Beyond to spring

I met the moveable feast of Spring a bit ahead of schedule; found it spread with sun among the mountains and laughed at my urge to escape the last bitter days of a too long winter.

Where shade lies deep in hilly woodlands, trilliums were hurried to bloom in the unseasonable heat of an early March day.

Patches of bluets frosted the early green of grass at our feet and tempted the eye of passing butterflies.

Among the leaf mold on rocky hillsides we found hepatica blooming and the promise of dogtooth violets in the dampness alongside the river.

Lush ferns and mosses trailside hinted at the beauty that’ll come later when the mountain laurel and rhododendron bloom above them.

With any luck, I’ll find these same beauties closer to home in a couple weeks, with the same wonder and hope in my heart, reaching still for something beyond.

Spring… have you wandered to find it yet?


On notice

Everyone (!) at my job was officially notified today that for reasons of economy and efficiency we are subject to layoff effective May 1, 2009.


The fact is that within our agency (Planning and Resources, Social Services, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Office on Aging, Office on Disabilities, and Veteran’s Internment) ten positions are being abolished. Ten people (some of whom are my friends! and have worked there for 20+ years!) received individual notices of layoff today. We all received a general notice of layoff or demotion because of the kooky way that civil service works…

If someone has what’s called displacement or *bumping* rights, they can exercise that right against another employee’s position in order to remain employed. The *bumped* employee may also have displacement rights and cause the layoff or demotion of another employee in a lateral or demotional position. Sort of a domino effect from top to bottom.

So while my position or that of anyone else in my unit isn’t in jeopardy, there’s the chance that any of us could be bumped into a lesser position (if we’re lucky) or bumped right out the door if there isn’t some other unfortunate soul with less seniority.

Makes for great morale and a pleasant work environment, really.

Image lifted from here.

A box of goodies

The magic of a good teacher-naturalist lies in live props, I think.

Tonight was the children’s program at our monthly Audubon meeting and this guy had the kids enthralled with his box of tricks… tree frogs and turtles and the hugest boa constrictor I’ve ever seen.

Every kid had the chance to (gently) touch each animal and that goes a long way to keeping their attention, of course. I wish that our chapter did more outreach to kids in the community to get them interested in nature, but this program for kids once a year is the best we can manage, usually.

Snow crazy

Like snow-crazed dogs everywhere, Luka considered all that white fluffy stuff as a grand excuse to play!

While I was busy digging my car out… he busied himself with uncovering his basketball. He liked for me to toss the ball into a fresh patch so that he could plunge his whole head under the snow and push the ball along with his nose like a seal.

It took hours to shovel enough of the driveway to get my car out… mostly because Luka insisted on playing fetch the whole time! (Fetch is mainly about throwing the ball for him and then wrestling him to the ground to get it back.)

He made the chore fun at least… sometimes I think if it weren’t for him I’d hardly have an excuse to play anymore. With Luka, I can roll around in the snow like a kid and get away with it.


Robin invasion

We had near to a foot of snow finally; it blew into great drifts that swallowed Luka whole. The neighbor’s catalpa served as a staging area for the robins and cedar waxwings waiting for a turn to drink from our little fishpond. The deep end is free of ice thanks to a bubbler constantly churning the surface, the shallows a tea-colored slush from the oak leaves accumulated under the thin ice.

The holly tree out front kept a small army of robins fed today, their plump bodies colored for spring. I want to feel sorry for them out there in the cold and snow, but they seem content enough, even if they don’t look it.

Checking in

I’m trying out this *blogging without obligation* thing lately, have you noticed?


My camera’s been collecting dust this week and that makes it hard to write anything here. Anyone else mostly write that way; with an image to spark an idea to write about?

Anyhow… I thought I should check in and let you all know that I’m still alive and busy and running around like the proverbial chicken without a …

Hope everyone’s having a nice weekend!