Mornings find me waking before sunrise, throwing cats off my bed, rousing my elderly dog for her morning ablutions, and scampering down to the hen house in my robe and slippers (and some mornings warm hat and scarf) to feed the hens and the wild ducks, and the tortoise.
Last night when I let Sophie out for her final walk of the night the Santa Ana winds were like a warm caress, riffling through the palm fronds in the dark. Orion sparkled overhead, moving into the position it was in for the birth of both my March babies half a lifetime ago.
This morning the air was expectant. The garden seemed to emit a trembling energy; an excitement roiling to the surface, but afraid to burst out in full in case of another frost.
Indeed another cold front will be moving in with much-needed rainfall later this week. For now, the bold grasses are up and reckless early stonefruit have blossomed out, much to the joy of the hungry bees.
I could almost hear Browning’s Pippa chanting in my head. But not too much.
The ornamental pear trees all around town are in full glorious bloom. Yesterday while driving from the Community Center to the bookstore there were enough petals strewn in the road as to cause a whirlwind of white as I drove through. An eddy of petals around my car. Joy.
This weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count, as well as my two regular bird count days for Project Feederwatch. Before breakfasting I filled seed feeders and enjoyed the show while eating my fresh egg, asparagus, toast and cinnamon tea. Twitterpating is definitely in the air as birds pair up and rival mallards chase each other over the big pond.
A Northern mockingbird sips from the bird bath dripper sizing up his territory and listening for new sounds to add to his repertoire. A buzzy rufous hummingbird guards the nectar feeder from the larger and flashier Anna’s. A long-mated pair of crows hang out preening each other on the telephone wire.
Frogs are croaking amorously in the damp rushes. To my complete joy, far earlier than the bulbs strewn across the property which are just peeking green out of the earth, just outside my window are early daffodils and sweet violets, two of my favorite flowers.
It is still February, and I’m not that great a fan of such a beastly month as February , but for today the paperwork will lie ignored, the cold weather clothes will stay in the laundry basket, and after I take my cat to the vet I will spend the day in the garden (although that isn’t so unusual for me, is it?) listening to the Nuttall’s woodpecker try to drum holes into the telephone pole and smell the scent of Gideon’s trumpet flowers.
I look forward to tomorrow when I’ll be making two new friends, and to casting seed which will add new life to the garden.