Saturday, December 30, 2017

Consider the Redstart                 

By Julie Lavender

Hurricane Irma loosened the soil around the large oak tree back in September and compromised the root system. Time and wind and stress crowded the tree, causing it to topple the other day.

My morning walk began with a stroll through the back yard, and something flitting atop the limbs of the fallen tree caught my eye.

“An American Redstart,” said my biologist husband. “It’s a warbler.”

“Why have I never noticed one in the backyard?”    

“Well, it darts around in the treetops, catching insects, rarely sitting still,” my hubby-with-all-the-answers said.


“The Redstart’s known to flash its tail feathers and spread its wings abruptly, in order to startle unsuspecting insects and snatch them right out of the air at times. You’ve probably just missed them because they’re so busy and stay tucked in amongst the leaves up high.”

What other beauties in God’s creation do I miss?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Consider the mistletoe

by Julie Lavender 

My walk with God today was brisk and purposeful: put a check-mark next to ‘exercise’ on my to-do list, start my morning with God-time, and, as always, take time to enjoy God’s beautiful creations surrounding me.

It finally feels like winter in south Georgia – though that’s probably temporary – and the mostly-bare trees appear brittle and lifeless. Their nakedness, though, makes it easier to spot the evergreen mistletoe 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

by Julie Lavender

Heading out for my morning walk with a lengthy Christmas to-do list on my mind, I notice something glistening in the sun just above eye-level in the trees next to my house. It’s the web of a golden orb weaver shimmering like some of the glittery ornaments on my Christmas tree.
I’m not particularly fond of spiders and haven’t been since a nightmare when I was about ten-years-old. I still cringe when I see one, and the thought of one landing on me, like it did in my nightmare, makes me do a very unattractive dance, somewhat like the Marv Merchants character on the Christmas favorite, Home Alone, during the tarantula scene.
Yet, with the golden orb weaver and many other creepy crawly critters, I have learned to appreciate their beauty after marrying my biologist husband, David.

Eight-legged beauty
An arachnid, not an insect (because of her eight legs and two body parts instead

Friday, December 1, 2017

Consider the Spiderwort

by Julie Lavender

When I step off the porch to begin my walk, I spot the Virginia spiderworts bordering the sidewalk. Dainty flowers sit atop upright but flimsy stalks and the leaves stretch long and thin. And the flowers – oh, the flowers – exquisite and delicate and lovely.
I’m most likely partial to the flowers because of the coloration. The spiderwort displays three purple petals surrounding yellow anthers and purple, hair-like filaments.

I remember when my husband, David, brought home the first spiderwort plant. He’d confiscated it from the yard at an old abandoned homeplace on my brother’s property in the next county over.
“Look – your favorite colors, sweetie. Purple and yellow.”
David loves picking wildflowers; it’s his love language to me, and I have adored it for well over thirty years now.
We didn’t know the flower by name at the time, but he thought if he replanted it carefully, we could enjoy it for a season.

Taking root
Little did we know just how hearty this dainty flower was! Turns out, the Tradescantia virginiana by scientific name is a self-sowing perennial that practically takes care of itself.