Category Archives: Seasons

But this was nice. What was it?

Just so y’all won’t think I’m a total curmudgeon about springtime, or that I hate nature or whatever, I thought I’d share this.

This inexplicable (to me) green bird visited our deck feeder this morning. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it in my yard. I’m used to the dull greys and browns of wrens and the like, occasionally relieved by a cardinal or bluejay.

But green?

Can anybody identify it?

I thought it was pretty nice. Regrettably, as I was texting it to my wife, who was out of the house, I missed a better shot when two dull grey-and-brown birds landed next to this one on the feeder. It really made the green pop out more. But I couldn’t get my phone into position to shoot it before the green one flew away.

But despite the limitations of my iPhone shooting through a window at several yards distance, I think you can tell that this is an unusual bird…

An even darker sign of Spring

Excuse me for being such a bummer at this beautiful time of year. Perhaps as you read, you can listen to a bit of “Le Sacre du Printemps” as a way of keeping your own head in a nice place.

But of course for me, one of the most allergic people you know, this season is less than pleasant. Not always, but a lot of the time. Especially the last few days. I go out to enjoy one of my walks, and then I pay for it all day and night. So I’m sticking more to the elliptical here in my office for getting my steps in.

People complain about their “seasonal allergies.” I have allergies all the time, and take several drugs every day to keep them in check. But of course there are times when the allergies are worse, and not in check, even with extra drugs. This is one of them.

So, when I went out for a walk over the weekend, I knew I was letting myself in for some unpleasantness. But I wasn’t quite prepared for the sight above, which I encountered a couple of blocks from my house.

This is not an unusual sight in my neighborhood. Copperheads abound, and a lot of them seem to like to slither on the paved road, regardless of traffic. I’ve found at least a couple of them in this condition alongside my own yard in recent years.

But that’s usually in the summer. Remember when my wife and I encountered a live copperhead traveling down the street back in 2020, as bold as though he owned it? That was… well, it was late summer, but still summer (Sept. 13).

So it’s particularly creepy to find this rather mature pit viper on March 23. Even creepier, it occurs to me that maybe not all of them are this stupid. Before I got home from the walk that day I tweeted this:

Maybe they’re all that stupid, but I doubt it. So stop and smell the beautiful flowers, if you’re not allergic to them. But watch where you’re putting your feet…

I shot these back on March 5, which also seemed early to me — but more pleasant that the snake.

So, it’s April now, right?

Here’s what a section of my deck looked like yesterday. It’s supposed to be stained a very nice brown, by the way. And normally it is.

About a week ago, my wife saw a yellow stain on the brick of a corner of my mother’s house. She asked aloud whether the pollen had come already.

I dismissed the idea.

Now this…

So it’s April now, right?

Suddenly, from out of the cold mist, a blog post


I just looked poked my head our from campaign HQ for a moment, and I can report that we now have perfect weather for listening to The Band.

Start with the brown album. If you have time for just one song, go with “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)“…

Other good listens for precisely this weather, this time of year, in this latitude, is John Lennon’s “Imagine” album. Not the title track so much because it’s overdone (and, good as it is, overrated). Go with “Jealous Guy” or something along those lines. You want to listen to this in an empty room (like the one in the video) with lots of reverb.

Finally, these climatic conditions are also conducive to the enjoyment of some of Rod Stewart’s early hits, such as “Maggie May,” “Handbags and Gladrags” and “Mandolin Wind.” All very autumnal.

That is all. You may go… And I must get back to work. The music helps…

Ah, for the days of the September Gale

I was riding down on the elevator this morning with a gentleman who regularly breaks his fast at the same place I do.

He was wearing his usual LBJ-style Stetson and some Clemson suspenders, having retired quite a few years back from the extension service.

As we stepped onto the elevator, as people tend to do, we started talking about the weather. (Yes, I know — we should all try harder than that.) Mindful of my audience, I expressed the wish that recently planted fields not be washed away, and mentioned how much nicer it would be if instead of getting our rain all at once, we could have a nice, steady drizzle for a number of days (my wife, the gardener, once told me that was better for crops).

He remarked that the weather used to be kinder that way, long ago. Then he said:

“When I was a boy, 75 years ago, we never heard of hurricanes. We called them…” and he paused to reach back for the term… “September Gales.”

That certainly sounds like a gentler, less menacing time.

I didn’t realize that term was a thing until I looked it up. Turns out it inspired a poem in The New Yorker, back in September 1960:

September gale

No, I wasn’t making a point about anything. Just sharing…

Give it a rest with the football! It’s BASEBALL SEASON!

We just GOT this beautiful, pristine ballpark, and they're going to put FOOTBALL in it!

We just GOT this beautiful, pristine ballpark, and they’re going to put FOOTBALL in it!

On Saturday, I flipped on the old TV in my upstairs home office, the one in front of the recliner I keep there, intending to glide off into a nap while half-watching something…

… and there was football on my TV!

It’s still August, people! I don’t get but a handful of TV stations — just the local broadcast tier — and if there’s going to be sports on one of them in August, it should be baseball! But was there a single MLB game on my limited set of choices? No. More’s the pity, because there are few things more restful on a Saturday afternoon than non-playoff, regular season, workaday baseball.

But wait — there’s the Little League World Series! But no. Those overexcited little kids running around don’t have the right sort of languid, professionals-doing-a-job approach that I prefer when I’m in nap mode.

So I snoozed with the TV off, the way cavemen did in their home offices.

Monday night, I’m in the kitchen and my wife turns on the TV in the next room, and for a second before she changes the channel, I could swear I heard football again! She says I didn’t, and there wasn’t any on the guide, so maybe I’m just getting jumpy. But it sounded like football!

Look, people, I know you’re all going to be going on about football at full volume 24 hours a day after Labor Day, which is bearing down on us, and that’s just one of the miserable facts of life in the season that would otherwise be my favorite time of year. (I’ll see leaves turning and feel a delicious coolness in the air, and someone will say, “Football weather!” and ruin it.) I’ll deal with it, and look forward to the World Series.

But let me have the rest of this week, OK? Stop encroaching on the last week that should be football-free.

And for sure, don’t give me more news like this:

Six local high school football teams will face off this fall at Spirit Communications Park, the $37 million home of the Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball team….

Aw, come ON, people! We just got this ballpark! I just went to my first game there last week, and you’re telling me next week there’s going to be football there? Really? You didn’t think there was enough football going on in enough places in September, you had to sully this place, too?

When does it stop? Yeah, I know — February, right? I’ll start counting the days…

There’s no going back now; spring is inexorably here


Taken on April 9.

I shot the above photo with my phone this morning. It’s the same azalea hedge that I shot in the below picture a month ago. It runs next to my driveway and sort of walls off my backyard from the street.

What a difference a month makes. Which reminds me. I need to get out a hose and wash the thick coat of pollen off my car…

Taken on March 9.

Taken on March 9.