Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Pleasure of New Neighbors and Old Friends

Last year I was pretty upset about what was going on behind my Columbia, MD townhouse. It was necessary, I knew, but I was afraid that I would not see some small friends again. There had been a little stream that ran between houses, and the county determined it needed enclosing to direct runoff better. So for weeks it seemed there were large, noisy beasts galumphing along the stream, digging a trench, installing enormous concrete pipe, and then covering it all over.

That was fine. What wasn't fine was the removal of dense bushes and some trees that had lined the stream. They had to go for the work to proceed, but I knew that those same bushes were home to a couple of groundhogs, the neighborhood rabbit we named "Scamp", and the trees gave cover to cardinals, blue jays, and especially to ruby-throated hummingbirds. The occasional deer wandered by, too. I was afraid they were gone forever when the bushes were removed and some trees taken down.

Hummingbird landing on feederHummingbird drinking

It turns out nature is more forgiving than I am. The groundhogs have moved on, but I did see Scamp - or one of his cousins - earlier this year. And the hummingbirds are back! Not as many this year, but still, I have regular customers for my new and improved hummingbird feeder.

Hummingbird leaving feederHummingbird hovering near feader

Which brings me to the new neighbors. A delightful young couple with a toddler and a baby soon to be born, the young man has generously offered to mow our tiny patch of lawn - a kindness I'm grateful for. Then one day he told us they had enjoyed watching the hummingbirds and would I like to see the photos he'd taken? Of course! And now you can see them, too. These tiny wonders of nature, like flying jewels, are one of the best parts of summer. And despite my fears, they are back for us - and our new neighbors - to enjoy.

Brian Hughes took these wonderful photos, and said I could share them with you.