This camellia won the Chilly Flower award again this year.
The camellia is called C. sasanqua “Setsugekka” which sounds sort of Russian but is actually from the forests of Japan. It is also called the Yuletide Camellia or Christmas Camellia, which is quite jolly. The blooms are fragrant and intrepid, opening here in real winter with more buds coming. (The blooms’ arch enemy is rain and we’ve had a little break from that.)
There are other peeky plants outside.
Yesterday Max and I walked the trails of a rather wild park near here. I took a couple iphone images, remarkably bad, but they show the winter look.
Max loves this place. The trails are kept cut clear, but the rest of the park is allowed to be a forest of oak and maple, blackberries and ferns. Once we met a deer on the trail–we all stopped cold and stared at one another–and one autumn an official-looking sign appeared warning that there was a mountain lion in the neighborhood. (We never saw him, but I did watch, and I can tell you that is not how to enjoy a walk.)
It was a cold sunny day for our walk this week. When we reached the creek we stopped and I happened to notice a huge bird soaring in the sky way above us, in wide-winged circles, spiraling higher and then lower and then back up. Sometimes the morning sun caught the snowy white of his head and the underside of his white tail feathers…
I’ve never seen an eagle so near where I live before.
Red-tailed hawks are common over my house in summer, pairs of them flying together and occasionally dropping like a rocket straight down on some clueless unlucky field mouse. And sometimes the sky will be frightening with buzzards, flying low toward a dead sheep in the neighbor’s pasture, skimming the housetop like the Nazgul in Tolkien’s books. And of course there are the glorious ribbons of singing Canada geese, so noisy that Max will run the length of our field in an effort to catch them or chase them away.
But this bird cruising the park sky was unquestionably a Bald Eagle.
I got all 21st century about it and made a little movie with my phone camera, but in the sun I couldn’t even see the bird on the screen as I filmed so I just pointed the camera toward him and tried to follow his circles. The result was a tiny black spot moving in and out of view. (There may be a blog movie here someday, but that one isn’t it.)
Soon a smaller eagle joined the large one. Its feathers had no white I could see, so it was some kind of teenager eagle. Together they glided in circles, lower and then higher again, never moving their wide wings, riding the winds above us. After a few minutes the bigger bird remembered an appointment or something, and they both flew away to the south.
But I felt privileged they had stopped to visit us.
“Eagles overhead–it might be a good omen,” I told Max. (You just never know.)