Saturday, January 22, 2011


From Drop Box

We had a rare sunny January day in Portland today. The witch hazel trees planted along the Winter Interest trail at Leach Botanical Garden in SE were giving their all, a firework show of red, yellow, and a mix of the two (which I think is a representative of my favorite cultivar, 'Diane.' I used to tell a story about 'Diane' when I gave tours at the last place I worked in New Jersey.)

The most magical moment of the day was coming down Still Hill at the garden and noticing some tall Mahonia in full bloom being visited by two green hummingbirds. They went about their business for several minutes, not as though they didn't see the humans watching them, but more like they could have cared less. We soon became aware that there were more than two hummingbirds. There were more than I could count and, I'm sure, more than I saw. I think I saw about a dozen. They were in all of the blooming trees. They were perched on leafless, flowerless trees taking a break. They were zipping through the air, not far from my face, so I could hear loud and clear the sound of their wings, like a buzz and a flap at the same time. Their movement was like a dance in the air surrounding me, and I felt like I understood where people got the idea that fairies exist.

Unfortunately, such magic happens whether or not anyone has a camera. Fortunately, my cell phone didn't do such a bad job.

From Drop Box

Do you see the hummingbird? He/she is flying by the flowers of the large plant with leaves that look somewhat like holly leaves. (That is Oregon grape, our state flower!)

From Drop Box

Now do you see the hummingbird? Now picture a dozen of these flying and visiting flowers and perching on trees all around you.

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