I love the colors the earth offers us during our gray, cold and damp winters on the island; even the earth offers a mixture of enjoyable fragrances to complement the winter scene. The grasses remain a washed out mixture of light greens, ochres and umbers in the open fields. Most common bushes surrounding the open fields on the island are the white winter berry and Nootka rose bushes full of rose hips and deep red wine branches at this time of the year. From a distance these bushes contrast against the dark evergreens and other shrubs creating a striking scene. In this painting, a group of tall alder trees are growing in the distance further behind the mass of rose bushes. The catkins on the higher branches of the alder are slowly forming on the branches of the alder turning a mass of mauve.
On the same day I walked my neighborhood roads, several of the Gold Crowned Kinglets were hopping along the road picking up any speck of food they could find. They are a very small brown bird with a yellow cap on their head, almost invisible on the ground. They are unafraid of humans, vehicles and animals. I can walk within a foot of them while they remain busy collecting seeds and scraps; often times, I have nearly stepped on one while it was hopping along collecting its scraps.
There is also a Red Crown Kinglet that I have never seen in our area until the same day of this walk! It was a thrill; its crown was a brilliant bright red….oh, how I wished I had my camera since I was able to follow the bird to my driveway before it flew to the near salal bushes. It was my treasure for the day.