From “The Forests” by John Muir in John Muir Ultimate Collection: Travel Memoirs, Wilderness Essays, Environmental Studies and Letters:

“In the morning everything is joyous and bright, the delicious purple of the dawn changes softly to daffodil yellow and white; while the sunbeams pouring through the passes between the peaks give a margin of gold to each of them…. The birds begin to stir, seeking sunny branches on the edge of the meadow for sun-baths after the cold night, and looking for their breakfasts, every one of them as fresh as a lily and as charmingly arrayed. Innumerable insects begin to dance, the deer withdraw from the open glades and ridge-tops to their leafy hiding-places in the chaparral, the flowers open and straighten their petals as the dew vanishes, every pulse beats high, every life-cell rejoices, the very rocks seem to tingle with life, and God is felt brooding over everything great and small.”


The city of Atlanta issued a stay-at-home emergency order yesterday, shuttering all but essential businesses and services, though parks (for now) remain open. It’s not more concerning than what was already happening, mostly, but is a little confusing: there have now been varying restrictions at the federal, state, and city or community level, with inconsistencies and overlapping dates that suggest lack of coordination. I could drive to another county and go to a restaurant (but won’t), or drive a few other miles and find park entrances blocked instead of open. With rain in the forecast for a few days, people will probably stay home anyway; but I wonder if the warmer, clearer days later in the week will cause a surge in park visitors. So I stay put, eager for the rains to move out so I can crawl around the garden with a macro lens and look for buds and bugs.

As I write this, I hear a sound like the ticking of a clock but can’t pinpoint the source. The ceiling fan over my desk makes a light breezy sound; I can hear the air moving. A little girl laughs outside, but I don’t see anyone; she could be a couple blocks away since sound carries so much farther in the silence. Silence defines these moments.

Yet birds were singing earlier than usual this morning as the sun should have come out but stayed hidden behind some storm clouds. Their spring melodies seem louder and chirpier than usual, but they all went mute as a rumble of thunder rolled through and it got darker and some rain started to fall. I need to turn on a second lamp to soften the screen’s white glow, but I can’t reach it without getting up and the dog just fell asleep on my foot … so I’m stuck here while my foot falls asleep too. Rain always chills him out: he set aside the toy tiger he was dismembering, barked at the thunder a couple of times, then decided to take a nap. Dogs do get it right.

I’ve written before about the astonishing tree canopy that distinguishes Atlanta from a lot of urban areas, and in previous posts featured a couple of the earliest trees to make spring leaves here: a Japanese Maple in my back yard and a Bradford Pear at the street out front. As I looked outside this morning, though, I noticed that new green is appearing all around me, the barren branches of winter filling in with fast-growing leaves. The shift from winter gray to spring green has an especially luminous glow, despite sunless skies. Even as we slow down or shut down, the new season marches on.


Here is the second gallery of daffodils I found at Oakland Cemetery’s gardens. I’m especially fond of the colors at the center of these flowers; the cups remind me a little of fresh peaches mixed in orange sherbet … which will end out on my next grocery delivery order. 🙂

Select the first image if you would like to see larger versions in a slideshow. The previous daffodilly post is Spring 2020: March is for Daffodils (1 of 4); and all my posts and photos in this series are tagged Spring 2020.

Thanks for reading and taking a look!

11 Comments

    1. It seems like we’re always scanning for something to fill our brains, so with no cars and very few people going by, other sounds get more attention. Right now, I hear a dog barking, not mine, but it’s so far away that I can hear it also echo off the walls of houses nearby. As things get back to normal, every sound is going to seem so loud! 🙂

      “Sounds of Silence” always reminds me of this Disturbia version, a dark update to the original Simon and Garfunkel song: https://youtu.be/u9Dg-g7t2l4 … has some great visuals too.

      Thank you and thanks for the comment.

      Dale
  1. These are great, I like the black background in the final shots the best.
    My dog used to dismember stuffed toys, too. It’s nice to read your description of spring, and enjoy it vicariously at least 🙂 and I like that Muir quote.

    1. Thank you! Secret Pro Tip: the black backgrounds are done in Lightroom, of course, usually because the actual backgrounds are a mess … in this case, they were full of dead leafs and sticks, at almost the same focus level as the flower, so I disappeared them to get a usable image. Came out better than I expected!

      Dogs and their toys crack me up. This one doesn’t dismember all his toys, but I don’t know why certain ones make the cut. Best part is, after several hours of chewing the leg off a tiger and scattering its “guts” all over the carpet, he brings me the leg. I guess he’s playing out a hunting fantasy…. 🙂

      Dale
    1. Thank you! There are tons of daffodils this year, maybe one nice benefit of weeks of winter rain and warm temperatures. Hoping for another big wave later this week as I saw a lot of unopened buds just getting their new hats and colorful attitudes ready. Daffodils for everyone! 🙂

      Dale

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