The Old Crabapple Tree

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

~Robert Louis Stevenson, (1850-1894) Scottish writer

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There is an old crabapple tree in our yard.  I suspect it is at least 40 years old.  Each year we contemplate taking it down to avoid our yearly battle with apple scab.  And yet, every spring when this tree blossoms and plays host to its variety of birds we decide to keep it around for another year.  I simply refuse to remove a tree that continues to make me smile!

Listen

“The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, no objects to be exploited.  Everything has its own voice.  Thunder and lightning and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees — all these have voices and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.”

~ Thomas Berry (1914-2009), Catholic priest of the Passionist order

(Quote via ourhabitatgarden.org)

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The Northern Flicker is a woodpecker that often excavates nest holes in dead or diseased trees.  As I strolled my property I heard, and then discovered, one hammering on a dead tree.  I hoped that a nest was being built!  It turned out that this handsome bird was not in the market for a home, but I did get a chance to take a few photographs.

Open Your Eyes

Open your eyes that you may see
The beauty that around you lies,
The misty loveliness of the dawn,
The glowing colors of the skies;
The Child’s bright eager eyes of blue,
The gnarled and wrinkled face of age,
The bird with crimson on his wing
Whose spirit never knew a cage;
The roadsides blooming goldenrod
So brave through summer’s wind and heat,
The brook that rushes to the sea
With courage that naught may defeat.
Open your eyes that you may see
The wonder that around you lies;
It will enrich your every day
And make you glad and kind and wise.
~Emma Boge Whisenand, Open Your Eyes

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As a Minnesotan, I find the fact that the Great Egret is native to my state to be amazing.  Seriously!  This is a shot of an egret during mating season.  Doesn’t this bird look too exotic to be sitting on a branch in a local Minneapolis wetland?

According to allaboutbirds.org, the pristinely white Great Egret gets especially dressed up for the breeding season. A patch of skin on its face turns neon green, and long plumes grow from its back. Called aigrettes, those plumes were the bane of egrets in the late nineteenth century, when such adornments were prized for ladies’ hats.  I’m glad that tradition has gone out of style.

As a nature photographer, I count myself blessed whenever I open my eyes to see a sight such as this one!