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Archive for the ‘Redwing Blackbirds’ Category

The Evangelist

Quagmired in stagnant bogs,

Eons old and motionless

The cattails stand where no wind blows

When—meadow born—a redwing lights

On solitary reed,

Proclaiming joyously the news!

“I HAVE BEEN FREEEEEEEEEED!”

Margaret Longenecker Been, ©1996

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The days are stretching out at both ends.  Every year about now, I go into a state of abject euphoria over the growing daylight and anticipation of our wet and wonderful, cold, fragrant Wisconsin spring.  Here in Southern Wisconsin, one can get euphoric by mid-February, as the redwing blackbirds will probably be back by early March.  In the past we’ve seen and heard them about 40 miles southeast, in the town of Whitewater, by the last week of February.  If we get any sort of a thaw in the next couple weeks, we’ll be Whitewater-bound for dinner at a favorite steak house there–and our first “hello” to the returning redwings.

Each year about now I get a power surge to change things around in our home, especially in my writing and painting studio which–since we moved “south”–is located at one end of our sunny bedroom.  Yesterday I accomplished a great re-do of the studio, so everything is lovelier now and more convenient.

The butt-ugly laptop, scanner and printer are tucked into an obscure corner and covered by gorgeous handwoven runners, when not in use.  Most prominent now are my easel, brushes, and paintings in process.  The accoutrements of art are beautiful, while writing  paraphernalia tends to be an eyesore in this age of technology.  Quill pens, inkwells, and parchment were indeed beautiful to behold–but not so efficient as my butt-ugly computer and attachments.  Hence the disguise, in woven works of art.

The above desk is one of two in my studio, along with two work tables.  A small TV hunkers under another woven runner.  The TV is not hooked up for reception, Heaven forbid!  It’s simply here for viewing my art tutorial DVDs, JEEVES AND WOOSTER, and other beloved British productions.

A power surge!  In a few weeks, that great silent power will surge underfoot, and we’ll have a revolution of GREEN!

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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Yesterday my true love, Joe, and I had a “normal day”–if any day can ever be called that.  Our daughter is healing amazingly well from cardiac arrest, with her faculties intact.  She is scheduled to go home on Thursday, just 2 weeks after the crisis.

Joe and I celebrated by taking time out just for fun.  We ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant, enjoying the colorful decor and friendly service in the place along with our meaty/cheesy enchiladas. 

Then we proceded to an activity which delights both of us in different ways–a trip to an antique mall.  Joe and Baby Dylan  (our corgi) relaxed in the warm van, dozing and listening to Wisconsin Public Radio while I spent a portion of infinity browsing in the store.  Since WPR sets my teeth on edge and Joe gets weary in antique stores, this arrangement suits us both.

I find it tremendously theraputic, to wander amongst old things:  vintage clothing, 40s kitchen kitsch, Victorian glassware and china, primitive pots and enamelled kettles, ornate sterling silver and silverplate, faded pictures and tattered books, and old furniture–either aged and polished to perfection, or scarred and chipped.  (I like “scarred and chipped” most of all!)

The antique mall yielded 2 treasures:  a vintage sheep picture in a gorgeous old shabby chic frame, and a Royal Albert cup and saucer decorated with blossoms and REDWING BLACKBIRDS! 

Although I love English tea pots, cups, and saucers, I have a strange confession to make.  I am not inordinately fond of hot tea!  (Iced tea, whoopee and hooray!)  I collect a plethora of tea paraphernalia just for the aesthetics, while consuming huge quantities of full strength, leaded COFFEE every day.  

This morning I’m sipping rather than chug-a-lugging my coffee, from the Prince Albert redwing cup placed on its dainty saucer.  With redwing blackbirds at hand, can spring be far behind?

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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Wisconsin begins a new year with brilliant sunshine, so lacking in recent weeks.  The price we pay for this sunshine is a thermometer reading of zero and below.

Never mind.  I always say the deep cold is good for our souls.  And with the deep cold comes a gradual, inexorable increase of daylight minutes.

At our lowest ebb in December, we had 8:59 minutes of daylight here at our home in Southern Wisconsin.  Where we lived up north, there are something like 8 hours and 39 minutes on the shortest days.  That’s a lot of darkness, and it is dreary.  I shudder to imagine what Alaska is like during the downward plunge.

But the downward plunge is worth it all!  What a joy, to welcome a new year of daylight.  Now, on New Year’s Day, we have 9 hours and 3 minutes of daylight–not including the twilight which will stretch out more and more as January progresses into February.

In about 8 weeks, the redwing black birds will begin returning.  We have a spot about 20 miles SE of us, where we will venture to see them before they fly into our neighborhood.  And hear them!  My blood surges just to think of hearing redwing blackbirds.

Meanwhile, the cheer cheer cheer of the cardinal will begin in just a few weeks–perhaps by the end of the month.  The mourning dove will start mourning sometime in mid-February.  It happens every year!

Great is Thy faithfulness, oh Lord!

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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