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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thanks, Mom!

Spring has a splendid progression, as orderly as a military march.  The crocus and daffodils come first, blooming even when winter lingers around the edges.  Then the bluebells, whose buds have grown bulbous with promise, sprinkle the ground in periwinkle blue.  The forsythia are not to be outdone and join in with a gush of yellow.  Now the dogwood’s hazy blossoms turn white or pink, and the trees in their new princess dresses dance in the breeze, a ballet outside my window.  Not to be outdone, the azaleas open, one bush after another, in ardent pinks and reds.  We’ll have rhododendron and peonies and roses all in the order of time.  Who cares about allergies when such a visual feast is laid out before your eyes.  Holy cow, Mother Nature, way to go!

And if Mother Nature doesn’t impress you with that, well, how about this?  About a year ago, I saw two eagles flying over the Dullas Overpass.  No one believed me; they told me it must be two of our area’s turkey vultures, but I’ve seen turkey vultures, and I’ve seen eagles.  I'm telling you, the eagle is a damn big bird, and those were eagles. 

I have been validated!  The convocation of eagles (yup, not a flock) along the Potomac River has grown so big that the birds are expanding across the area.  A few weeks ago a birder friend invited us around the corner to look through his telescope at a bald eagle nest.  There sat the female on her nest, with straight and regal posture, very high up in a very tall tree incubating a full clutch.   

A very big nest, very high up

I thought of her the Countess of Oakton, but then I thought, oops, we gave up royalty over 200 years ago, and  the bald eagle is the symbol of our democracy, and a noble title isn’t very apt.  Too late.  In my head they are the Earl and Countess.  Sadly we did not see the Ear.  I suppose he was out having a drink at his club. 

I haven’t been out to see them again.  In a moment of rare grace (yes, yes, after four years of ballet lessons), I ran smack into the heavy bench at the foot of our bed and whacked my pinkie toe.  I learned, for the first time in my life, the meaning if exquisite pain, pinpointed and sharp.  I thought maybe I’d broken it, but a good google and a conversation with a nurse friend convinced me it was “merely” sprained.  My forefoot  swelled and turned a mesmerizing shade of purple.  The toe itself ballooned into a fat, sausage.  I took Aleve and applied ice packs.  I soaked in Epsom Salts.  I could all but see my blood traveling through the veins, each cell toting off excess saturation. 

My foot is back to normal size and color, and the sausage toe looks almost like a regular toe.  I think, “Wow,  the bluebells, the eagles this, too.  Well done, Mother Nature, very well done!"


  1. Thank, Valarie and Tara. Sadly, the eagles haven't been seen in the past month (it is now July 15). We hope the family has returned to the Potomac to teach the baby how to fish.