On this Mother's Day my thoughts naturally turn to my Mother, gone now for a number of years. She was a woman who ran track in her youth and rode horses. She was Mom not only to us but to a litany of dogs along with 5 tanks of fish, the usual collection of red sliders (before they were a problem), salamanders and newts, frogs and toads, a couple of parakeets and a box turtle.
In her later years, our back porch and garden were a refuge for her. She loved to 'sit out' enjoying the weather and watching the array of wildlife that called the microcosm of our yard home. Mom particularly enjoyed the family of three squirrels as they went from their nest in our neighbor's tree across our back fence, stopping to drink from a plastic cup or snatch an unshelled peanut or some such offering from a plastic bowl Artie wired to our fence. They would sit in the Mulberry tree munching on berries and later in the season our neighbor's fig tree having a feast.
Another neighbor's cat whom we called Fatso, would come and sit on her lap for awhile before heading home from his daily ramblings. Years later, Buddy would adopt us and spend many an evening sleeping peacefully on her lap. She laughed at the antics of our dog Roger trying desperately to catch a bee - he never did, lucky for him or Annie, quietly creeping up on a solitary honeybee to smell him and watch quizzically as he flew away. Of course, Mom loved to see the progress of our vegetable garden and whatever flowers we planted that year.
I know what she enjoyed most - the birds. For Brooklyn we do get a nice selection of birds; Mom loved watching them and listening to them sing. For a very long time, a pair of Mourning Doves were regular visitors to our garden along with the usual English Sparrows and Starlings. An occasional Hummingbird would flit from flower to flower or a Woodpecker would stop to peck the wooden clothesline pole. Very rarely, Mom would catch sight of a Finch or two. She also enjoyed the beauty of pairs of Robin Red Breasts, squawking Blue Jays and magnificent Cardinals up close as they searched the yard for something to eat or materials for nest building. Crows, Seagulls and the lone hawk or falcon would fly overhead but never visit our yard and Mom would look up, shielding her eyes with one hand, appreciating the beauty of their flight.
Later today, we will spend some time on the porch, enjoying the day, remembering Mom and thanking her for passing her love of animals and nature along to us.