Saturday, April 28, 2007

The grosbeaks have arrived

The grosbeaks have arrived.

This one likes the suet.

In flight

in flight

hanging upside down from the suet cage

Notice the Carolina chickadee in flight in the lower right. Look at how wide his wingspan is.

The female is on the left; the male is on the right.

A welcome harbinger of spring

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Senseless tragedy at Virginia Tech

I'm from the DC suburbs of Northern Virginia, about 4 hours from Blacksburg where the shooting deaths of 32 innocent occurred yesterday at Virginia Tech. I've visited Blacksburg many times and took both my kids there on pre-college tours. My son attended two years at Radford, only 15 miles from Blacksburg. Virginia Tech was my second choice for college - I attended William & Mary.

So it's not THAT close to home,
but it is WAY too close to home.

So many unanswered questions.
Who did this and why?
Why did the university seem so slow to react?
Could anything have been done to end the rampage sooner?
Should we tighten gun-control laws?

Each of these questions and many more will be asked and answered over the coming days, weeks and months.
But none of the answers can provide true comfort for the families of those murdered and injured.

When something like this happens, it causes an immediate reaction of disbelief and shock.
It's Kubler-Ross' five stages of grief, each of which we must endure after any trauma.

I feel the sense of shock now,
as the sun rises to begin a beautiful spring morning with a bit of chill in the air.
Reminds me of 9/11/01, a beautiful fall day,
another day of tragedy
that lead to much greater tragedy than even the 19 guys with box-cutters could have hoped for.

Why do we react in such a way?
Do such events awaken in us the slumbering realization
that we too are mortal,
and that our time must come one day,
that life is temporary,
but death is permanent?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Springtime in Nashville

I took these pictures a couple of weeks ago on my lunch break at the Bicentennial Mall near downtown Nashville. Since Blogger will not position my captions correctly, I'm going to describe the pictures up front.

- A dogwood tree frames a distant view of the Tennessee Tower.
- It was a perfect day for kids to play a spirited game of Frisbee.
- Redbuds are my favorite springtime tree.
- Pieces from the Parthenon renovation are placed around the park.
- Blooming azaleas up close
- Younger visitors the world, which is suspended on water. I doubt they notice the irony of the nearby picture of the A-bomb - signifying the end of WW II. Let's hope this generation can make a better world than mine.

Wild turkeys in the front yard

I stood on our front porch yesterday morning and snapped these pictures of a wild tom turkey in our neighbor's front yard. The sun had just risen and was backlighting his feathers from my perspective.

He follows his flock of females around, spreading his feathers as if to impress them. Most of the females appear to pay no attention to him.

He is part of a flock that lives in the 150+ acres of woods and fields behind our house. Sometimes at sunset we see the huge birds jockeying for roosting positions in the tall trees, and we often observe 12 or more of them in the woods. They particularly like to scavenge for birdseed that falls from our bird feeders. They sound particularly comical in the woods, as if they are telling jokes. A long period of silence will be broken by excited gobbling, as if one of them has told a good joke.