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April/June 2014

THE COLOR OF EVERYTHING IN SPRING


A magazine for and about

Posey County, Indiana

Copyright 2014 No material can be reproduced without the written permission of Posey Magazine. Contact us at: poseymagazine@aol.com

THE COLOR OF EVERYTHING IN SPRING

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” — Lao Tzu “Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn one’s back on life.” — Eleanor Roosevelt “We spend too much time living in the ‘what if’ and need to learn to live in the ‘what is.” —Rev. Leroy Allison

Cover Story

© 2014 J. Bruce Baumann

John Muir wrote: “When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.” It has taken years for me to understand what Muir was talking about, but it slowly has taken hold in this old head. Muir believed in the beauty of the world, using words to paint pictures of what he saw. My paintbrush is a camera, and I can only dream of capturing the beauty that is offered in Posey County. Our cover story explores “THE COLOR OF EVERYTHING IN SPRING” — in Posey County. A small piece of the rest of the world. — J. Bruce Baumann

“If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.” — Maurice Chevalier “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” — Eckhart Tolle “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” — Ernest Hemingway

Special thanks to the following for their help Joseph Poccia, Linda Neil Reising


THE POETS SAY IT’S SO

“A

pril is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” Poet T.S. Eliot “The Waste Land” “Tra la! It’s May, the lusty month of May! That lovely month when ev’ryone goes blissfully astray. Tra la! It’s here, that shocking time of year! When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear.” Lyricist Alan Jay Lerner for “Camelot” “June is bustin’ out all over! The feelin’ is gettin’ so intense that the young Virginia creepers they been huggin’ the bejeepers outa all the mornin’-glories on the fence. Because it’s June! “ Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein for “Carousel” It’s spring, and poets, musicians and just plain folks are rhapsodizing about it. They’ve been doing it as long as mankind has rejoiced at the end of winter. So completely have we embraced the wonders of spring that the word itself has become a metaphor for the start of better times. As for words, new plant growth springs forth at this time of year, hence the name of the season. In the 14th century Geoffrey Chaucer in “The Canterbury Tales” wrote about the sweet showers of April penetrating the dry earth of March, hydrating the roots, which in turn coax flowers out of the ground. We revel at the end of winter with its confining cold, its treacherous ice and cutting winds. We rush to embrace the vitality and richness of spring with its warm, gentle west winds and birds chirping merrily. In Chaucer’s day, people felt the need to celebrate the new season by making a pilgrimage. Today we go on “spring break.” But why go anywhere when there is such beauty all around us right here and right now? Migrating birds begin their return. Lady bugs land on

screen doors and worms emerge from the earth. And that special smell that soil has about now. It’s real. The soil has reached the temperature that allows micro flora to flourish. It has been said that in spring no one thinks of the snow that fell. That may not be the case this year as winter seemed to linger longer and longer. But spring is here and with it thoughts of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, regrowth and resurrection. And memories of splashing in mud puddles in new rain boots. Spring baseball with the sound of balls slapping into leather gloves and the crack of real wooden bats. Spring cleaning with windows flung open and draperies changed to allow the light in. My mother, her auburn hair tied up in a bandana, was never happier than when welcoming spring into the house with pots of tiny blossoms and miniature ceramic bunnies and chicks. The vitality and richness of spring can’t be enjoyed indoors. So drive those country roads and walk the lanes and paths and search for signs of spring as did those long-ago poets such as Swinburne. “For winter’s rains and ruins are over, And all the season of snows and sins; The days dividing lover and lover, The light that loses, the night that wins; And time remembered is grief forgotten, And frosts are slain and flowers begotten, And in green underwood and cover Blossom by blossom the spring begins.” —Charlene Tolbert Contributing Editor Posey Magazine She can be contacted at: poseymagazine@aol.com


POSEY POSTCARD

“Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known.” — David Wagoner


Š Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann


“Come with me into the woods where spring is advancing, as it does, no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.” —Mary Oliver, Dog Songs

THE COLOR OF EVERYTHING IN SPRING Photographs and Text By J. Bruce Baumann

Spring? For me, it brings new life — another

winter survived. This spring the snow was melting on the rhododendron with the buds standing up against the last blast of winter, defying the elements, as they have every year. My daffodils, that I’ve planted a hundred at a time, almost every year bring a promise of things to come. Their fragrant scent will brighten my mood. The buds on the fruit trees, always jumping the gun, remind me that life is fragile. The forsythia doesn’t agree, and taunts the fruit trees with a mass of color. Life on the pond brings out the wood ducks, the coots, and my favorite, a Great Blue Heron. The grass carp appear after a long winter’s nap, like small submarines hovering just under the surface. The turtles line up on the logs for any warming rays of sun, but are a nervous lot when

humans approach. The water is so clear you can see the algae on the bottom — until a big spring rain stirs up the reflections of trees guarding the bank. The bluebells and the cypress stumps come alive at Twin Swamps — a magical place, and yet so very mysterious. A spider was found weaving and working much earlier than in years past. The calculus of the web forms a pattern that can stand up to high winds and rain, but that will be gone by morning, just to be rebuilt at nightfall. The first clothesline of the season was sporting a diorama of winter socks. A new flock of birds head north into Posey County, not because of warmer temperatures, but rather because they define spring by the length of the day. That’s not a bad way to welcome in another winter survived.


“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” — Socrates


“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” — Albert Einstein


“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” — Hans Hofmann, painter (1880-1966)


“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.” — Marcus Aurelius


“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.” — Edward Abbey


“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” — Herman Hesse


“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” — Henry David Thoreau


“With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.” — William Wordsworth


“Out of clutter, find simplicity.”— Albert Einstein


“Practicing an art is a way to make your soul grow.” —Kurt Vonnegut


“The years teach much which the days never knew.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”— Henry David Thoreau


Poetry

Reminders The daffodils lean against the bank, sunshine in their faces, heads nodding, as they recall the house—clapboard and stone— that once stood here, filled with families who tilled and wove and churned and passed on to other places, including one woman in a faded bib apron, pockets pregnant with bulbs, who for twenty years sold eggs at her kitchen door (ghost screen still slapping on summer evenings) and hid nickels inside the button jar that only she opened at mending time or in October when the feed store brimmed barrels full of spring promises, that she toted home, settled into their beds, and before covering, tucked inside a piece of broken Blue Willow, a shard of stoneware crockery, a severed teacup handle, reminders of the breathing being she would one day cease to be.

— Linda Neal Reising


Posey Portrait

Poseyville Christian Church — Chowder Crew

© Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann

Posey Portrait will feature a random photograph of a friend or neighbor — in a place we call home


Feathers/By Sharon Sorenson

In late April through May, millions of

migrating birds flood north from Central and South America. Among them, tropical wood warblers win a special place in most birdwatchers’ hearts. Migrants make the arduously long journey, thousands of miles on the wing, to the United States and Canada, to raise their families. Why fly so far to breed? Bugs. But wait. Aren’t bugs abundant in the tropics? Indeed. But here, away from intense competition, birds enjoy more bugs more easily. And there’s a bonus: long days.

In equatorial regions, daylight and dark are equal, year-round. Posey County summer days, on the other hand, boast 15 hours of daylight. Farther north, daylight lasts another hour or more. More hours per day to feed babies more bugs result in healthier babies and, ultimately, more babies. This heart-throb group of migrants called wood warblers, averaging only five inches from tip of bill to tip of tail, total 54 species in North America. Thirty-six either breed in or migrate through Posey County. Strange as it seems, many folks, even those

© Photographs By Charles and Sharon Sorenson


Northern Parula, one of the first warblers to arrive in Posey County, comes early to nest, usually raising two broods.


Common Yellow Throat changes into fall plumage prior to its departure for the winter. who work hard at creating bird-friendly habitat, never see warblers, may not even recognize them. There’s good cause. Warblers almost never come to feeders, foraging instead for bugs. Depending on the species, warblers forage anywhere from ground level up into

the high canopy. According to most range maps, Posey County hosts 17 breeding warblers, but let’s face it: Seeing some poses a serious challenge. In fact, unless you’re a dedicated, focused goout-and-hunt-for-them birder, you’ll unlikely

see all of them in any one year. And even if you are hot on the trail, searching daily, you’ll almost assuredly miss a few. Best bet? Learn the birds’ songs to know when and where to search. In my little corner of Posey County,


Wood Warblers ...that may nest in Posey County (in taxonomic order) Prothonotary Warbler Blue-winged Warbler (rare) Northern Parula Black-and-white Warbler Cerulean Warbler (rare) Yellow-throated Warbler Prairie Warbler Pine Warbler Yellow Warbler Kentucky Warbler Hooded Warbler Worm-eating Warbler Ovenbird Louisiana Waterthrush Common Yellowthroat Yellow-breasted Chat American Redstart ...that migrate through Posey County (in taxonomic order) Golden-winged Warbler Tennessee Warbler Orange-crowned Warbler Nashville Warbler Chestnut-sided Warbler Cape May Warbler Magnolia Warbler Yellow-rumped Warbler (winter) Black-throated Blue Warbler Blackburnian Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler Bay-breasted Warbler Blackpoll Warbler Palm Warbler Mourning Warbler Connecticut Warbler Canada Warbler Wilson’s Warbler Northern Waterthrush

Black-throated Green Warbler is one of the more common visitors.


Male Prothonotary warblers add brilliant splashes of gold to Posey County wetlands, raising their families in tree cavities.

This male American Redstart, despite its name, is a warbler.

Yellow-breasted Chat is our largest warbler in Posey County.

Prairie Warblers nest throughout Posey County.


Northern Parula and Yellow-throated Warbler first announce spring, flying in early enough to produce two broods. I know to listen and watch for them as soon as the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher starts his hissy-spitty song along the garden edge. In marshy areas, appropriately named Yellow Warblers make themselves at home, bringing a lusty song to the habitat. One of the most reliable local warblers nests in wetlands, especially Hovey Lake and Twin Swamps in our county’s southern realm. Prothonotary Warbler, the only eastern warbler to nest in tree cavities, announces its presence not only by its all-over golden glow but also by its persistent, loud song. During spring migration, Blackthroated Green Warblers frequent the yard, foraging especially in pine and chestnut trees, making a feeding foray in September on their return to South America. While they don’t breed in Posey County, they do breed only a few counties northward, so we see them for long stretches in both spring and fall. Not all warblers have the word “warbler” as part of their names. Locally nesting Yellow-breasted Chat, for instance, is our largest warbler at just over seven inches. “Warbler” is also missing from names like American Redstart and Ovenbird. Redstarts nest here, but Ovenbirds wander a bit farther north. Every year, though, I find Ovenbirds in the yard—always on the ground—during migration. Only one warbler typically winters in Posey County. Yellow-rumped Warbler, gorgeous in breeding plumage, comes up short in the wintertime beauty lineup. Sometimes, though, males molt into brilliant plumage before leaving us in spring. On rare occasions, a Pine Warbler will winter over, providing a striking one-of-a-kind at a feeder.

A Black-Throated Blue Warbler displays its territory.

Keep up-to-date about Posey County birds by following me on Facebook at sharonsorensonbirdlady. Learn how to attract birds to your own yard by exploring my 28-page website at www.birdsintheyard.com where you can also follow my blog.


Out of the frame/J. Bruce Baumann

Out of the frame focuses on moments found without a story or context. We all pass something that catches our eye and tweaks our curiosity during the course of everyday living. Sometimes it makes us smile or even chuckle. You might say it tickles the mind. Other times it makes us think about life in a serious way. Regardless of how we react, in that instant the image touches a part of our brain or heart and becomes part of who we are. For the moment it takes us out of the frame.


ŠPhotograph by J. Bruce Baumann


©Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann

“Life’s not about waiting for the storms to pass…. it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” — Christie Luckett


Out In The Back Of Beyond/Editor’s Notebook

T

TWO OLD COOTS AND A GOLDEN RETRIEVER

he smart phone screamed a message of impending disaster just as I was about to turn out the lights. “GO IMMEDIATELY TO A SHELTER. DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT STOP FOR A BEER. THIS IS A TORNADO WARNING. GO. GO. GO.” So for the next hour I sat on the toilet’s seat cover in my basement, trying to explain to my golden retriever that this was not the way humans normally use toilets. He was mildly amused. All sorts of thoughts raced through my mind. What if a tornado touched down on my house? What would happen to Mr. Neato, my lovelorn vacuum robot, whom I had thoughtlessly left upstairs? Who would get my macramé collection? What

would they think when they found my untidy whities? Worse yet, what would happen to the newly landed, scrawnylegged American Coot that had found a home in my lake? For the record, coots are not ducks. They only pretend to be ducks, apparently suffering from an inferiority complex. Then I ran through the long list of sins that I’ve committed over the years, stopping to apologize to each person, with a request for forgiveness, both heartfelt and spiritual. It turned out to be a long list, much longer than I had expected when I first started. I didn’t think there was any way I’d finish before the smarty-pants phone sounded the all clear. As fate would have it, I was informed by the chicken little people, hunkered down safely inside my phone, that they were extending the tornado warning for another 45 min-

utes. Wow! That was close. I was only through the folks that I had dumped on through the third grade. I needed to limit the details for each person, although they did bring back such good memories. Spring was here, and it had sprung a leak. More than seven inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period. It was so bad that the turtles were climbing trees. The ponds were running over the docks. When the all clear was sounded, the only creature that could be found was my new so-called friend, the American Coot, enjoying the lake, oblivious to his near-death experience, and completely unapologetic to the old coot hunkered down in the basement. Real ducks were nowhere to be found.

J. Bruce Baumann Editor Posey Magazine poseymagazine@aol.com


“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” — Carl Sagan

© Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann

www.poseymagazine.com

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Posey Magazine April–June 2014