In a pine tree,
A few yards from my window sill,
A brilliant blue jay is springing up and down, up and down,
On a branch.
I laugh, as I see him abandon himself
To entire delight, for he knows as well as I do
That the branch will not break.
~ James Wright
It’s been dry and windy, and this morning I noticed finches hopping around in the nearly-empty bird bath. As I filled the watering can I use to replenish the bath, I noticed other finches perched on the dogs’ water bowl that sits on the deck.
The birds were thirsty.
Soon after I went back inside, birds arrived. These finches (House and Gold), juncos, chickadees, doves, flickers, and magpies all came to drink at the community pool. In fact, so many birds came to visit throughout the day that I just cleaned and refilled the bath again.
Lucky me. And I mean that.
When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.
~ E. O. Wilson
The feeder was full first thing this morning. We had Blue Jays, American Magpies, and a Northern Flicker or two trying to get at the peanuts. However, this scrub jay fussed at them and mostly kept everyone away.
Then, after all that effort, this jay would fly from the feeder to the nearby shrubs to hide the peanuts. I mean, no subterfuge whatsoever. A direct line from feeder to shrubs. I waited for the others to start raiding the peanut cache, but I never saw anyone try it.
Perhaps the other birds took note for later in the season when they’ll need food. If so, I envy them their memories. I had trouble locating my coffee cup this morning.
Every time I see or hear a crow, I smile.
I stop what I’m doing so that I can watch what it’s doing.
Because, crows are smart.
Crows sometimes make and use tools.
Examples include a captive crow using a cup to carry water over to a bowl of dry mash; shaping a piece of wood and then sticking it into a hole in a fence post in search of food; and breaking off pieces of pine cone to drop on tree climbers near a nest.
Crows are that smart.
Wouldn’t smart be a nice change?
Also? Crows maintain extended families and communities.
And wouldn’t responsibility to community feel really nice right about now?
Zippy and I just took Emma for a walk around our neighborhood. As we walked, we noted the bright, outdoor lights shining on the marjority of houses we passed. It was a relief whenever we passed dark houses. A break for our eyes.
As annoying as those bright lights are for me, they can be life and death for birds during migration time. (And yes, I understand that lights on tall buildings are more problematic for birds than suburban lighting.)
I still wish that all people, both urban and suburban, worried less about what might be lurking in the dark, and more about the well-being of our feathered friends. Excessive lighting is just that.
I’m also thankful I had the trails 100% to myself as I ran, never seeing another human during those 35 minutes, not once, not even off in the distance.
I am thankful for the company of the 80 million grasshoppers, the occasional butterfly, the what-I-hope-was-a-hummingbird-and-not-an-enormous-insect buzzing in my ear, the one bunny that allowed me a glimpse before disappearing into the rabbit brush, the sunshine, and the unidentified bird with the black tail.
I’m thankful for the strength in my legs, the power in my lungs, and the lack of ego that allowed me to walk when I felt like it.
Finally, I’m thankful that the rain didn’t fall until I was already home.
Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen –
that stillness becomes a radiance.
~ Morgan Freeman
It’s been a hard week, stillness and radiance-wise. Every day, I’ve called the soulless Senator Cory Gardner regarding his votes on the health care repeal. His staffers don’t seem to be taking calls anymore and so I’m forced to leave messages. Confession: I don’t give good voice mail. Even under the best of circumstances, I’m prone to blithering-blathering-wandering messages that spend way too much time in the ditch before I yank the steering wheel and get the call back on the pavement. Today I shouted my entire message at Senator Cory Gardner. However, I did not curse.
Come to think of it, the last time I swore during one of those calls was a couple months back when I reached an actual human. That young man told me if I cursed one more time, he’d hang up on me.
Maybe I’m actually making progress with this whole radiance thing.
Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
~ Khalil Gibran
One of the very best things about running on the trails in June is the Western Meadowlark companionship. They’re all over the open space, perched on yucca or rabbit brush. The colors shown in these public domain photos might lead you to believe that meadowlarks are easy to spot. Not so.
I almost always hear a Western Meadowlark before I see it. These birds have the most beautiful song. It’s liquid and lyrical, warm and smile-inducing. A pure shot of joy.
And lucky for me, these birds love to sing.
The world is full of poetry.
The air is living with its spirit;
and the waves dance to the music of its melodies,
and sparkle in its brightness.
~ James Gates Percival
Yesterday, the forecast said it would start snowing this evening. Instead, I woke to smothered flowers and shrubs in my front and back yards. I spent more than an hour outside with a broom, clearing snow from collapsed lilac bushes and apache plume shrubs. I’m probably going to lose my iris display this year. Again. And forget about the poppies.
The finches are handling it pretty well. We’d already called it a season and brought in the long extension cord that heats the bird bath, so that’s a bummer. I filled the dish with hot water this morning and the water has already turned slushy.