Hummingbird Habitat

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Over the past few months I’ve noticed that some of my friends have posted beautiful photos of the Hummingbird Habitat in Desert Breeze Park just a few miles south of my house. And the last time I ventured out of my house for a photo shoot was May.

So on Wednesday, I bravely drove to the park.

I love parks. Desert Breeze has a lot of nice features. There’s a lake for urban fishing. There’s a little train. (One evening around Christmas many years ago we took the kids for a train ride around the holiday-lit park and then drank hot cocoa.) There’s a playground with a splash pad where kids were cooling off from the heat. (This is Arizona, where it’s still summer, with 100 degrees + temperatures.)

The park is four acres, and I didn’t know exactly where the hummingbird garden is. The first parking lot I pulled into was next to the lake. I didn’t see anything that could be a hummingbird garden.

The next lot I visited was next to the train station. I could see tennis courts and the playground. I parked the car and looked for a directory to show me the way to the hummingbird habitat. I found none, so I started walking. How far could it be?

Besides the kids in the playground, I saw groundskeepers striding around and people jogging, but instead of flagging them down, I kept my social distance. With no idea where to go, I took out my phone and looked for a map of the park. Why didn’t I do that when I first got to the park? Well, I tried, and I asked Siri for help, but I’m new to smart phones and I don’t know what I’m doing. I managed to find a map, and tried to enlarge it. An annoying little dialog box kept popping up saying “Chandler Parks wants to know your location” and I clicked “Don’t Allow” several times while trying to get my bearings. Finally, I clicked “Allow,” and a dot appeared on the map. As I took a couple of steps trying to determine where I was on the map, the dot moved. The dot was me! Who knew?

Then it was a snap to walk to the Hummingbird Habitat. Too bad I’d walked in all the wrong directions. I would never have found it without GPS. But my efforts were so worth it.

There’s an archway with a giant hummingbird at the entrance to the habitat. And just inside is a pond complete with waterlilies and a little waterfall.

A giant tree sculpture with a circular bench offers a place to sit.

There are lots of live trees, too.

And other plants.

Hummingbirds love trumpet-shaped flowers. Due to the heat, there weren’t very many of these left.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see a single hummingbird. It was already nearly noon (this is Arizona, where it’s still summer, with 100 degrees + temperatures), so I suspect the birds were resting wherever they could find shade. Next time I’ll go earlier. Or later.

On the way home, I drove around the neighborhood until I found the way to the parking lot that is only steps from the Hummingbird Habitat.

Creative Juice #208

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Creative Juice #208

The sublime and the ridiculous, all worthy of your consideration:

In the Meme Time: Start Them Young

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Kammie’s Oddball Challenge: Discarded Fireball and a Penny

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More Oddballs.

Video of the Week #271: Non-Dominance

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Wordless Wednesday: St. Nicholas’ Chapel

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Photo a Day Challenge: Floral

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Vibrant fuchia-colored bougainvillea. Photo a Day Challenge.

Flower of the Day: Bougainvillea

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More Flowers of the Day.

I’d Rather Be Dancing Croatian Folk Dances

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I am embarrassed to admit that I needed to look up Croatia to find out where it is. It lies along the eastern edge of the Adriatic Sea; Italy lies on the western bank. People my age might remember Yugoslavia; Croatia was part of the former Yugoslavia.

The only Croatian dance I know is Moja Diridika:

I take it back. I also know Prosijala Sjajna Mjesecina, but I didn’t know the name and I didn’t know it’s Croatian. Such a calm dance:

Zeno is a lovely, easy dance with two sequences that alternate:

Vesela Je Sokadija allows you to do some foot stomping:

Sukacko Kolo is generally done in a circle; in this video, some couples are also dancing:

Rokoko Kolo was danced by Croatians who lived in Serbia. Andrew Carnie says they wore boots with spurs which made a satisfying rhythmic accompaniment (no spurs in the video, though; rats!):

Opsaj Diri. This appears to be an old video. I like that the ladies are singing as they dance:

Nabrala Je. This is an especially nice performance:

Licko Kolo is a “silent” dance, called that because no musical instruments play. The leader, however, sings the first few words of the song as a solo, and then the others join in 2-part harmony. In between repetitions of the song, the dance continues for four beats in silence. (There are many different versions of this dance, done to different tunes):

Kwadrilja is based on the Quadrille, borrowed from the French, who occupied the Dalmatian area of Croatia in the early 1800s. (You might want to go fullscreen for this video; click on the broken square in the lower right hand corner of the frame):

Do you agree that Croatia has a lovely and varied dance culture? I’d love to learn more Croatian dances.

Monday Morning Wisdom #275

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Monday Morning Wisdom #275

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts. May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace. May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, hunger, and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done, to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

“A Non-Traditional Blessing” by Sister Ruth Marlene Fox, OSB