Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 23, 2009

The cardinals are building a nest. In addition to the tried and true stick/leaf combination, this pair has added an old plastic bag. They don't know what I know - plastic in a nest contributes to a lack of stability. The nest could be blown from the tree in a storm. Every spring I see lost eggs - and worse - hatchlings, because their nest included manmade materials. Should I pull out the plastic and monitor the yard for unsuitable bits of trash? 

I feel a responsibility to these creatures who can't know the peril they're courting. Or is it a path I shouldn't travel? Am I meddling when I intervene with Nature? Or am I stewarding? 


Kit Vincent said...

suggest you let nature take its course without touching the nest. Is there a way to shield the tree from prevailing winds?

Susie K. said...

Since we humans have created the peril, I'd be very tempted to remove the plastic and leave bits of cotton strips nearby for replacement. An interesting conundrum, Jane. Let us know what you decide to do.

sondra said...

Jane, very tough decision......I see both point in the previous posts. Nature does seem to deal with life situations much more sanely than we humans do, maybe they will deal with it on their own....I love the way that you care. Cardinals are so very special in their beauty and monogomous (sp?) lifestyle...a rare find, it seems in the world today. Positive energy to you, Sondra

Emmie said...

Share your decision with us, please.

Connie Rose said...

Yes, do let us know what you do about this. My reaction would be to want to fix the situation however I could, but I'm also a strong believer that nature takes care of itself better than we can.

Jackie said...

Very Matisse-like image, lots going on. The birds may have made a poor choice for life, but they have great taste--just saw a cardinal in Virginia the other day. Of course we don't have them in Nevada, so it was a treat!!! I'm sorry about your conundrum always difficult to know how to interfere with nature. Back to the image, the clean colors are lovely, the blue/green framing from almost all sides, nice branches to move us around and settle each time in the next. Off to Nebraska tomorrow, best thoughts on dealing with cardinals.

diane said...


It's a tough decision -- I'm in favor of letting nature take its course as long as we're talking about natural materials. A plastic bag doesn't fit into the equation. I would be inclined to remove the plastic as long as they're still in the building mode. It really bothers me as well to see eggs that have fallen from their nest or babies that fall out because of instability. We have a mockingbird that fell from the nest and was fed by its mother on the ground - two years later that bird still hangs around us -- I think we somehow imprinted!


Fay's Fun said...

I "judge" myself by what I "do" --- so minimising the amount of man-made "debris stuff" in the area I live in is my action. That allows me to feel that I have handed control back to "Mother Nature" --- I rely on her (or His) wisdom - even if I don't immediately see the rationale. !!

Fay's Fun said...

maybe you answered your own question yesterday
"Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter her heart.
Because she has given up helping,
she is the people's greatest help.

Anonymous said...

We have meddled to create the problem, so I see no problem meddling to fix the problem if they are still building.

CeCe said...

Hello Jane.
I would also suggest not touching the nest. When you get a chance you should take a look at a recently published book, "Egg & Nest" by Rosamond Purcell. There are some incredible examples of nests made with string, plastic, yarn, straws..just about anything that's been discarded in our trash bins. It's a sad comment on our society, but birds are amazingly adaptive. The survival of the fittest indeed.

November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

How does color set a mood? The soft gray and white of the carpet, the cat Marshall, and the sunlit window contribute to to the sense of calm repose. What does blue mean to you or me? We all have symbolic associations for colors; some based on personal experience and some instilled culturally. 

The cobalt blue of the vase provides a point and counterpoint to the composition, in addition to providing elements that balance.
Keeping the cat in the lower third of the composition weights the image and is another visual door into the picture world.

November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

This picture tells several stories. It references the human desire to order the world around us - the lettering on the wall establishes the alley as a No Parking zone, and the broken glass-  jutting out at the top - is another message of fear and frailty. Whoever lives behind this wall wants to be left alone.

But there is beauty in the contrast of the rough brick surface and the smooth translucency of the broken glass bottles. A contrast of textures makes for an interesting composition. And the abstract nature of the printed letters against the structure of the bricks would be worth emulating in another sort of composition.

There is as much beauty in decay as there is in a bouquet of fresh flowers. And aren't decay and fresh growth just two different spots on the same continuum?

November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

The Hydrangeas offer a lesson in the effective use of color. The pale blue and lavender are roughly the same value, so they balance each other beautifully. I am challenged to mimic that combination of analogous colors on silk Habotai!

This photograph would be considered beautiful even without the red-orange and yellow flowers at the bottom. But the addition of the complements to the blue and purple creates a focal point and generates some nice contrast because of the complementary pairing. And imagine how different this composition would be, were the red-orange and yellow at the top instead of at the bottom. The current placement adds important visual weight.

November 17, 2008

November 17, 2008

November 16, 2008

November 16, 2008
Being and Non-being

Substance and Light

November 16, 2008

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside 
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the space inside
that holds whatever we want.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Tao te Ching; Verse 11
Stephen Mitchell translation