It is possible, I suppose that sometime we will learn everything there is to learn: what the world is, for example, and what it means. —Mary Oliver
I share Mary Oliver’s delight in exploring the unknown. Today, for example, I’m reveling in all there is to learn about this plump, juicy pineapple guava–an exotic fruit that I just now tasted for the very first time. Wow, is it ever good! It’s similar to a kiwi in size and texture, and it tastes like a tropical smoothie. A sweet indulgence, born of curiosity and mindfulness.
This Swallowtail visited my garden, earlier this week. It perched itself on a nearby Pentas Nova, oblivious to the camera slung around my neck and the pruning shears I carried.
It lingered for a long while, basking in the sunlight and sipping nectar.
I snapped a quick photo and then observed quietly from a distance.
I was mesmerized by the slow, steady rhythm of its beating wings and the seemingly infinite patience it demonstrated as it unfurled its proboscis and drew it up again, probing for food in one flower and then another. A metronome of the natural world, its tempo was unaffected by the take-offs and landings at the bird bath adjacent, fluttering palm fronds, and the swirl of activity at the goldfinch feeder.
And in those singular moments, I was a student again, learning life lessons in nature’s classroom.
Our backyard critters were unusually quiet, save for the Monarch butterflies that drifted through the milkweed, laying eggs, and the honeybees that swarmed the birdbath.
Hummingbirds performed aerial feats against a backdrop of shimmering palm fronds. But they eventually called it quits, and retreated to the leafy shade of our Brazilian Skyflower.
A lizard skittered across the blistering concrete, looking for a dark, cool place to nap.
It was unseasonably warm, and the afternoon breezes did little to cool things down. But the blazing sun is fading now, ever so slowly. A warm glow has fallen over the neighboring hillside, and temperatures are dropping.
He seems innocent enough, and as cuddly as can be…
But looks can be deceiving!!
So I’ve surrounded the most vulnerable (read: tasty) plants with a rabbit guard fence. It’s worked out well so far…my flowers are thriving, and the bunnies, birds, and butterflies are co-existing in peace.
(You can download this last image for your personal use, but please keep the watermark intact.)
I’m settled into my backyard glider, watching the hummingbirds sip nectar from native wildflowers and then zip across the sky.
Earth Day is tomorrow, I just remembered, and I’m hosting our Art Challenge on this blog.
But first, I will watch the sun slant through the palm trees, and listen to the sparrow’s lullaby. I am a child again, sitting in my Nana’s porch swing and blowing dandelion wishes into a rainbow-sherbet sky.
We’re so easily distracted, all of us. We lose sight of what’s important, ignore our inner longings. Hence, these monthly Art Challenges!
I like best that they invite me outdoors–playful spirit at the ready, all senses engaged.
Like tiny seedlings, our prompts are rooted in the things that matter most. Our environment, for instance, and the beautiful creatures with whom we co-exist.
We’re a diverse group, amateurs and pros who express ourselves in different ways. Using a monthly prompt as our muse, we come together in the name of “art.”
These challenges aren’t a competition, by any means. Participation is our goal, not perfection. It’s all about capturing a fleeting memory, exploring our passions, renewing our childlike sense of wonder, and yes! making a joyful noise.
It’s about storytelling, in words and pictures–being transported to another time and place, or finding our way home.
For this art challenge, we’re showcasing our beautiful home, in all its glory.
Let’s get this party started, shall we? Some artists will lag behind, but no worries: That’s what comes of being members of a global community. Take the tour when you’re able, and then return for another visit!
Gallery of Artists (with links to their Earth Day entries):