Monday, April 16, 2007

Eagles and Orcas and Bunnies, Oh My!

Tulip fields in La Conner

One thing I can say about this place is that the seasons do express themselves with exuberance. It begins with the crocuses, peeking through the frozen soil close to the ground, and the next thing you know there are sensuous tulips and happy yellow daffodils and deep purple hyacinths, the pink and white fluff of cherry and plum trees, their petals scattering in the breeze. Bare trees begin to fill in with subtle color- rose and greens and goldens. Spring begins gushing forth like a sappy poem, coming to life so quickly and with such urgency that it’s difficult not to be suspicious of it all. Bunnies hop through the backyard, disappearing into the dense brambles that promise blackberries. Crows and eagles cavorting in the sky, little birds with twigs in their beaks preparing nests, swallows darting under the eaves. Fat robins tugging at worms from the damp earth. I feel as if we have entered some Walt Disney movie and soon all of the animals and flowers are going to break out into some corny song and dance routine. And there, across the sound, those silent snow covered peaks, reminding us to enjoy it while we can.

The other day while walking along the shoreline here in Langley I heard a loud whoosh and turned to see the fluke of a grey whale disappearing under the surface of the water just a few yards away. This is the time of year when they circle the island to feed. I watched it dip and surface several times, grazing and languishing in the blue mirror of the sound.
Meanwhile, people are hunched over in their gardens, mulching and planting, filling their chicken coops with baby chicks, sprucing up houses, planning beehives. I do my part and buy a plastic birdfeeder and a pound of birdseed and hang it from a tree in our back yard from a bent coat hanger, then smugly sit back and wait for the birds to fine me and entertain me with a feeding frenzy. After several minutes none appear, so I go inside for lunch, and when I return the birdseed is gone. A few crows are picking at the seed that has spilled to the ground, and a pair of suspicious squirrels scurry noisily in the trees above. The next day I bought a squirrel proof feeder at a garage sale and watch thes quirrels leap and swing from it, determined. Meanwhile at the farms down the road, little black lambs frolic against a verdant green, brown calves suckle, a newborn colt wavers precariously on it's spindly legs. Sometimes, it’s more than I can bear.

We are renting a house above the quaint town of Langley, and I have set up my studio in the garage, overlooking the rooftops and the Puget Sound below. This is the beginning of my 52nd year, and I can feel the burden of time in my bones. The restlessness still present but with less energy for it. Painting is the only thing that keeps me centered and sane. I am painting layers of color and I am painting the ravens in my front yard that gather in the trees when I sit outside with a cup of tea. Most days it is still cold and cloudy, with occasional blessed bursts of sun. I still long for warmth and wonder if I will last here, adapt to changing seasons and changing hormones. The ravens, my trickster totem, chortle and caw from the branches, placing their bets.


bbp said...

Susan, Susan, Susan ! I had absolutely no idea you were such a marvelous writer! AND photographer! I hope you have plans for a book. Thanks so much for a beautifully concise vision of your new life. We miss you and that handy man of yours! Email some pix of your new paintings! I am inspired by the pictures of the trees with no leaves, since that is what I am obsessed with right now.

Veronica A. Taylor said...

My dear Susan: You have such a great vocabulary. I loved all your pictures and descriptions of wheather, flowers, snow fall, and native terms. You have a wonderful blog. I have so enjoyed this today. Bryan helped me figure how to get here as I was giving him your address. I learn so much more every day. No reason to quit learning just because I am so old now. Hehehe. It was like having you over for tea and chatting. Thankyou so much. Love and Prayers, Ron

lisa said...

Susan: I love seeing the island through your eyes. We miss you, but I wouldn't trade your words for anything. Lisa

lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.