I saw some beautiful sunflowers this summer, in fact numerous varieties. My favorite — name wise was a variety called teddy bear sunflower (I have always been partial to bears). Looking at the bushier ones (you can see them in the background), the name is most appropriate. Some of the other varieties of sunflowers were both taller than my son Patrick and myself, and we are not exactly garden gnomes. Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers of summer. Their name in French — tournesol describes them aptly: turning toward the sun. I have tried planting them in the small yard I have here, but there has never been enough sun. When I did plant some in a planter box on my former landlord’s car port where there was more sun, the squirrels took delight in never letting them reach their proper height, by trampling on them, or chewing off their heads, as well as breaking them off, before they had had a chance to unfold their beauty. My fondness of wildlife — squirrels in particular — at that point was rather diminished by such crude behavior. My cat Calvin can’t keep an eye on them either at all times unfortunately, so sunflowers have been off the summer garden planting list in Oakland since then.
Doing my feeding duty to stock up on cat food for my “Haustier” (translated from German that means house, or domestic animal), and replenishing a bag of bird seed as well, I wandered into an unknown aisle on my way to the pet supply store cashier, and came upon “Lizard Litter” — prompting a loud laugh at the sight. What will they think of next? I have been the reluctant recipient of various sections of lizard in the summertime before, proudly brought home by my cat Calvin — for which I praised him of course, as it was a present — but then disposed of right away, sometimes helping a tailless, but happy and relieved lizard regain his outdoor status. To keep them as “pets” seems against nature to me, but to actually sell lizard litter — absurd. What’s next, toilet paper and air freshener? I can’t make heads or tails of this matter.
A recent wave of warm weather, has caused the elms in my neighbors’ yard to sprout fresh green leaves, while at the same time dropping their blossoms. When a sudden wind gust comes up, it looks like it is snowing, as the little petals dance and drift through the air.
Many red flowers are blooming now, and this has attracted quite a few hummingbirds — my favorite birds. Sometimes they fight and chase each other at breathtaking speeds, all the while chirping at the top of their voice. God’s most delicate bird. One erred into my loft just last week, but got out by himself. I have had to help a few baby hummingbirds over the years, who would fly against the window, unable to find their way out. It is a miracle to hold something so soft and delicate in your hands. The hummingbird you see here, I carved and painted on a ceramic tile.
May red flowers and hummingbirds brighten your week, and don’t step in any lizard litter.
Today was Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. In the Lutheran churches I have attended here in California, they often use real palm leaves to decorate the church, something reserved for warm climates, unlike my native country, where the crocus and snow drops are still struggling to welcome Easter this year I’m told. In some years, depending on which date Easter falls on, the daffodils shine brightly in the sun for Easter in all their yellow, orange, and white exuberance. The literal translation from German for daffodil means Easter bell (Osterglocke).
The photo above, is of some palm leaves I had the privilege to photograph in Venezuela some years back. I love the symmetry of the leaves, and the soft light falling through them.
Palm Sunday is almost over. Now comes the walk to the cross of my Lord on Good Friday, and then the joyous Easter celebration of his resurrection on Sunday.