Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Beauty and Surprise of April Lingers On Into May

  My last two newsletters focused on the magic of April and the wonders of the sky, and last month certainly lived up to the promises of those writings. The sky played its part, featuring a gloriously bright full moon on April 19th and 20th, and the Lyrid meteor showers from the 22nd until the 25th. The Lyrids are not as well-known as the Perseids, but they happen every April and are probably the oldest documented meteor showers. Ancient Chinese writings from some 2000 years ago mention them. Various planets were clearly visible on cloud free nights last month as well: Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus were visible for most of the month. We also had some interesting rains, including two in which it rained on one side of the street and not the other. Looking up in April proved wonderful, indeed.
   Interesting things were also taking place down here on lawns, alongside streets, and in the yards of the city and the burbs. Weeping and ornamental cherries bloomed mid-month as did saucer and lily magnolias. Their bright pink and white colors dramatically announced “spring,” as did the many tulips, crocuses, daffodils, and azaleas that all seemed to “pop” at once. And as the month went on, many of them started shedding their petals and leaves, creating glorious pink and white paths for us to walk upon. Citizens used to strew flower petals in the paths of returning war heroes and leaders in the days of the Roman Empire. Now we don’t need royalty or a war to have this happen; it was just nature doing its thing and providing us with beauty, wonder and comfort. It was amazing to see and to share that sense of wonder those petals brought forth as we traveled.
   Now we are into May and the joy of the sky and the quiet miracles of nature continue. I made a bunch of sugar water nectar, washed off the hummingbird feeders, and hung them outside; May 1st is the traditional time to set out feeders to attract hummingbirds. The Colgan-Davis household has been doing that for some 25 years, and we have always had sets of these wondrous tiny beauties flitting and zooming about in our backyard garden. My wife also planted shrubs and plants to attract a variety of birds and butterflies to the garden, and they have paid off handsomely. From mid-May on we would sit in the garden and eat dinner, and, as Penny often said, “Wait for the show to begin.” The plants, shrubs and bird feeders are still there, and I am again waiting for the show to begin. Joe Pye Weed, laurels, milkweed,  roses, hydrangeas and more are all waiting to fully develop, and I will enjoy them and the various birds and butterflies they attract over the course of mid-spring and into summer. The sense of growth and rebirth hinted at in March and confirmed in April will be full-blown then, and I will be extremely grateful yet again.
The sky in May will its wonders as well. Saturn and Jupiter will be visible the whole month, Virgo and the Centaur will be among the most visible and identifiable constellations, and there will be a full moon on May 18th. Looking up will continue to bring joy and wonder, especially in the early morning, and I look forward to being out and among these goings-ons. It is a free gift for the senses.
 The transitions and splendors of what nature presents us with continue to fascinate and amaze me. We have a chance to be reborn as we witness the continuing cycle of life taking place around us and take the opportunity to marvel and glory in what is before, around and above us. It is indeed very good to be merely human in the midst of all of this. What gifts; what gifts.

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