Armchair Peregrinations

Feb. 17, 2004

It's been so cold and cold for so long this winter. The days fly by, but it just seems to get more and more like winter. Instead of the first hints of spring, there's just more cold and rain, like today. Yesterday I noticed the first bird singing that I have heard in ages. We forget how much we miss that sweet and uplifting sound in the depths of winter.

It's curious, though, that in winter when the weather is cold here in the South, there is a shrub that blooms brightly and beautifully just this time of year. The camellias have been such a welcome splash of color for many weeks now. It's amazing that they can bloom in the cold weather. What a feast for the eyes they are. My mother cuts camellias every day and puts them in bowls of water. A true delight. I savor them.

Feb. 3, 2004

Walking down the street on my return to work from lunch hour the other week, I passed a row of savannah hollies I always notice on the side of the street and marveled at the way the sunlight bathed the glossy green leaves and thousands of red berries on each tree. This is the time of year when they are covered in berries and they provide such a bright and colorful counterpoint to the drabness of the winter streetscape. There are all kinds of nice little touches like that which Nature gives us in the depths of January to cheer us up. They remind us the the cycles of life and change throughout the seasons, and how some markers of the month, such as the red savannah holly berries, are reassuring reminders of the continuity of life. Even in winter, plants provide for themselves, the birds that feed on berries, and other creatures who depend in subtle way on those plants, all part of a complex ecology, miraculous when you think about it..

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