Sunday, July 31, 2005

Swallowtail Butterfly In the Flowers

As I was taking my laundry back and forth to the laundry mat, I saw a huge butterfly. It was a large yellow creature that lingered by the flowered bushes. I later looked it up to find out it was a swallowtail butterfly.

People are amazed by butterflies, that seem to be new life and new beauty. But in Europe, butterflies were the sign of the dead person's soul. Some insects scare people, but butterflies are beloved by everyone, it seems.
A picture of the butterfly from the Klamath National Forest in the U.S.A.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Red Koi in The Pond

Next to the main U.S. Department of Interior building is a koi pond. Well not exactly a koi pond, more like a wildlife pond with turtles, dragonflies, ducks, and of course koi. It sits with in view of Constitution Avenue in Washington D.C. ( )

I saw the turtles sunning themselves among the boxes of marsh reeds. Walking closer, I saw a school of small red koi with two large black ones. They looked like a drill team swimming in unison around the boxes and turtles. Sometimes, they would encounter a large koi, and change direction. No stragglers or confusion. Just turn about face and swim!

I understand why people enjoy koi ponds. It is peaceful to watch them swim with their tail fins floating in the water. Their colors lend brightness to the murky water.


Koi are members of the carp family. More info and pictures can be found at :

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Slow Motion Gets You There Faster

Watched a slug wend its way over a water main. Slowly, slowly, but surely the slug moved forward until it was crawling in the grass. I remember the old Hogie Carmichael song, "Slow Motion Gets You There Faster", and the lesson of the slug.

Sometimes just moving along at slow pace helps you to focus on what direction you want to do. You get there just the same but you get to see the scenery along the way. As for my slug friend, it was doing fine eating insects.

Slugs eat a lot of harmful insects, so don't kill them. They are helping gardeners eventhough many think of the slugs as an enemy. I think it has to do with how a slug looks. Long, slimey, and ickey.


Slugs are of both sexes. There are no hes or shes, justs heshes or its.

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Visit from The Toad

Most people think of toads as ugly little creatures. I think they are wonderful in their warty way. Toads have a certain dignity about them that frogs don't.

My late father-in-law looked like a toad - short, squat, and warty. We called him "The Toad". When he died, we were visited by the biggest, fattest, ugliest toad you ever saw. This huge toad greeted us daily by the front door. I was told that it was my father-in-law looking in on us as a protector.

I saw a small toad today in the grass. A tiny thing hopping towards the pile of rocks, I wished him well. I felt happy that a toad had come to visit.

Toads are magic. They have the mythic toadstone on their head. That is one of the reasons for the stories of the enchanted frog (which is what toad is). Next time you see a toad, think magical thoughts.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Swallow on the Roof

A family of barn swallows come yearly to my condo building to nest. For about 15 years now, they come and build their nest under the porch lights. It isn't spring until they come.

I watch them swoop through the air catching insects. Recently, they fledged two young swallows. The fledgling was on the ground crying to his mother to come feed him. She flew near him trying to get him to fly. He would hop and flutter a bit. Finally, he flew.

I saw one of the fledglings on the porch roof. He was just sitting there preening himself. Looking like he owned the place.

I enjoy the swallows. They seem so cheerful in what they do, and fearless too. They recently decided to start another clutch. So, I conclude that they must also be hopeful too.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

No That's Not A UFO

That strange buzzing sound that you hear from the trees is not a UFO but a cicada. The sounds of the periodic cicadas are often heard in sci-fi movies. So if you think that you hear a strange sound, relax, it's only a huge bug.

People forget that insects are teachers too. Cicada's teach about time and living in the present moment. They live underground as larvae, then emerge as adults. For a brief while, they call to the available bugs, "Hey how about some ....?" Then they mate and die shortly afterwards. So take a clue from the cicadas and live for today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Squirrels Eating Candy Bars

The squirrels that live on the U.S. Interior Department grounds are sneaky. One of them decided to steal a nut bar from the corner vendor. He crept up to the wheel of the truck. Then jumped just below where the vendor sat. Suddenly, he jumped with a candy bar in his teeth. He hopped to a safe tree and proceeded to take the wrapper off. Twirling the candy around, he ate his fill. A neat trick.

A day without squirrels is a day without sunshine.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

No Squirrels in the Noon Day Sun

Still very hot and humid.

There is a family of squirrels that live on the grounds of the U.S. Interior Department (South Building). This building has lots of oak trees for squirrels to nest and play in. There is also a vendor selling nuts and hot dogs at the corner.

I see the squirrels, very early in the morning, dive bombing into trash cans. They pull out sandwich wrappings and half-eaten bagels. Sometimes, they find a nut that someone threw away.

However, come noon in Washington D.C., and nary a squirrel can be seen. I think they must hide in the branches and sleep. I would if I was a squirrel.

Squirrels teach me when to rest and when to work. They know when to stop and sleep in the sun. In a place like D.C., we could learn a lot about relaxing from the squirrels.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Cardinals in the heat

In the Washington D.C. area, we are under an heat advisory. However, everyone I have talked to has seen cardinals. While walking home, I saw a pair - the bright red male and the duller female. I have wondered why everyone is seeing cardinals.

Cardinals are bold, territorial birds. I wonder if they are telling us to mind our homes and gardens. I usually see them in the winter, therefore seeing them in the summer is unusual for me. Perhaps, I need to be bold in what I do.