Posts Tagged ‘nature’


Sometime early in April, I was sitting outside on our porch, talking to my mom on the phone. I noticed a hummingbird hovering nearby, and then she darted away. And then it happened again. And then I saw what she was hovering near and decided that I should continue my phone call inside. She was hovering near her nest, anxious to protect her eggs.

Ever since we moved in last year, there has been a small nest on a plant hook on our porch. We assumed that it was a wasp’s nest or something we should avoid. But, no. It was, in fact, a hummingbird nest, one that has now been reused this year. (Also: really glad it wasn’t a wasp’s nest!)

Hummingbird on nest, April 2019

We started calling this mother-to-be hummingbird our “little friend.” She grew to be more used to us, or at least startled less when had to come outside. Our laundry room is off our porch, so we couldn’t avoid the area entirely.

In about mid-April, I saw her perched on the edge of the nest, feeding her chicks in the nest. While I couldn’t see her chicks at that point, I took her sticking her beak into the nest as a sign that they had hatched!

And then there was a period where we didn’t see her or the chicks and I wondered if something had happened. But it turns out that once hummingbird chicks can regulate their body temperature, the mother spends less time at the nest and mainly comes back to feed them.

And then, one day in early May, I saw two small beaks poking out of the nest!

Baby hummingbird beaks!

After that point, we saw them more often – first their beaks, then their heads, and then their whole bodies. One was slightly larger than the other one.

Eventually they became big enough so that they mainly sat together on the top of the nest, sometimes facing opposite directions and sometimes facing the same way. My husband made the comment that it might be boring to be a baby bird: it seems to involve a lot of waiting for food, growing, and grooming.

A closer look with a better camera (photo taken by my husband).

My husband took this picture several days before they fledged (left the nest). Two weeks ago, I noticed that one of them seemed more restless, fluffing up her wings. She even hovered above the nest for a few seconds before coming to rest back on the nest. That evening, as I was doing laundry, I turned to look at both of them on the nest and, to my surprise and amazement, she flew off!

The other one, the one who was smaller, stayed in the nest for another day and a half. She was gone by that Saturday morning when I looked out.

It was truly delightful to be able to see hummingbirds so close-up. It was definitely an honor to watch these little ones come into being.

Friday link roundup 8/4

From Rachel Schneider: On being a new parent with sensory processing disorder.

From Jessica Valenti: On being “matronly” and one-piece bathing suits.

Photographer and artist Cindy Sherman just made her Instagram account public.

Want to know more about the solar eclipse coming up later this month? So much interesting information here.

Friday link roundup 4/1

A Look to the Future for Gender Nonconforming Kids.  A mother describes her experiences with her child and looks forward to further advocacy and recognition.

Learning – and Unlearning – To Be An ‘Ambassador’ for Islam.  Writer Beenish Ahmed reflects on her experiences of being a “mostly unwanted ambassador” as a Muslim-American.

Wild river otters have been reintroduced to the New Mexico rivers.  The last wild river otter in this area was killed in the 1950s, so signs of a successful reintroduction bring hope to conservationists.

I was always amazed at how school starting times got *earlier* as I transitioned from elementary school to middle school to high school.  This New York Times article discusses how sleep deprivation hits teenagers hard.

Art director and author of upcoming book Quarter Life Poetry created several funny and poignant trailers to promote her new book.  Other millennials may relate to scenes from home, work, and dating in navigating young adult life.

Author Neil Gaiman discusses the importance of libraries – in his life, and on a greater scale.  Speaking of libraries, CNN shares photos from beautiful libraries around the world.  A New Yorker leaves stacks of books in various places around the city as a way to connect with others.

It’s April Fool’s Day!  This article recounts famous April Fool’s pranks throughout history.

Pictures from holiday trip to Arizona

Photos from my holiday trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, December 24-28.

I went with my dad and my fiancé.  It was cold and breathtakingly beautiful.  I am so grateful we went.

Winter Solstice

As fall turns toward winter and it gets dark earlier, I often feel more subdued, more quiet, more sad.

When I was younger, during this time of year, I counted the days down to solstice and longer days.  At same time, I dreaded winter. It was less the cold – although I get cold easily – and more my moods, which often felt deeper and darker.

I realize now that winter feels more internal to me. Sometimes it’s easy to think a desire to go inward as negative when I feel pushed to be out in the world.

In one of my favorite fantasy series, there’s a character who observes winter solstice – “The Longest Night” – by keeping vigil all night. While staying up is not in the cards for me, I appreciate the symbolic and ritual nature of this, the silent observation.
I appreciate solstice traditions that include celebrating the darkness and the return of the light, giving a sense of renewal.


How I celebrated this year: Today, my morning Nia class involved no verbal cues, and the focus was on internal peace and joy.  This afternoon,  I went an open space to watch Sandhill Cranes.  Tonight, I may light a candle. This Winter Solstice, I honor the darkness.  I honor the parts of me that crave silence and introspection.  I honor the parts of me that want to take flight.  I turn towards the light.

flying crane


My soul asks for…

sky and mountains

From the top of the Sandia Mountains, September 2015

you ask for a rock star
my soul asks for the silence
of desert granite and blue skies

– from June 2014

Deciding to Live Again: Recording Moments of Beauty

In the past year, I have started recording life through pictures, finding inspiration in all kinds of places – my neighborhood, the mountains, the sky.

Flower in my yard, Spring 2015

Flower in my yard, Spring 2015

In many ways, I think it’s similar to writing down gratitudes, but using a camera instead of a pen.  Instagram has also given me a tool to not only share my art work, but also share daily moments of beauty.

Two photos put together in an Instagram layout.  Santa Fe, NM July 2015

Two photos put together in an Instagram layout. Santa Fe, NM July 2015

There is something inherently encouraging and life-affirming about this practice.  It requires mindfulness to see the potential of a photograph in a scene.  It requires appreciation and awareness of the world around me.  When I was severely depressed, while I continued taking semi-regular walks, I cared less about what I saw.  Even so, being outside gave me a reprieve from shutting down.  As I began to emerge from my depression, I began to notice more.  I stopped to look at flowers close up.  I took off my shoes in a park and walked barefoot through the grass, soaking up each sensation.  It was as if I had been living for a time with my eyes closed and I was learning a new way to see, to sense, to feel.

Through my practice of photography, I capture images that make me smile.  I capture images of my life and bring more color and expression into my days.  I notice that my photographs are improving and developing, simply because of the amount of pictures I take.  Right now, I’m mainly using my phone and occasionally my digital camera; maybe I’ll try something else at some point, but right now, it’s less about the device and more about the experience.

A labyrinth I stumbled on in Santa Fe, July 2015

A labyrinth I stumbled on in Santa Fe, July 2015

When I was visiting my love in Las Vegas earlier this month, we went on a hike in the nearby mountains.  The colors, shapes, and lights spoke to both of us.  While in the past, I might have tapped my foot impatiently while waiting for him to take pictures, now I was actively stopping to point out the beautiful scenery.  As we both stopped to appreciate and record the beauty, I realized that this practice has also brought us closer together – we are able to share joy in a new way.

In the mountains to the northwest of Las Vegas, NV

In the mountains to the northwest of Las Vegas, NV, Labor Day 2015

I am truly grateful for these moments of beauty that touch my heart and soul.  They help me see how life is emerging around me, and realize how much I want to be part of it.