Hungry for Iowa

Spring Along Our Gravel Road

Spring is lovely along our Iowa gravel road.The rain washes away the dust kicked up by cars passing by, so the foliage is a deep and vibrant, soothing green. Every day is a feast for the senses.

The lingering scent of rain from a night time thunderstorm.
Toads betrayed by small movement in the grass.
Does hiding the shadow.
Cardinals singing in the treetops.
The stream rushing and gurgling under the bridge.
Goldfinches fighting for their turf in low bushes.

Each spring morning, I rush outside to greet new blossoms.
First the magnolias, the rhododendron, the red buds, and the daffodils.
Then the bleeding heart, the tulips and the lilacs.
Now the iris, the clematis, and the columbine.
Soon the peonies and the daisies.

I can’t bear the thought of missing the arrival of these friends. So most years, I stay home in May, determined to fully savor its beauty. But not this year. Not this week. Tomorrow, we pack the car and leave the beauty behind for a few days. I hate to miss the arrival of the peonies and daisies. But I know how much my daughter misses our gravel road after a year in Ohio while her husband finished grad school.

She misses the ancient silver maples in our yard,
The sight of leaves and grass,
The smell of trees and space and flowers,
The fairy ring where she played as a child,
The regularity of a gravel road each mile,
The greenness found only in Iowa,
Beloved by Iowa girls like my daughter and me.

She’s hungry for her home state, as I was during the seven years Hiram and I lived in South Dakota. So hungry, I could hardly bear it. So eager for a taste of home, I lived for my mother’s visits and feasted on the time she spent with us.

My mother left her roses,
And her yard work,
And her rhubarb,
And her invalid husband
To feed her daughter a taste of home.

So the peonies and daisies will have to bloom without us. Hiram and I are off to see our daughter and new son. Packing our car with Iowa air and comfort. Eager to share our feast with our hungry, Iowa-starved children. Bringing them the taste of our gravel road as my mother once brought a taste of home to me.

Ten Reasons to Walk on Spring Mornings

I’m an early riser and try to start each day with a walk. The practice is good exercise in every season, but a spring stroll is also a delight to the senses. Here are ten reasons I love to walk outside on a fresh spring morning.

10.  Sunrise.

9.    The yellow-green tree leaves are such a happy color.

8.    The red buds blooming in the wild ravine down by the bridge.

7.     Frogs singing in a pond dappled with early morning sunshine.

6.     Knock-kneed fawns running every which way when their mothers turn tail and run.

5.     Wild plum trees blooming along the fence rows.

4.     The scent of lilacs on the breeze.

3.     Cardinals singing in the treetops.

2.     Crab apple petals turning the air pink and white as they float through the air.

1.     The new growth surrounds me with the promise of Easter – new life in Christ.

Ruby-Throated Grosbeak

Mornings on my gravel road have been glorious this week. The sky’s a bright blue, the temperatures are cool and the humidity is low. The birds are so entertaining, its hard to finish my walk. I stop to watch them and lose track of time.

A few weeks ago the orioles were everywhere  – flying across the road, singing in the trees, perched on fence lines. But they must be busy hatching eggs and giving their younguns flying lessons because I haven’t seen them all week.

The indigo buntings are exceedingly shy this year. The first sighting came after Memorial Day and I’ve seen them only once since then. The goldfinches haven’t shown themselves much either, which concerns me. Usually the indigo buntings chase them out of their territory, and that’s when I get a good glimpse at both of them. Cardinals and robins are everywhere, along with more bossy bluebirds than I like to have around.

A few weeks ago a beautiful song, high in a tree top, led me to a new find, the ruby-throated grosbeak. I didn’t identify the critter. My friend Cindy did that, using my sketchy description. Since then, I’ve heard the song often, but with the trees in full leaf, locating the songster is a challenge.

But yesterday, one burst into song up by my neighbor’s house. I located the bird, a little scruffy around the edges, in the branch of a dead tree and snapped a few shots using a telephoto lens. Too bad  I didn’t have my tripod to get rid of the camera shake.

So here’s a bit of my gravel road: a bird, a blue sky and bit of camera shake. Enjoy!