Thursday, December 31, 2009

Considering 2010

2010 has been on my mind more often than any other new year. I've been getting serious about age and mortality and all that. There are more lifestyle changes on my 2010 agenda, but for the most part, everything will remain the same.

I’ll kick and scream about whatever I want and deliver ranting, awful posts here when they’re due. To offset the terrible stuff, I’ll be happy to tell a nice story when the mood strikes me.

Some things will never change. For instance,


my forever love of birds, nature, and photography.


For a Bluebird, I’ll always slow down and admire them. I can’t not stop and watch a Bluebird and listen to its sweet melody. It’s the little things – life’s small pleasures – that are worth my time. Isn’t it sad to know that little bird is invisible to about nine out of ten people driving to and from the shopping mall? Perhaps they're too busy texting to notice.

If I’m feeling miserable


I’ll seek out my Boston Terriers who make me smile every few minutes.


Uh oh. One lawn ornament is different from the others.

I’ll take good photos but also appreciate ones that aren’t so good, as they were taken for a reason. They’re images of my own exciting moments, silly as they may be.


I saw a white plastic bag I thought might be a Snowy Owl… what an adrenaline rush.


I don’t care how smart they are. I’ll continue to feed my pigeons and gripe and complain about them until the day I die. I’d name a few other species here but I don’t want to push the card too far, even though I could.


Regardless of the position of the sun, I’ll stop and admire a hawk, knowing that I’ll get a fantastic shot of one real soon to add to my collection. I’ve learned to be a bit more patient in 2009 and that’s a notable accomplishment for this Aries personality.

If that hawk shot doesn’t come

when Coop races overhead in pursuit of a meal,

I’ll shiver at the sound of fabric ripping


and sigh deeply at the wonder of it all.

If I can invent ways to have more time for doing things other than work, I’ll practice photographing birds in flight. Perhaps I should learn to use my camera first, after I learn how to invent more time.



I curse the most during times like this.

Northern Mockingbirds will forever be close to my heart.

I will always drop my bags on the driveway and hold my camera, just to get shots like these. Let the snobby neighbors wonder what I’m up to. Mockingbird examined me curiously as if I were a nut. I laughed and talked to this bird for five minutes or more as it perched on our golfer in the front yard. And here it goes:


Me: Well, good morning. I see you over there. It’s only me, the grape lady. Yes, we’ve met.


Bird: You’re a kook with a capital K.


Me: HA! Yes, I’m a kook. I don’t mind if you rest on that kind looking man but will you stay for a few minutes?

Bird: Alrighty then. I have a little surprise for you and this kind looking man, too.

Me: (snickering) Ok, let’s have it.


Bird: Ahhh. Get this from another angle, too, grape lady. You may zoom in a bit.


Me: I like your style, Mocker. You have personality with a capital P.

If you have not had a conversation with a backyard bird, please do. They listen. Live a little in 2010.

Lastly, I will continue to put it right out here whenever I can. I stopped the car for the sole reason to take this snapshot because, you see, I can’t help the irrational way I feel. I’ve been thinking about it for many years but never said this before. There’s a lot to be sad about in this wild world, however,


every year, there are unwanted, leftover, horizontal Christmas trees wasted on deserted, trampled lots, and I feel very sad for them. They provided shelter for birds and stood lovely and vertical for years! They had a life once and we took it away.

Now, I’m stepping backwards,

slowly and quietly,

into another room,

and I’m closing the door.

Ya’ll talk about me all you want cuz I won't hear you. I understand.

Happy New Year. Live well, laugh, love, and stomp your feet whenever you want.



NatureWoman said...

Happy New Year, Mary! I love you, your photos, and your words. I can't wait to see what 2010 brings for all of us! (And I'm VERY sad about the trees. . .).

Catbird said...

I love this post, Mary! I've been known to drag home a discarded Christmas tree to use as cover for the birds on the deck. I regularly talk to birds, in my yard and out; driving to work yesterday on I95, I said "Hi, Honey!" to the hawks I passed at 75 miles an hour. They can't hear me, but they do know they're most fine. I'm inordinately fond of mockers, too; I find them fresh and flashy, the polar opposite of my beloved bluebirds, whose song always makes me think of someone who's afraid to raise his voice because he doesn't want to bother anyone.

I really need to read my camera's manual, and I will, soon. No really, I WILL. But right now I wanna upload some of the 300 pix I shot the other day -- of one thing. Because I believe in coverage. And now in the digital wonderland, it doesn't cost me a dime to blow what would've been about 12 rolls-worth of shots. Of one thing.

And the pets. I'd be lost without mine. Right now, Fezzywig is curled up inside my Portabooth, a fold-out soundproof cube that's meant to be used as a desk-top booth for recording -- but which is now being used exclusively as cat cave. When I walk into the hallway, Bugsy will be sacked out there waiting for me to turn on the tap in the bathroom so he can have a drink, even though there's a $79.99 fountain plugged in downstairs for that purpose. Nothing says "thirst-quenching" like that personal touch. I live to serve, and hope to spend the next year doing exactly the same thing -- but more so.

Mary said...

Catbird, your blog... I was there there this evening.

So, you are OK with my sentiments? When I read that you bring unwanted Christmas trees home for the birds, I almost gave you a standing ovation. I think we are much the same when birds and cats and dogs are concerned.

I wish you the best new year ever.

Thank you!

jane augenstein said...

Great post Mary, love your photos! I am sure the birds love to hear you talking to them! :-) I talk to all my animals, mostly the horse and donkey, sometimes birds, toads and snakes when out in the fields.
Happy New Year to you and yours!
Jane and Gilly

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

A few years ago when my kids were younger, I told them I'd give them $5 to go get the neighbor's Christmas tree from the curb and put it in our backyard for the birds. Later that afernoon when I let the dog out there were FOUR curb trees in the backyard and a fifth in the driveway!

I love the close-up of the Mocker turd. B

But even more-
I love you!

KGMom said...

Catbird stole my suggestion--that the rejected Christmas trees be taken home (or somewhere) and placed for bird coverage.

So, Mary, what's on your 2010 agenda?

Mary said...

Donna, I do have an agenda with a few items for twenty ten. I'll share it early January, I hope...

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one thinking of dragging my neighbor's Christmas tree home to use for the birds. I've been eyeballing it on the street. Now I NEED to get it for my birds!

Mary, I am so looking forward to seeing what you do in 2010! Your pictures are amazing! I love coming here and being inspired by your nature photography!

I for one am so glad that 2009 is OVER. What a terrible year! My goal for 2010 is to try and take care of me. I have really let myself go this year taking care of others and just being in a survival mode.

I hope 2010 is a great year for you, Mary!

Susan Gets Native said...

Happy New Year, you sweet, ornery, fantastic woman.

Beth said...

Happy 2010, sweet, wonderful, giggly, dancing, loving, woman with eyes full of wonder that we get to look through every now and then. Thanks for sharing.

Jayne said...

Happy New Year Mary! :c)

Susan Ellis said...

My tree always becomes bird shelter for the remainder of winter too...our turkey carcass also gets wired to the picnic table to provide suet and protein...huge bird magnet, and a little weird to see chickadees pecking away at it. You've provided such pleasureable reading this past year Mary, THANK YOU and I truly look forward to lots more... Susan
PS I think it would be nice if you'd give on line lessons about how to take fantastic shots with a camera so I wouldn't have to read my camera manual.;>)

Kerri Farley said...

A wonderful post Mary! Happy New Year!

Caroline said...

I am so glad someone else got faked out by a white plastic bag snowy owl besides me! There was one last winter on the prairie east of us (the real thing), I went looking and was sure I'd found it, excited to see one at last. What a bummer to put the binoculars on it and find its most conspicuous fieldmark was "Safeway" on the side!
Best of 2010 to you.

Vickie said...

I love your heartfelt posts and your wonderful conversations with birds.

And I especially enjoyed this comment--
"They’re images of my own exciting moments, silly as they may be." I feel that so often. I enjoy quality images, but that doesn't matter so much as what I learn and how close I feel to the bird I'm enjoying.

Happy New Year wishes!

RuthieJ said...

You're the best Mare! Thank you for noticing all the sweet beauty of nature and sharing it with us. I wish you all the best in 2010!
Hugs from Minnesota!

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi Mary and Happy New Year to you and your family.
We all tend to take for granted or forget the simple pleasures in life. Then we stop by and visit you and realize what we have been missing. Thank you for that.
As a fellow Aries, I can understand the lack of patients. But like you I am working on that, but it is a slooooow process:o)
Again, have a Happy New Year. Lisa

Rose said...

Lol, Mary, don't ever change! I've had quite a few conversations with the hummingbirds in the summer, trying to convince them to pose for me for just a second--so far, their response has been that I need to be faster:)

I do wonder what happens to those leftover trees--hopefully, they are put through a chipper for garden mulch or left in a field for a roost for the birds over the winter. This is why I like the tree farms where you can cut down your own.

Wishing you a new year filled with happiness and new birding experiences!

dugfresh said...


so much to say about your post, but i can't sort it all into a concise, coherent thought.

i hear you about the trees.

i hear you about no one noticing the bluebird.

i hear you about how easy it is to neglect and ignore the little things, and about how important it really is to just stop and notice every once in a while.

i hear you about talking to birds; i do it all the time. but i think it actually scares them away. there may be a new year's resolution in there somewhere...

continuing to read your blog is one of the few things i'm looking forward to this year — the wit, the perspective, the insight, the heart and passion, and, of course, the pictures.

thank you, and happy new year.

dguzman said...

You're just the coolest, Mary.

Anonymous said...

If I don't get near the computer for a couple of days, I always have to go back to make sure I haven't overlooked one of your earlier posts. We're going to have to get your BT's a modesty patch like Dooce uses for her dog sometimes. That couch shot cracked me up!

Oh, I hope the bluebirds stay warm this week!

Unknown said...

Here's wishing you a wonderful year 2010 Mary.

jason said...

I hope your holidays were marvelously fun and fulfilling, Mary! And please keep right on doing what you do. You're a kindred spirit and I always find myself mesmerized by the way you see things.

I hope the new year brings you magic untold and beauty unimaginable. Be well!

The Quacks of Life said...

happy new year mary

Appalachian Lady said...

I like your resolutions. And, I'm going to take your advice and talk to a bird in the backyard soon. Happy New Year.

possumlady said...

Happy New Year Ms. Mary! I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels sad looking at the curbside trees. Though I have so many shrubs and overgrowth I don't think the birds need any more shelter on my land

I think the folks in my neighborhood have changed my name from Crazy Cat Lady to just Crazy Lady as early this morning in the bone chilling cold, I'm out in my front yard throwing peanuts and seeds down and pouring a bowl full of hot water onto my frozen bird bath...all in my purty pink robe and slippers, talking to the birds about the cold weather.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Mocker/golfer shots: classic.
Chloe in the crook of an arm: adorable.
The Christmas series with Bella and her toys and Chloe and her heavy head on the table: So sweet.
You: irreplaceable.