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Spring in Marietta

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It’s spring in Marietta.

The deciduous magnolias dance in the breeze, their softly perfumed flowers blowsy and extravagant. This time of year, I drive slowly down Marietta’s brick streets, marveling at the sometimes perfect pairing of house to tree. This is one such, a gracious cream-colored house with a rosy magnolia confection gracing its flank. Oh, perfection.

The petals remind me of a fawn’s ear, delicately veined in pink.
Inside, the zillion stamens proclaim its tribe: the Ranales, or magnolias. They include tulip trees, sweet bays, Carolina pineapple bush, and the classic Magnolia grandiflora of Tara. Summer afternoons in Virginia, I’d bury my nose in the creamy, waxen flowers of our shiny-leaved grandiflora, vying for perfume with orange and black beetles. I can still recall the scent, though the tree has long since been cut down.I'm posting this from the parking lot of Curley's Motel in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I'm so busy taking pictures of birds up here that I haven't taken time to download any. I don't know when I'll get Net access again (I'm poaching at Curley's), so I decided to post this Sunday afternoon as I'll be traveling all day Monday.

Despite the frantic nature of my previous post, I began having fun the minute I got behind the wheel on the way to the airport on Friday. It is ever thus with big trips--the preparation is awful, but the trip itself almost erases that angst. If I didn't have so many other cherished life forms depending on me for so many things, it might not be so hard to get away. Talks went great. Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Spring Fling Festival, really fun. Terrific, kind people. Sleeping like a rock. Go figure. I guess I have to go to the Upper Peninsula to get some sleep.

Weather report from the U.P.: 38, snow squalls, peeks of sun. Don't want to guess the wind chill factor. Seen today: northern goshawk, long-eared owl, saw-whet owl. Common loons in breeding plumage. Yeah. This isn't Marietta. I have worn absolutely everything I packed--four layers including long underwear, two hats, two pairs of gloves. Off to find lunch at a restaurant near a spectacular high falls. You'll see it all in time.

Crazy moment: Cellphone rang while I was watching a common loon in breeding plumage powering by my frigid perch on a hawk observation platform. It was Bill, watching a least tern from his platform at So. Padre I. in Texas, thinking about me.

Life is good again.


Julie, so glad things are going well and you are enjoying yourself. After your last post...
Once you've had a taste of spring it feels even colder when the temps are down. Good birding!

Sweet. You were both perched in different places across the country. I'm glad you are having fun and sleeping like a log again. No worries! Have fun!

Oooh, I can't WAIT to tell you all about my U.P. adventure. All fired up. Tons o' photos. Thanks for the nice wishes. In Sault St. Marie now, with internet in my room. No more sitting in the parking lot at Curley's Motel.

My goodness, you're almost in Canada! Just keep going a little further ...

Those magnolias are lovely, nothing like that in the Black Hills. Reminds me of my grandparents house on Lake Champlain, my grandfather had a saucer magnolia in the front yard, nearly encircled by tall cedar hedge creating a microclimate in the cold north country. When it blossomed it was a magical event for kids, we felt like we had been transported to some other planet. It looked just like those in your photos.
Caroline in South Dakota

It's been far too long since I saw a tulip tree in bloom. Although it's spring here in Albuquerque, it's just not quite the same.
Enjoy the U.P., eh!

I loved your mad rant -- as you can imagine with the travel -- have been there before. I know that place so well.

It was the magnolia blooms that charmed me out of the high desert and back to Oklahoma last spring. A big tease as the November ice storm took almost every single magnolia tree out of the ground. I saw not one in bloom this year -- your post is a timely reminder of the importance of planting native trees - none of the endimics were lost to the ice storm.

And guess where I am tonight -- Ojo Sarco - full of black-billed magpies and still calling your name. She's never looked more beautiful but still courting winter.

I wish you swift travels back home.

Yahoo! So nice to hear things are going well.

You sound like me, except that seems like too many layers. I would wear real shoes and not flip-flops, I promise.

Posting from Curley's Motel... almost sounds like an episode from the Twilight! Beautiful scenes of Marietta in the spring.
Have a safe journey home Julie. Can't wait to see the photos.

Julie, WPBO thanks you for your kind words - those spoken, written, and sung, We had a blast listening to stories and wisdom words. Birding was good too. Fill-up on the bird songs of May. Look forward to that next life bird.

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