It is springtime in Colorado. Well, actually it is springtime all over the United States and elsewhere, but I currently live in Colorado so I will talk only about our spring. And it is decidedly spring right here. Know how I know?
We have a hedge of boxwood bushes along the front of our house, starting right below our bedroom window. Since we have lived here (so, for over 20 years), a flock of chickadees has lived in those bushes. I see them fly in and out. Sometimes one or two might stand watch on the garage roof or fly in and out of the gutters, but mostly they just hang out in those bushes. When we trim the bushes, they make themselves a bit scarce, but they don’t seem to mind. They know they can come back. And they always do.
I like the little birds. During the day I can sometimes hear quiet chirping letting me know they are still there and doing little birdy activities right there in my bushes. I don’t want the chickadees to leave. I just want them to know that we are in a fight.
Now that it is warm out, I like to open my bedroom window at night. During Springtime in Colorado, the nighttime temperatures cool down to the high 40s or low 50s, and it makes for great sleeping with my comforter over me and my husband next to me. But birds are early risers. Would you like to know what time my chickadees arise?
It’s like they have a little birdy alarm clock. They don’t start chirping at 3:58. They never choose to sleep in until 4:07. Every morning they begin their day at four o’clock. Therefore, so do I.
Sometimes I awake around 3:30 or 3:45 and can anticipate the chirping by closing my windows. Doing this allows me to “sleep in” until 5:45 or 6. Otherwise, I am – as they say – awake with the birds.
Here’s a funny thing about my birds. In our back yard, we have house finches. I put out a bird feeder, and sometimes it’s covered with the sweet little birds. The females are brownish/gray and the males – as God so unfairly prescribed in many species – proudly boast a beautiful orange head and breast.
But the house finches and the chickadees – well, in the words of Rudyard Kipling….
OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neigher East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!
I never see a chickadee in our back yard nor a house finch in our front yard. It’s like Dr. Seuss’ Butter Battle Book.
But, for the first time ever, I did see a goldfinch at our bird feeder….
So beautiful. Apparently he’s choosing “butter side up….” (back to Butter Battle Book reference).
Another surefire sign that it is springtime in the Rockies is the weather pattern we are now experiencing. Warm mornings with mostly blue sky turning into cloudy afternoon with severe thunderstorms. This pattern will take us into and through much of June. Not every day, of course. But we are definitely in that pattern this week.
Bill doesn’t park his car in the garage. He has a fancy-dancy sports car that gets his spot in our two-car garage. So he worries when we are in this weather pattern because “severe thunderstorms” generally include hail.
Yesterday afternoon as the sky darkened, he informed me he was going to go to Walmart so that he could park the car in the covered garage. I was delighted, as I had some things I needed and didn’t relish the idea of going myself. I couldn’t go because I was in the middle of making blueberry preserves. (Yum, by the way).
While he was gone, the sky got darker and the tornado sirens began wailing. I turned on the news to learn that, while we were definitely in the tornado range, it was centered more to the northeast – right by Denver International Airport, where Jen was in the process of dropping off Maggie, Austin, and Lilly following their week’s visit.
My phone rings. It’s Bill.
“I’m here at Walmart and they have hustled us all back to the shoe department for safety, so I will be awhile,” says he. Apparently flying shoes aren’t as big a concern as flying hunting gear or cutlery or women’s-sized blue jeans.
“Have fun with all of your little Walmart friends,” I told him, stirring my blueberry preserves and listening to my telephone incessantly give me warnings about an imminent tornado.
Shortly after the warnings lifted, my phone rings and it is Jen.
“I have just been in the tornado shelter at DIA,” says she. “We were there for quite some time. In fact, Maggie had to nurse Lilly at one point.”
As for Austin? According to Jen, he just couldn’t understand why everyone was so concerned about the “tomato warnings.”
And just for the record….
Tomatoes are considerly less dangerous.