Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Signs of the Seasons - Spring

   Ah, the rites of Spring...the first crocus, opening day for the Red Sox, the running of the Boston Marathon, the arrival of the Girl Scout cookies (thin mints, please!).  For me, one of my springtime rituals is looking for where Mama Robin has built her nest this year.

    It has become a bit of a game between us, Moma Robin and Me.  Robins do not normally re-use their nests but built new ones every year.  Sometimes, however, I've noticed that they will do a "re-hab" on an old nest.  In Northern New England the harsh winters often makes that difficult so they'll re-use material from the old nest for their new home.  Robins are very territorial, coming back each season to the same general location to raise their young.  Last year the nest appeared on the window ledge of my barn so I was able to watch it secretly until a painting project scared them off after laying just one gorgeous blue egg.  They built a whole new nest in the crab apple tree and raised a healthy brood, glad to say.

  In a culture that has gotten use to having whatever they want whenever they want it, seasonal rituals become less and less important.  Strawberries in January?  No problem!

At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.

Love's Labours Lost (1.1) Wm. Shakespeare

   Celebrating and contemplating the seasons, each in their turn, is important for me. I love using my camera to record seasonal changes in the landscape. I want to embrace each season as it comes and I do not wish for another.  I want to be fully present to the joys each one provides.  Each has it's own particular jewels to offer us but I must be honest, I'm sure glad I will be in Ireland this year during Black Fly season here in Maine!


   There are contemplative possibilities in the humble Robin's nest which I was unaware of before I drafted this post - which is why I love writing them so...they lead me in all sorts of directions!  Of course, we've all heard of the old adage, "the early bird catches the worm" but there is a more profound insight we can gather from old Robin-Red-Breast.  The robin builds its nest from the inside out, being sure that it is warm and comfy before re-enforcing it with mud to protect its precious occupants.  I've often said we should make our photographs in the same way...from the inside out. You might think of other ways this could apply to your life or work.  Learn more about this wonderful little creature here. You can even listen to their lovely call...a sure sign of Spring!

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