Friday, May 20, 2016

Queen of the Flowers


This queen was exhausted from banging into the dining room window all night trying to get outside, so I scooped her up and brought her out to the grass where I see lots of these. But she was too tired to move, so I stayed and guarded her from birds or whatever. She couldn't attack me so I had a chance to get real close, and we looked at each other for a long while.

Photo: "Queen Bumble Bee", Paris, Maine by Becky Robbins.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Trout Lily

Trout Lily

Erythronium americanum


We found some big patches of trout lily growing near the Appalachian Trail in Grafton Notch yesterday. These flowers take 7 years to bloom and the patches can be up to 300 years old. Their seeds have a special little tasty treat for ants attached to them. So the ants take the seeds to their babies and feed the special food to them and then, ants being a clean and organized animal, they take the rest of the seed to their designated trash heap. And the trash heap is the perfect fertilizer for new trout lilies to grow out of. This reminds me of a concept I've been pondering lately - how the dark, negative experiences of our lives can be metaphorically thrown onto a compost pile (once we've learned the lessons and important parts - the tasty treat) and from this rich, hard-earned fertilizer new and sweet and positive and beautiful things can grow.

Photo: "Trout Lily", Grafton Township, Maine by Becky Robbins.

Phoebes in the Honeysuckle

A while back a pair of phoebes nested in the eaves of our old house on a wall that was part of our dog pen, and we got to watch them fly back and forth caring for their eggs and then their nestlings. When their two babies fledged things got a little nerve wracking - they were terrible flyers and had no knowledge of the dangers of a trio of dogs. I first discovered them sitting on the top step in front of the door just as I was opening it for the herd of canines to plow through on their way outside, and had to scramble to yank the dogs back in before tragedy occurred. After that I kept the dogs inside and spent the day watching the sweet and beautiful babies practice flying, and kept an eye out for predators or some other calamity. After a while a gentle rain started and they ended up making their way to a sheltered branch in our honeysuckle where their parents would come and feed them.


I recently finished this painting of these two little fledglings and I call it “Phoebes in the Honeysuckle”. The whole process - from witnessing the event to putting color on canvas - was a wonderful blessing and a treasured experience.

Phoebes in the Honeysuckle

 9"x12" watercolor on canvas 

Red Trillium and a Sneaky Spider

The stone walls along our road are lined with red trillium right now. They don't all have spiders hiding behind them, though 🕷

Imagine

Have you ever heard of imaginal discs? They're tucked away inside caterpillars during the embryonic stage and carry all the genetic information necessary to be a butterfly. But they lie dormant until the caterpillar spins its cocoon and releases enzymes that literally dissolve its entire body. From this goo only the imaginal discs, and enough nerve cells to keep the memories of life as a caterpillar, remain. And from these imaginal discs grow a whole new creature - new eyes, new wings, new legs, new organs, new everything. And for some caterpillars the imaginal discs start to develop into butterfly parts before the cocoon is even spun. You can't see it from the outside, but inside wings are beginning to grow.

Maybe humans, probably only on a metaphysical level but who knows, have something like imaginal discs lying dormant inside of us, too. I suspect I've maybe even known some particularly wondrous treasures whose metamorphosis began before they curled up for that last and deepest sleep. Walking amongst us, they look perfectly ordinary from the outside. It's only when you look far far inside that you realize they've already got everything they need to fly.


~Becky Robbins

Baby Red-backed Salamander


Baby Red-backed Salamander

 20"x16" oil pastel and mixed media on canvas


This friend lives in my backyard. He was just a tiny one inch long baby when I found him under a log last fall :)

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

 12"x12" watercolor on canvas


This was the fine fellow I hung out with last spring after he flew into a window and was dazed for 10 minutes or so. This is my very first watercolor on canvas - super tricky and fun!

Higher Ground

Smashing and crashing
reaching and preaching
Too cold by the window
too hot by the fire
Too bad for the pedestal
too good for the pyre
I’ll race you through fields
I’ll splash through the streams
you’ll find me in the willow
you’ll tell me your dreams.

I’m sick of blue skies

the gray winds should blow
I want empty beaches
I want barren white snow
I’ll pass you on the mountain
reach the top all alone
You’re angry with my attitude
you don’t like my tone.

Bashing and flashing

teaching, beseeching
You’ll wait by the front door
you’ll call me a liar
too good for your hatred
too bad for your choir
I’ll run across tightropes
I’ll balance on beams
But you’ll walk on the water
your golden ark gleams.

Searching for sunlight

I’ve faced every foe
I’ve found the arrow
but where is the bow?
I’m higher than eagles now
headed for home
You’re right there beside me
and this mountain’s our own.

~Becky Robbins


Photo: "Singepole Mountain", South Paris, Maine by Becky Robbins.