Mary Lucille Hays

Mary Lucille Hays

Letter from Birdland | Changes show life is a process

Yesterday, a front came through Birdland, sweeping away the heat. Gayle came for a walk just before sunset, and we delighted in the cool breeze. She brought another load of plants from her yard — white peonies, vinca and black-eyed Susans. You can never have too many Susans.

Letter from Birdland | Be a friend to fireflies

The turning of the seasons brings a constant show of new surprises. You'd think I've seen enough lightning bugs by now that their first flight of the summer wouldn't startle me, but it did.

I was coming in from the dusky yard and turned back for a moment looking out into my corner meadow and lo! The pin-prick sparkles of fireflies floating and gliding through the darkness.

Letter from Birdland | Dandelions make me happy

In Birdland, poppies are popping, but lilacs, redbuds and even the ornamental quince have already faded.

In spring, the cycle turns in dizzying display, and various irises are blooming now. I had forgotten I planted so many varieties.

Letter from Birdland | Our little fish is swimming away

A little more than 22 years ago, we were at the firefighters' fish fry, an annual all-you-can-eat fundraiser for our volunteer fire department. I enjoyed my dinner and lost track of how many times I went back for seconds. Later that evening, in the maternity ward, I realized I probably shouldn't have enjoyed it quite so much. But eventually, we had a little fish of our own to bring home.

Letter from Birdland | Transplanting wild flowers

This time of year, you can find me mostly at my desk, grading papers to beat that final deadline, but I tell my students that they don't want me to grade when I'm fatigued, so I take lots of breaks. I do it for the students.

Letter from Birdland | Reading is alive and well

Chicago is overcast this morning. We have come up for the Battle of the Books, an elementary and middle school contest where teams compete for glory and honor.

Letter from Birdland | A mission to rescue junk

The grass in Birdland is as green as new corn, and though the sky is overcast and puddles fill the lane with yesterday's rain (which just might drop in again today), sweater weather is finally here.

Letter from Birdland | Winter won't go away

In Birdland, low, dark clouds roll and rumble across the sky from the west. The sun is warm when it shines in the gaps, but the wind blows away any gathered warmth and then blows more clouds to cover the sun.

We teeter on the brink of spring and keep slipping back into winter. But if the daffodils can be believed, maybe we have finally made the leap.

Letter from Birdland | Sharing a love of planting

In Birdland, we've had a dizzying progression of seasonal changes. Warm and sunny weather followed by snow and back again to springtime.

Letter from Birdland | Ridding fields of rocks was a blast

In Birdland, the gray sky is sending down a solemn drizzle. I don't know when the mud will dry out enough for Jim and Sean to get in the fields to plant.

For now, I can still look out to the west and see my Uncle David's big rock. It sits on the fence line on his side of the fence, but he lets me walk down the access lane to visit it. It is massive, and warm when the sun shines on it.