Sunshine, goldfinches, dandelions and Mother's Day

How many days was it raining? This morning the sun broke through and the dandelions opened up in yellow brilliance and shown like stars in the backyard. With cup of coffee close by and my guitar in hand, I worked through my song book and took into the morning warming up and springing to life just beyond the patio door.

Mother Nature's, with her paint pallet of infinite shades of green, had been busy over the past week. The grass would be cut later in the afternoon and the dandelions would be getting their "haircut." Until it warmed up and dried out, my morning agenda consisted of coffee and folk songs.

The other day I mentioned seeing my first oriole of the season. That's definitely a good sign. This morning I was treated to a visit from a male goldfinch in all his splendor. Hopping around around the dandelions, picking at them and nabbing an occasional bug, the goldfinch provided me with another reminder of one of the joys of spring and early summer.

At my place, we have the variety of lawn -- as my wife learned the other day on the Wisconsin Public Radio garden show -- call "freedom lawn." There's no pesticides, fertilizers or sprinklers used at our place. The lawn does what it does and for the next few weeks the dandelions will be turning from yellow to gray. When the gray hits, the backyard becomes a seed buffet for a variety of birds that include goldfinches, purple finches, bluebirds and a few others stopping by for a snack. It's quite a sight to see those birds just outside the patio door devouring the seeds of a ripe dandelion. It reminds me of how I work my way through a big bowl of ice cream.

My Mother past away 23 years ago and the goldfinch reminded me that the Mother's Day gifts I used to give to my Mom were usually pictures of birds like hawks and owls. For some reason, she liked owls the best. They were usually small pen and ink drawings that were framed and eventually hung on the wall. Even though it's days like today that tend to re-open the wound of sadness that never really heals after the death of one so close as your Mother, I was comforted by the warmth, hope and glory my Mother Nature offered me as I sang "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."

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