Two ravens sharing a tender moment. A few weeks ago, Matt took me hiking to the top of a cliff where he climbs. He had seen the remnants of a nest tucked into a notch in the rock, and wanted to check it out. While he rappelled down with the camera, I waited at the top with my binoculars, watching a pair of ravens. They preened one another and hopped and touched beaks and talked, and one did little flying loops of love off the cliff edge and back to its mate. They completely ignored Matt and I. Getting to see this was so sweet, and so unexpected. When Matt climbed back up, he had pictures of a beautifully woven nest of coarse sticks, with a soft bowl in the middle, and three speckled eggs, which you can just barely see...
Each time it has snowed since then, I think of the ravens up there, tending their nest, looking out over the mountains and the weather. We won't disturb them again, but I hope to glimpse baby ravens from a little further away.
Snowflakes are still flying here every day, but arugula is sprouting in the cold frame, and thanks to Matt's industry over the past week, the vegetable garden paths are mulched. I've pruned most of my roses, raked up many piles of debris, and miracle of miracles! not stepped in any cat crap yet. I've had my first un-neighborly conversation with the woodchuck, who is fresh out of his dirty hole in the ground. I was happy to see him, but don't tell him I said so. I also had a fit of inspiration and dug out a slew of perennials that were never my favorite, to make room for a rowdier bunch of exciting annuals to come.
And Matt and I have been talking about future plans, which involve leaving this home for another... A dream that is reviving to the soul. Do you know that song from Sweeney Todd about London? Well part of it goes there's a hole in the world like a great black pit. And that line rhymes with shit. And if your husband adapts that song to the town you live in, well, you know the effect of your city's charms have worn off and it's time to move on.
This might look like Three Beasts, but I assure you, it's not: it's just one little rabbit, going bonkers. Because it's that time of year, you know.
The original drawing is available in my shop, right here: Wild Little Bunnny Rabbit.
Happy spring, everyone! Hope you are celebrating, too.
Norton in the ghost garden. A little something different this week, in memory of my parents' cat, who died a few months ago. He haunted my mom's garden even when he was still of this world. If you were out on a lovely night, enjoying the stars and the summer insect noises, and something small went stampeding past, rustling the undergrowth... It was Nortie. It was never quite clear if he'd been spooked by some spirit we couldn't see or understand, or if he was the one doing the spooking.
I'm bad at remembering dates, or even years, of when important things happened. That's why I'm so pleased with myself for having posted the blooming of these little harbingers of spring three years in a row, because they are important to me, and I like knowing that they are perfectly in tune with their own particular climatic requirements. I don't know if day length has anything to do with it, but they do like warmth and sunshine, and perhaps a song sparrow to serenade their emergence...
Here they are blooming March 22, 2011 and February 22, 2012.
Labels: crocus tommasinianus
I got to draw two very special rats for a recent pet portrait commission. I have never known a rat well, though I do have names for the ones who frequent my compost pile, and when I bring them something especially delicious (like moldy winter squash with stale baguette and a sprinkling of coffee grounds with wilty cilantro on top), I recite the menu for them. I have a better appreciation for my wild city rats now, after studying the photos of these two sweet pets, and reading stories from their loving owner.
Crazed squirrel taking five. Everyone is acting a little nutty around here, what with the lengthening daylight and the thrill of spring on the breeze.
I've discovered there's a challenge in this beastie project, and here it is: not only do I have to draw one beast each week, but I also have to draw ONLY ONE beast each week. There are so many other projects on the table, but the temptation is to push them aside and keep drawing little animals until I get one I like. Finishing one, then heaving it over my shoulder into the pile of rejects and shouting "well this is a piece of crap!" is not productive. So, sometimes I've got to post something I'm not real proud of, to stay on target. That's just part of the Grand Mediocrity of things, I guess. Which is not a judgement on this squirrel. This squirrel has his own problems to deal with, none of which concern my rendering of him.
This is the very best time of year, I'm sure of it, because it is so full of anticipation. While the dreary weather is still something we have to haul our withered souls through in hopes of just one crocus... Well, the wishing is the sweetest part, right? And other than the very first bird song, nothing else has been and done yet. We have it all to look forward to. And also, the neighborhood cats are pissing on everything (isn't that great?).