Monday, August 5, 2013


It's a beautiful morning.

It's 60 degrees and zero percent humidity.  August mornings are never like this in the D.C. area.  At 6 a.m. it's usually 80 degrees and 100 percent humidity, and it gets worse as the day goes on, until you want to take cold showers three times a day to stay fresh.

The sun is just coming up and lighting the tops of the trees where I can see -- what are those, blackbirds or crows -- sitting in the top of an old oak  When it comes into my yard it will light up the rich yellow of the cosmos and the saffron orange of the tickseed, the gold of the zucchini blossoms and possibly the dark magenta trumpet of a morning glory.

I have already heard my catbird mewing.  I call him Flicker-jee because that's usually how he starts a run of vocal calls.  He is hunting on my back porch for fugitive India Strawberries.  A couple of months ago he was eating mulberries from a tree that he and his pals planted next to my fence.  I know I didn't put it there and it wasn't there 20 years ago when I moved in.

Flicker-jee is keeping a super-close eye on my pokeweed.  Yesterday while I was washing dishes I watched him pluck three berries from the poke outside my window.  Last year I watched him teach his chick how good pokeberries are to eat.

He also basically owns my birdbath.  Have you ever seen a catbird take a dip?  Of course you haven't.  They never take just one.  They jump in, splash around, duck their heads under, jump out, perch securely in the shade, and rattle the water off their feathers.  They'll do that a dozen times.

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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