It is the miracle of the everyday that will continue to sustain us.
Posted for CitySonnet’s Colors and Letters May 8: With the letter T.
How can such a small creature gather so much pollen? About six years ago, researchers discovered something new about flowers and bees. Would you believe electric charges????? It turns out as a bee flies through the air, the friction of the bee’s body parts against the air causes the bee to have a slight positive charge. The flowers that attract bees have a slight negative charge. So when a bee lands on the flower, the bee’s body attracts the pollen to it and the pollen sticks! On February 22, 2013, NPR ran the spot “Honey It’s Electric: Bees Sense Charge On Flowers.” Who knew?
Another fact: a bee can collect about 15 mg of pollen on a singe foraging trip. This is about half its body weight, and a bee has to collect pollen from about 1 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey.
Bees are truly AMAZING creatures……….. and I’m glad I’m not a bee. It makes me tired just to think about it!
Far and away my true love lies
Just beyond the hill
And many a day I long for arms
That would hold me tightly still.
But far and away the grey gull flies
Quite far beyond the hill
And brings sweet memories back to me
Of a love that lingers still.
~Hannah Keene 2019.
Books Are Doorways Into Other Worlds
A bumper sticker on someone’s beloved (very) old Jeep. He parks and reads every afternoon on the street corner. The owner is white haired and has probably owned the Jeep for a very long time. Wouldn’t be surprised if he maintains the Jeep himself.
Bumper sticker in Oakland, California.
Most of you know that I am a City Girl. Having moved back to Oakland, in Northern California, three years ago, I am in seventh heaven. I love the weather, the diversity, the opportunities to attend events…….. I could go on and on.
But one thing that is guaranteed in cities, at least here in the states, is graffiti. It doesn’t bother me particularly. It’s part and parcel of urban living. But it’s not exactly beautiful. And large expanses of empty walls are basically an open invitation to “tagging,” which is the process of spray painting the graffiti.
Oakland, along with some other cities, have found what seems to be an ideal solution. Businesses hire local mural artists to display their art on the large walls. It’s a win-win situation: the artists are local, and often, but not always, people of color. The artists earn money, something always in short supply for working artists, and because they are local, the gangs, in general, don’t tag over the murals. And the works are signed by the artists and copyrighted.
I drove over to the Grand/Lakeshore Avenues area of my neighborhood yesterday afternoon (Friday) to beat the weekend rush for dog food and groceries. As I was walking out of the parking lot, I noticed that there was a brand new mural covering the faded old one. Brand new as in, “Oh my goodness, is the paint still wet???” And as I walked along it, I marveled at how well the artist had captured the Lake Merritt neighborhood. He had painted the finger of the lake that is south of me, and which is actually the larger of the two fingers and has the iconic promenade. But more than just painting the lake and the promenade structure, he had painted the birds, the various water fowl that are here in the lake. As I walked, (and I was walking from the end of it to the beginning, toward the street) I was softly exclaiming, “Oh, there’s a seagull and a cormorant. And there are the Canada geese.” And then I saw a pelican and noticed that the pelican had a sign tied on his neck with a red ribbon. The sign said, “HONK.”* It was then that I realized that the artist had painted all the species of water fowl that we have year round at the lake. So I was not surprised to then come upon the mallard ducks, and then finally the egrets. It was obvious to me that the artist was truly local, and knew the lake well. I felt that the mural had been painted with such love of the neighborhood that I caught my breath. After I got home, I looked at the photos and noticed that the mural was truly new. It was dated 8/2019.
I will present the photos in the order they are supposed to be viewed as you walk from the street into the parking lot and the stores.
Egrets and the Necklace of Lights
The ducks and a pelican. Notice the reflections in the lake and the ripples in the water around one of the ducks.
A closeup of the pelican. Notice his neck sign.*
The Canada geese. See yesterday’s post Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Animals for photos of the geese.
And at the end of the procession, a cormorant and a seagull. Notice the OWRC** inscribed on the prow of the boat.
And finally, the artist’s signature and © on the log. Notice the raccoon sitting on top of the log. You have to work to notice his mask and look even harder to see the rings on his tail extending along the log. Yes, we definitely have urban raccoons. They can be quite bold.
I hope you have enjoyed the tour!
*The sign made me think of the wonderful children’s book, The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White, in which the Louis, the swan, has no voice and so wears a bag with a small chalkboard and chalk so that he can communicate. I have no idea if the artist was purposely referencing the book or not.
** The OWRC stands for the Oakland Women’s Rowing Club, which was founded in 1916. It is the oldest continuous women’s rowing club in the U.S. The women are also known as The Ladies of the Lake.
I’m taking this a different direction today. If we were NOT Living In The Light:
We would not be able to see light and shadows play over beautiful fallen leaves.
We would not be able to see the light making patterns and changing the colors of the water.
We would not be able to see shadows.
And we would not be able to see reflections.
And we would be so much the poorer for all that.
My animals are a little different because I live across the street from a lake. And because I’ve already posted pictures of the dogs. So here it is – Canada geese! I was so excited when we moved here that I would finally be able to see a Canada Goose.
Let’s just say that my excitement has waned a little. Since Lake Merritt has been a wildlife refuge since 1870, and was, in fact, the United States’ first official wildlife refuge, the Canada geese have been stopping here twice a year on their annual migrations. However, some decades ago (no one seems to know exactly when), the geese decided that the small temperature fluctuation here in Oakland meant that Lake Merritt would make a great home year round. So…… they stayed. And thrived. And mutiplied since they have no natural enemies here. So they have become something akin to pests. However, they are still beautiful, and I still enjoy them. I’m just not so fond of the bird poop they leave all over. In quantities.
Nonetheless, here they are.
Posted to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Animals