On April 20th I turned 64! Hard for me to believe, but the alternative to celebrating another year is not so good so I won’t complain.
Spring has mustered all of its forces here in Denver, and we couldn’t be happier. Most trees are leafed out, lilacs and choke cherry scent the air and a riotous color palette of flowers blooms in Denver’s residents’ gardens. We do love how Denverites mix native plants with complimentary non-natives, resulting in untamed landscapes that soften the edges of urban living.
Denver’s Botanic Gardens are splendid right now with different areas of the gardens waking up in turn depending on their habitat. I volunteer at the Gardens. It’s such a lovely, peaceful experience to be still among the plants. If you are ever in Denver, please take some time to visit the Gardens. You’ll feel a sense of calm wash over you as you stroll amid the steppe life zones represented there.
The arrival of spring also means the arrival of migratory birds. For decades now, Jim and I have celebrated my birthday with a day of birding to see which of our feathered friends have returned from their wintering climes. Living in Wyoming and Idaho as we were, snow was still piled high, it was always cold, and many places were inaccessible. Though in spite of the winter weather, we always spotted mountain bluebirds – the whole point of birthday birding! Who isn’t delighted to see that patch of sky perched on a fence-post that is just barely peeking through the snow?
Our Denver birding day was somewhat different, there being no snow at all and a temperature of 78 degrees! We took the lightrail as far south as it goes to the Mary Carter Nature Center and South Platte Park Natural Area on South Santa Fe Drive and W. Mineral Avenue. We’ve bicycled the thirteen miles to the Nature Center in the past, but as I’m still not able to cycle that far, we were happy to be able to take the train.
We walked the trails along the South Platte River and spotted twenty-four species of birds including two immature bald eagles, a great-horned owl, song sparrows, meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds, nesting tree swallows, double-crested cormorants, gadwalls, and a lesser yellowlegs – the highlight of the day.
One advantage to “urban” birding, or in this case, “suburban” birding, is that you are usually within walking distance of a place for lunch. Not only was there a Panera, but there was a Starbucks and we indulged shamelessly in both of these ubiquities.
With both of us working now we have less time for retirement. Jim really enjoys working at Cycle Analyst – a bike shop that specializes in commuter and touring bikes – right up Jim’s alley. My work for an alternative energy company keeps me very busy during the day, and has slowed the progress of “Sleeping Under Yard Lights.” It’s all good.
We hope you are enjoying spring wherever you are, and that you will keep in touch with us once in a while.