I mentioned them last fall, when they stood sentry in witness to all the other flowers that had passed onto their next life. They are my neighbor’s Black-eyed Susans joyously exploding from out of the huddled greenness of the Hostas below. They are a brazen spit-in-your-eye kind of flower that knows just how much they should be admired.
In contrast to the sassy Black-eyed Susans, Day Lilies are demur and somewhat shy. They stand tall like their brilliant yellow compatriots, but they are quiet about it. Maybe it’s because deer eat their tangerine pedals so they prefer a “we’ll stand quietly over here in the corner” strategy.
Then there is the Coreopsis, stung by their moniker “average height.” They’ve swiped brilliant yellow with a paintbrush from the Black-eyed Susans, stolen a dollop of Day Lilly tangerine, and then artfully combined them in a kaleidoscope pattern. They are like an angel fish trying to get noticed in a coral resplendent with eye-popping colors.
Before leaving this congregation of flowers that worships summer within eyesight of my morning coffee, let’s not miss the droopy Cone Flowers which seem to forever hang their heads in shame. But why? They are beloved by bees and butterflies. Faded purple pedals surrounded by one-eyed heads, they droop downward like a dog’s ears when it’s been admonished. I wonder about Cone Flowers and how to raise their self-esteem.
Now enter the magicians of the morning. Without a sound a little Flicker alights on the metal mesh of the suet feeder and pecks for seed. In the Woodpecker family, it is a petite version, both sweeter and quieter than its more militant cousins. Yes, I am anthropomorphizing this bird as I did the flowers, but if I know I’m doing it doesn’t that mean I still have my faculties?
Sparrows dominate the feeders but there isn’t just one kind. In fact, they have confused me with their manic, in and out nervousness, and minions of variety each carrying their family traits and yet different birds. Chipping, White-throated, White-crowned, Fox, Song, Field, and Tree sparrow — each a little different but still sparrows. They attack the feeder in groups, some standing watch on the neighbors gutter before flitting down to replace one that has vanished. They are worried about that hawk.
The Red-tailed Hawk is our neighborhood Watch Commander, rarely seen but always present and ready. Voles, rabbits, snakes, squirrels, even an occasional unwary fish hanging out too close to the surface will be a meal for our hero. Now and again I have seen her perched high on a telephone pole with the thin tail of a rodent emerging from clinched talons.
But lately this summer, she has had competition from the osprey who seem to be hunting over our homes and the thickets that run along the railroad tracks. They circled and performed a sky dance with loud cries during mating season, but these days just seem to be announcing their presence as they fly over. All the other birds scatter and then the flowers and me are left alone.
On this day, my morning coffee ended with me starring at the Verbena. They could be someone’s idea of a weed growing in chaos every which way, except for those purple singed-with-white pedals that have “I was planted here on purpose” written all over them. Enjoy your coffee.