All photos in this post were shot in the gardens of my father- and mother-in-law
So this tribute is not meant to be one of grief and sorrow. Instead, I wanted to publish a celebration of what Jan loved. He loved the Lord and his family most. Very close after those came his love for the things of nature.
I have had many opportunities to shoot photographs in the gardens that Jan enjoyed around the home he shared with my mother-in-law, Beth. He and his lovely wife worked with landscape architects and gardeners to make the gardens fit the vision they both had with redwood stands providing shade from the intense heat of California's Central Valley.
Jan and Beth's vision also included places where birds feed, nest and find safety. Jan loved the birds that came to visit the garden. He doted on them with the best seed contained in the best feeders. I even convinced him that even though Scrub Jays sometimes have a predatory tendency on other birds, they also are a wonderful garden ally for eliminating snails and other pests. Jan would put out a pile of peanuts by the pond especially for the Scrub Jays (you can see the peanuts in the photo above if you click on it to enlarge).
Jan enjoyed the hummingbirds the most, I think. The hummingbird feeder hanging right outside their family room window provides wonderful views of their tiny beauty. I've always noted that "his" hummingbirds were always more polite to one another than the cantankerous and territorial little ones I have in my own garden.
Jan was also a very talented painting artist as well as an avid art collector. His own paintings and those he collected all contain the beauties of nature. He and I would love to sit and appreciate art, birds and gardens--usually with only a few choice words. Just two months ago, Jan shared with me his secret to having a crop of large and luscious peaches every year by selectively thinning the clusters of fruit when they are small. Now every time I thin my Pippins on the apple tree, I think of him and employ his wise counsel.
This is not a goodbye, dear Dad. You and I always knew that even though a hummingbird would take wing and flit away, we would surely see it again. Dad, I know with even more surety that I will see you again. I love you. Say hello to all the hummingbirds for me.