The first thing she does every morning once she’s out of bed is fill the kettle to start the coffee. Even before she lets the dogs out into the backyard. The dogs are accustomed to her morning routine by now. Admittedly she’s a coffee addict. It’s not the caffeine she desires or needs, it’s the taste. She can’t even wait for the coffee to completely drip through the filter into the Chemex before she fills her cup. It’s liquid gold. Once her cup is full, she pulls on the appropriate outerwear in preparation for a walk through the forest. In summer that’s cowboy boots. In winter, it’s cowboy boots, a hat, gloves and something warm and fuzzy around her neck.
Most mornings she grabs the camera because there might be some stunning wildflowers blooming, or in the fall she might get a glimpse of the local bear. Today she is bundled up. Although it’s June, her high altitude living means its 41 degrees with 20 MPH winds. Her dog, Brown Dog, is eager and galloping around, so stoked, just like every morning. She often wonders how it is that he wakes and greets everyday, without a cup of coffee, as if it’s Christmas morning. Does that enthusiasm, zest for life, and energy come in a bottle? If so, she’d like more please.
She continues making her way across the landscape to the area of the property where she knows the Pasque (Anemone Patens) flowers are blooming. The camera in one hand, and an aromatic, warm, steaming cup of coffee in the other. As she walks, she visualizes the light purple buds of the Pasque closed-up tightly because of the recent snow accompanied by ungodly sustainable winds, and colder than “normal” temperatures.
That’s Ok. Flowers at this time of year are a gift and lovely in any state they are in. As she ducks under a low branch of a Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), she hears a whirl above her. A familiar whirl. And chirping. A chirping that is clearly sounding an alarm. It takes her literally half a second to realize she’s startled a hummingbird! There’s been a steady flow of these beauties visiting the feeders for the past three weeks but lately it’s been less frequently due to the winter-like weather. She’s a bird nerd and knew they’ve been hunkered down, trying to survive the crazy, inconsistent, altitudinal weather. Her next thought: This bird must be on a nest! Hummingbird nests are some of her favorite nests! So tiny, and tucked away from the sun and weather. In spring the nests are created solely by the female bird who utilizes spider webs to allow for expansion as the chicks grow, and other natural features such as lichen to camouflage the nest and protect her young from inclement weather. She walks slowly, looking more intensely for the nest, focused on the crooks of the branches. Her excitement makes her want to see this natural, beautiful, creation that only a tiny, hummingbird can create. Now she feels like a child on Christmas morning! Excited and anxious! Then there it is. There she is! Sitting incredibly still on her nest. What a treasure for searching eyes. Her heart pumping strongly in her chest from the anticipation.
She desperately wants a better look somehow, without startling the iridescent, emerald colored bird off her eggs again. It’s too cold for her to abandon those eggs for too long. Just as she turns quietly and slowly, to head back up the hill to the house to get the bigger camera lens and her field binoculars, she sees the Pasque flowers too! The morning sunlight illuminates the purple petals, which appear to be glowing on the dark forest floor. Another gift.
The next few weeks will be filled with many natural gifts in the forest. Slowly, spring continues to unfold each day here. She is hopeful to get many more glimpses of the nest, and then the chicks once they hatch, and watch their before they fledge the nest and leave for their own adventures.
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