Sunday, May 13, 2012


Springtime in Brooklyn and we're having an unusually beautiful spring. It's also Mother's Day, in years past a day of celebration but more recently a day of remembrance as our Mom is no longer with us.

I spent Saturday morning and part of this beautiful Mother's Day morning on our back porch with Annie, enjoying the blue sky, soft breeze and warm sun. My yard is turning into a wilderness and I need to formulate a plan of action for getting it back into shape. There will be quite a few days of removing dead mulberry tree branches, sweeping up leaves and tree debris, pulling weeds, turning earth and winding the new growth from my wild climbing roses on the metal U-shaped garden arbor it now covers by a third. Occasionally, city sounds intrude breaking the morning peacefulness, a reminder that we are in the city after all.

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.
Happy Mother's Day! 

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