

 
I imagine a butterfly landing on the shoulder of a resting child
paths crossing for one moment
and then the respective caravans continue on

 

 

 
 
 
(written in autumn 2018)

A Closer Look

I am a birder. There is almost nothing I enjoy more than heading to a local park (or my backyard) to see what might be flitting about.
But, I didn’t come by this love of birds naturally. Oh, I enjoyed helping my grandmother fill her bird feeders with cracked corn and she taught me what a cardinal was. But, I really just wanted to watch the squirrels. I was a mammal person. I loved spotting deer in fields during drives in the Texas hill country. I was thrilled when I first saw a fox cross the road. It wasn’t until I was a volunteer with a local wildlife rescue group that I began to appreciate birds. More baby birds and injured birds came into our care than mammals. I started to learn to identify birds and learned about their needs and behavior. It was seeing them close up that made all the difference.

This time of year one of my favorite birds to look for is the Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum). I will hear their sweet high pitched notes above and look up and see a flock of up to several dozen birds land in a tree. At a distance they may just be dark silhouettes with a crest on their heads and they don’t look particularly interesting. If the light is good and the binoculars handy, their beauty is revealed. Against a blue sky they are magnificent looking with a black face mask, red wing tips, and a bright yellow tail tip.

Cedar Waxwing in Burr Oak (photo by Betty McCreary)

I wonder what or who else in the world I might learn to appreciate by looking a little closer?