Robins seem to enjoy sitting in our diminutive (but growing) locust tree in the backyard. A few years ago, I hung a jewel-toned metal remnant from a battered whirligig – one of those decorative spinning devices that was no match for a strong wind storm a while back – on one of the lower branches, close to the one where the robins like to perch. It’s a pretty addition to our lovely tree and I always hate to part with anything, no matter how small or insignificant, that makes me smile. There is a robin’s nest under the deck, just shy of twenty paces from our tree, and I am left to speculate that Mama Robin see this little bejeweled spot as her sanctuary, her respite from the demands of robin motherhood.

The bright green, almost fluorescent young leaves look so fresh and new, like everything come spring. Surely they must entice my red-breasted friends with the same capacity for joy as whenever I catch a glimpse of our tree looking out our sunroom window.

We planted the locust the first year we lived here; however, for a number of reasons we’ve had to relocate the tree twice since that initial planting. To say that it hasn’t exactly thrived would be an understatement. We jokingly refer to it as our Charlie Brown tree. It has been, however, in its current location now for about seven years and is finally, finally exhibiting new growth, new shoots and sprouts that make my heart happy each spring as it continues to display more form, more fullness, a more pleasing shape.

Oh, and that green! Is it any wonder the robins love it so?


We’re almost seven days into spring and while last week delivered some gorgeous temperatures and the promise of warmer weather, Mother Nature has decided to pull back a bit, apparently hesitant to fully commit herself to sunny days and blue skies just yet. We Iowans aren’t so easily fooled, in any case. Practical and no-nonsense to a fault, there are those of us waiting for the other shoe to drop in the form of one more wintry blast of measurable, white, snowy precipitation. Bring it on, Mom, if you are so inclined. We know it won’t last.

And then, before long, we’ll have this. Skies overhead in alternate shades of blue: indigo, turquoise and aquamarine, dotted and streaked with wispy little clouds. Gentle breezes and the scent of new in the air. Bees and butterflies, finches, cardinals, robins and meadowlarks in flight. Squirrels and rabbits exploring backyard nooks and crannies. That beautiful, fresh color of green – hostas! – popping up along walkways and foundations everywhere, yellow daffs, tulips in red, pink, orange and kaleidoscope. A virtual symphony of delight for all of our senses.

Most lovely of all? The warmth and comfort of sunshine. Bestowing light and life to earth’s inhabitants far below. To bask in the sunlight is one of life’s simple pleasures.

So, yes, Mother Nature. Please do. Bring it on.

Here it is: the middle of July and that means summer is pretty much half over. Thanks to a nasty trio of infections I enviously watch healthy children, teens and adults enjoying the wonderful summer weather. They are blissfully unaware that losers like myself are confined indoors or swaddled in layers of clothing when venturing outdoors.

That’s fine. Not the end of the world although it is frustrating. On the upside there is still plenty of summer left in what remains of July and all of August. Beyond that we have the lovely month of September and then the very best season of the entire year: FALL! Crisp air, changing colors, leaves crunching underfoot, kids going back to school, football games, apple festivals, HALLOWEEN! While some (negative people) discount the beauty of the season and grumble about what comes next, I love this time of year. Not only is there the delightfully fun trick-or-treat celebration of crazy and color that falls on October 31st there is also Thanksgiving – the precursor to the wonderful Christmas holiday season. Christmas and winter and the first snowstorm and comfort food and hot chocolate eventually yield to the downside of the calendar – that long stretch of cold and snow and wind and ice that us Midwesterners grapple with (in varying degrees) every year. Then there is spring which runs a close second (for me anyway) with all its new growth and green and lovely blue skies and birds chirping and flowers, flowers, FLOWERS!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. There are still many summer days ahead of us and just as soon as I kick this nasty cough I plan to grab the bull by the horns and enjoy what’s left of it!