Every year about this time I receive spreadsheets from an ornithologist at Colby College on which to record the spring arrival dates of bird species in my region. I guess they triggered something in my subconscious.
Yesterday, snow and temperatures hovered around zero; today, rain and nearly 50 degrees. Even so, I wasn't expecting to hear a Carolina Wren calling loudly across the street when I left for work this morning. A southern bird that was a real rarity in Maine when I was a kid, over the past decade or so the resilient Carolina Wren has begun to settle in here; more and more seem to be wintering over. But it's not yet as established and abundant as the cardinal, another southern species that made its way north, or the Mourning Dove, which we take for granted now but which was an exciting sight for Maine birders back in the 1950s.
The Seattle Aquarium has made the public display of mating octopuses a very popular annual Valentine's Day event. This year, however, the spectacle was cancelled because they couldn't find a female big enough to hold her own against their 70-lb. male octopus, Kong. Giant Pacific Octopuses are normally kept separated in aquariums (and live predominately solitary lives in the wild), because they not uncommonly kill and eat one another. Clearly the aquarium did not want to promote an event in which the hapless female might experience love and death in such short order, in full view of the soft-hearted public.
Today's haiku was an actual online headline: found poetry at its best.
A new interactive website allows you to take a virtual tour of Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch's famous painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights." A trip through his fantastical triptych is a "trip" indeed, especially when you can look at it this closely.
In Bosch's "Garden"
I'm distracted by the birds
but only briefly.
Yesterday I participated in a poetry reading at Brunswick's Curtis Public Library that was part of the town's Longfellow Days. We were each asked to read a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in addition to our own work. I chose my favorite (and seasonally appropriate) "Snow-Flakes," a line of which begins today's haiku as new snow falls past my window.
This is the poem of the air--
cold syllables fall,