Creative Every Day: Bittersweet Love of Flowers, Billy Collins & Birds

Here’s my creative effort post this week as a CED participant: flower arranging. I cut these from our gardens, fields & roadsides. The entire arrangement is kinda big, 27 inches tall including vase. I love flowers, but it’s rare that I cut some & bring them in. It’s easier to just go outside & admire them where they grow. (Exception: dead of winter, when I turn so desperate that I become a tulip junkie at my local florist.) I have a lovely, floral commute to my office each day. It’s only a 75 ft. walk down the driveway to my studio, but on fair-weather mornings the trip can take up to 20 min. I’m easily distracted by all the flowers, birds, bugs, rodents, amphibians & so on. Below is a climbing rosebush as seen on my “commute,” with an impatient coworker in the window awaiting my arrival.

I almost wrote a poem this week, because I’ve been reading Billy Collins so hungrily. Wow, his work is both inspiring & daunting. I recently heard one of his poems read aloud. It reminded me that I have always loved his work, which sent me flying to our library for 3 of his books. I love his comfortable, everyday style. He’s not obtuse like some poets, so I don’t have to think when I read his poetry. I can just feel the poems. One of my favorites lately is Aimless Love. I can relate to easily falling in love with the world & most things in it — a wren, a dead mouse, a stranger, a bowl of broth — just as Mr. Collins details.

As proof of my aimless love, here is my gray catbird affair at the bitter end. I snapped one last pic of the babies. I had to approach cautiously, for fear they would jostle each other out of the nest prematurely. They had quite outgrown it by Friday, so I expected they would fledge very soon. One of the parents, with food in beak, scolded me the entire time. Sure enough, we were in Boston Saturday & when we returned home Sunday, the babies had left me. Even their empty nest is beautiful enough to merit a photo.

And while on the subject of “gray catbird love,” here’s one last photo that’s close but not quite — it’s a “gray cat in love.” With an air conditioner. Long-haired cats hate hot, humid weather so we put in his AC today. (The truth: our office copier, fax machine & printers don’t work over the summer unless we install climate control. Paper curls & jams. The AC is really for them. Don’t tell Foster!)


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18 Responses to “Creative Every Day: Bittersweet Love of Flowers, Billy Collins & Birds”

  1. Leah Says:

    Don’t worry, I won’t tell Foster! :-)

    I love Billy Collins.

  2. Virginia Says:

    A wonderful post! and thanks for introducing me to Billy Collins — how amazing is “Aimless Love” – “my heart is always propped up in a field on its tripod, ready for the next arrow”? I realize I do this all the time — fall in love with small things. And Foster, what a beauty! (CED)

    • henniemavis Says:

      My favorite segment from Aimless Love is “…I found myself standing at the bathroom sink gazing down affectionately at the soap, so patient and soluble…”

      It’s funny to think of falling in love with everything. Distressing, yet wonderful at the same time :-)

      • heatherlorin Says:

        Oh that was wonderful! I’ve never been one to search out poetry but now I’ve fallen in love with Billy Collins. :)

      • henniemavis Says:

        Isn’t he dreamy? And now you’ve fallen in love with the mug in your hand… a tree in your yard… and of course, Daisy. I’m in love with Daisy & we haven’t even met, HA!

  3. Jingle Says:

    love the fresh flowers.

  4. organicsyes Says:

    Wonderful nature! Love the wild flowers….and the kitty-cat:)

  5. peggy fussell Says:

    I am also a big fan of Billy Collins! Have you seen his poetry animated? Love.

    I also love your commute. I just stumble across the hall to my studio. Although I have been know to take the long way to work, down stairs out the door and around and back. Could take up to an hour! Especially if there is some sort of…um….traffic.

    • henniemavis Says:

      Yes! Great link, thanks for posting it. One of my animated favs is The Country. Hope that never happens to my house! I saw online that there’s also a creative-commons audio collection of 34 Billy Collins poems, read by the author himself :-)

      Funny about “traffic” on your commute. My biggest care is not spilling my coffee (dirt driveway is rutted), HA!

  6. mike Says:

    I’m praying our cat does not see this post.

    She seems so content just occupying an A/C vent, but I’d know she’d protest.

    • henniemavis Says:

      You have a cat, too? Mr. Incredible the Slasher Guinea Pig & an ocean of fish aren’t enough for your clan? Zoo heaven! :-)

      • mike Says:

        RE: Bike anxiety, I might not have typed it clearly. Well, you got me though, I totally just FORGOT the balloon until about 8PM the night before. Didn’t want to squander valuable time and helium at that point.

        But, I have to check on my bike constantly because you have all of your gear arranged just perfectly. Sometimes, your fellow competitors aren’t very friendly and they’ll move your bike out of their way, disturb your gear, just generally create a potential headache.

        My bike LOCATION was award winning! I seriously considered selling it to another racer who might have been approaching the race with a serious finishing time goal in mind.

        And you’re right, I pretty much don’t discipline the kids at all. They are too young to do anything wrong.

      • henniemavis Says:

        Re: your last 2 lines, why am I not surprised? While she’s layin’ down the law, your poor wife will probably hear a lot of “But Mom, Dad started it!” over the next, say, 15 years? You need to be paddled, big time. And she needs a supportive blog-community, not you, HA! ;-)

  7. Peggy Stermer-Cox Says:

    Hi Hennie, Wow! What an interesting blog! I had a look around, saw your video of the squirrel, found out you’re doing some running, have birds nests and made a fabulous looking blueberry pie…YUM! Your floral arrangement looks lovely; I am particularly impressed by the combination of shapes and colors. Nice pix of Foster.

    • henniemavis Says:

      Welcome, Peggy! Thanks for your sweet words. My goodness, I have very good luck with supportive comments from artists named Peggy :-)

      I can’t take credit for that squirrel video, btw, it’s a pick-up. I should probably find a way to credit it properly? There were many versions of it, but it appears to have come from a TV show on animal intelligence of some sort? Not sure. Hmmm… I’m afraid I’m quite ignorant about blogging protocol. I need to read up on that sort of thing.

  8. Stephanie-Deliberately Creative Says:

    Oh my goodness! I love the description of your commute. I have been over run with song sparrow fledglings just this morning. It was so sweet they were swarming the feeders in my yard-but then one by one the parents would stop by each baby and make sure they had a seed or two before moving on to another baby. The songs in the yard have been heavenly this week!

    • henniemavis Says:

      :-) and your description of young sparrows is wonderful, too. I love when the babies have fledged, yet still beg from the parents. It’s very cute. They are sometimes standing in the seed tray, fluttering & chirping to be fed. I picture the parents wanting to say, “Look down, fool. You are standing in food. Help yourself!” Can you tell I’ve never been a mother? I am sorely lacking the nuture-hormone, HA!

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