Posted tagged ‘reflections’

Midsummer Tale

August 20, 2018

In the middle of this harsh, Tucson summer filled with plenty of heat and anticipation of the monsoon rains, plus my exhaustion with our country’s political reality show, something very joyful happened that directed my attention to a very different reality.

Returning home from a three week vacation, I discovered that I had a new neighbor!  A charming, energetic female established her home very near my studio where I work. Actually, she moved so close that it was a bit shocking for me, as I never imagined such a possibility. Her place is so near that I can see it (and her, as well) from the window above my desk and when opening the studio’s door. Such a neighbor could be very annoying if it were a human, but it is… a hummingbird!

In the Nest

Yes, they are present around our property, and we are aware of them. A couple of feeders and local desert plants, which are part of our landscape, keep them happy. They seem to like the long dense row of oleanders next to the small white building that is my Word Studio.

It was immediately very clear that my tiny neighbor is a SHE, because I know that HEs (male hummingbirds) do not participate in building nests, or sitting on those two (they lay only two) precious eggs, or feeding the offspring. She has to do it all! As a woman and a mother, I immediately felt solidarity with her!  I have felt such solidarity with cats, cows, horses, and other mammals, but not with a bird.

What possessed her to build that nest on the wires of lights decorating our outdoor covered ‘sitting room’? I do not know! Perhaps she is an intellectual bird that likes books? Actually (joking apart), it is a very safe place – sheltered from rain and winds by a huge tree on the north side and the walls of the enclosed part of the patio on the south side. There also is a fringe benefit – closeness to a hummingbird feeder that might be very handy for a busy, expecting mother hummingbird.

Lenika's Nest

The next question was, will she accept my frequent coming to my studio or will she abandon the nest? Being concerned and knowing that hummingbirds love red and other bright colors, I initially wore my red summer dress. Each time I approached the door of my studio while she was in her nest, my heart was beating a bit faster from excitement, but of course, it could never match her amazingly powerful heart that beats more than 1000 times per minute when in flight. She did not fly away from her nest, and I felt great relief!

A day or so later, she accepted my presence around the studio, even when I was wearing a variety of colors. Wow, it felt great!  Soon a couple of frequent visitors were accepted by her, as well. One of them suggested that we should name her; after all she (the hummingbird) is a part of this establishment now. ”Tina or Tania, perhaps?” They were almost okay – short, energetic names…. “Oh, no, nothing with a T”, I protested!  “Grace maybe, since she is so graceful?” That one did not fly either — there was something “too much” about that name. “How about Ana, Ania, Anna?” The fact that there are Anna’s hummingbirds, and I am still not sure what kind of hummingbird she is, we decided that such a name might be too confusing. Finally we settled for Lenika, created from parts of our two middle names. And that’s who she is – Lenika.

Lenika closer

One day Lenika got inside my studio by accident and immediately flew straight into one of the windows. Of course, she was not able to get out. Surprisingly, Lenika let me take her into my hands without any resistance or fight. She sat there calmly and let me enjoy feeling her silky small body as I walked outside to let her go free. Soon enough she was back in her nest.

Lenika trapped 2

Three weeks or so past, and I noticed that Lenika became restless and less trusting. She flew away when I entered my studio, or even when I approached it from the far side of our large patio. I have to confess that upset and hurt me, as if she were a real person and not a very small bird. I concluded that it might be the time for her to become a mother, and I started tip toeing around her, like around a woman at the very end of her pregnancy. Other times she behaved like before and at night was back in her nest – very calm, deep in her sleep. That made me calmer, too. Still, some worrying thoughts entered my mind; maybe there is some delay in hatching? Perhaps they are already hatched, and I can’t see them because new born hummingbirds are the size of a raisin and would not be visible yet. And what if the eggs got broken for some reason?

Nest on Patio 2

I truly hope that Lenika’s story will have a happy ending — for her sake and mine. She will have her babies, and I will be free from worries! In the meantime, I am amazed how powerful this tiny, wild creature influenced my behavior and feelings!  Such is the case when one cares about another person or another living thing. It can by joyful, and it can be painful, but it makes us more connected to each other and to this planet.

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Text and photos Copyright © 2018 by Alicja Mann, alicjamann.com

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

December 12, 2013

Silver Bridge at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

There are many grand things, events, and people that I have encountered in my life, but the day of hiking the Grand Canyon down and up with my Canadian friend several years ago stands out. It was awesome to be able to face that ancient and grand creation of nature and at the same time to feel our minuteness in contrast with that rocky giant. I took this photo on Silver Bridge over the Colorado River – at the bottom of the Canyon, facing the lengthy journey (9.5 miles = 15.3 km) up the Bright Angel Trail to reach the top before the inevitable arrival of darkness.

I wrote about that hike in my post Footprints Left Behind  https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/footprints-left-behind/

Potrait of Nelson Mandela

A similar feeling of awe and humbleness enveloped me last week when we faced the departure of Nelson Mandela – his strength, vision, perseverance, and political skills were not only grand, but super GRAND and will continue to inspire others for many years to come. I am happy to cherish memories of encountering that man during his visit to Boston in 1990 – soon after his release from prison. Even though I was a minute spot in the huge crowd of others who gathered at the Hatch Shell to honor Mandela, I will never forget that grand day.

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

December 4, 2012

Surprisingly I have recently caught the “bug” for the Weekly Photo Challenge by WordPress.

Here are a few of my photo reflections:

From Cape Cod
From Cape Cod © Alicja Mann

From Yuma
From Yuma © Alicja Mann

From the Patio
From the Patio in Tucson © Alicja Mann

From the Road

From the Road © Alicja Mann

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Text and photos copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann.

The Cards of Life

January 6, 2012

I love all kinds of celebrations and New Year’s Eve is one of them. I am almost superstitious, believing that not celebrating that night might bring you bad luck.

Last year such a celebration took the form of a large party in our home with plenty of friends to warm up the coldest night of the year in Tucson. This year, after several months of racing with time to meet some important deadlines, I had the mood to celebrate the end of this year in “a bit” more glitzy way. So I persuaded David and a couple of friends to go (elegantly dressed) to one of the plushy resorts hidden in the foothills of Tucson’s Catalina Mountains that offered such a possibility. The fact that it promised to be a relatively inexpensive event and that one of my new “Jazz” friends, jazz musician George Howard, and his group would perform was a decisive factor.

The resort was surrounded with cool lights and we walked into the “Parisian night” theme of its lounge where the tables were decorated with red roses. The waiters in black and wearing characteristic French berets were cruising among the guests. Wow, that was exciting! I felt like a little kid ready for fun and adventure.

Lights for New Year's Eve

Lights and water, and Hello Paris

It was a night with the moon high in the sky and big stars on the ground (including George).

Stars, moon, George Howard

It was a night of elegant details in the clothing, which I found to be delightful.

Elegant details: shoes and stockings

It was crowded, it was noisy and it was fun — in my book.

Alicja Mann and George Howard

That was New Year’s Eve, but then came New Year’s Day and a predictable reflective mood arrived dimming my sunny morning. That happens usually after some important celebrations like anniversaries, Christmases or birthdays.

My reflective mood usually brings some dark thoughts for a while. Memories of tragic events, images of people I miss, thoughts about unfulfilled promises or dreams that did not materialize crowd my mind. An image of myself emerges — identical to the real me, but much darker. That darkness is similar to the reflection of any image on a shiny surface (except a mirror) — a pool of water, a window or a very shiny table like the one I was sitting at on New Year’s Eve.

Thinking about this, playing cards came to my mind and I created one for myself. I made the choice of an ace of hearts. I like the hearts on it. I also like that it is the highest card, but can also be the lowest one! There is a challenging duality in it, just as in real life.

The playing cards for bridge or poker have mirror images on them — so identical that the way one holds a card does not matter. However, the cards of life, like mine, have to be handled with great care. If not, they might flip around and their dark side would be up and dominate.

Have a good year of 2012 — play your cards of life the best you can!

Two Ace of Hearts cards from Alicja Mann

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Text and images copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann.


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