“Your head is a living forest full of songbirds.“ — e.e. cummings
These finches (look closely, there are two) offer a good representation for my current emotional and mental state.
Sometimes my feelings are bright, cheery, and upbeat–as they were yesterday while walking in the sunshine with Emma Jean-Jean–and other times my emotions feel more drab and less hopeful, as this morning when tears overwhelmed me during my first yoga session in a while.
The good news is that nature always provides. During that same yoga session, feeders outside the window were visited by a flock of twenty or so wee Bushtits, reminding me of the power of community. Bushtits stick together, chipping and twittering as they forage in a tree and move on to another.
We’re not alone in this difficult reality and I’m grateful for my communities, including this one here.
This photo was taken exactly a year ago and I’m sharing it now because the forecast says to expect snow for the next five days.
So even though the shrubs are starting to bud out and sprout tiny green leaves, we’re going to pretend spring isn’t happening. Ah, well. I’m never going to badmouth much-needed precipitation. As the saying goes: April [snow] showers bring May flowers.
House Finch etiquette
grab seed and sit at table
dining al fresco
junco not into sharing
feathered dine and dash
I’d written just under 40,000 words of my latest middle-grade novel when it hit me: it’s not working. As in, not working as written. The story’s premise is solid (I believe), but the way I was telling the story was not working.
Yesterday I went all the way back to chapter two and tried again. The good news is that approach feels stronger. More sustainable. The bad news? Adopting that approach will mean scrapping a whole lot of those 40k words. Yikes. How could I get it so wrong?
Welp, as author Thomas Mann noted: A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
I’m feeling a bit discouraged. But like this House Finch outside my window today, I need to accept that I bobbled the initial landing.
And just keep on writing so that
I regain my footing in the story. It’s all I can do.
I’m very grateful for today’s clean air! The snow ( temporarily, at least) cleared the smoke and ash from the wildfires. There’s also sunshine. Hooray! And it was a balmy 40 degrees as Zippy, Emma, and I walked around the neighborhood, skirting patches of ice. It’s the first walk in weeks and weeks (months?) in which I didn’t have to wear a mask to protect my lungs from smoke. I felt so free.
My son, Zebu, doesn’t get it, but I absolutely love the day following a big snowstorm. Clean, crisp air plus blue skies equals happiness.
This photo was taken the day after one of our snowstorms last October, but it’s a perfect representation of this day. And maybe this same House Finch is out in the plum bushes as I write these words.
Cat and squirrel face off through the glass as a House Finch dines in the background. Meanwhile, a fish (window sticker) swims across the scene. Would’ve been even more awesome if a reptile wandered into the picture.
Guess it could happen…the day’s still young.
Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
~ Leonard Cohen
Water for the bees
Towhee and Finch say “Yes, please”
clean feathers are key
This photo seems fitting today as I continue revising my middle-grade novel based on a critique partner’s (CP) comments.
Her insights are helping me ground each character in key scenes. This CP excels at noting the many moving pieces in my story, reminding me to take into account each character’s perspective. Revision is a dream when I’m equipped with such a good map. Much gratitude to Marcia.
(Another CP is reading the same version Marcia received and I’m beaming thoughts to the universe that his feedback aligns with hers because otherwise, yikes. What will I do with a whole new map? Breathe, Tracy. Breathe.)
“Look up at the miracle of the falling snow, – the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes, noiselessly transforming the world . . .”
~ John Burroughs from The Snow-Walkers
Other bird species come and go, but there isn’t a day that goes by without a House Finch or two (or twenty) paying a visit to my backyard. May that always be the case.
Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed. ~ Indra Devi
At noon today, I was getting focused and situated at my desk for the afternoon’s revisions when I received a text from a climate friend with a request that blew up those revisions plans. And guess what? I’m totally cool with that because sometimes To-Do lists are overrated.
Sometimes we gotta let in the spontaneity and chaos. Sometimes those elements are the purest reflection of my true Self.
Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art. ~ Frederic Chopin
Birds are the most popular group in the animal kingdom.
We feed them and tame them and think we know them.
And yet they inhabit a world which is really rather mysterious.
~ David Attenborough
Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.
~ Robert Browning
In this part of the world, we’re in the final hours of 2018 which has been a shit-year in so many ways for the planet and its inhabitants. I don’t have any profound insights to offer. I would, however, like to share this photo I just took from my dining room window.
It’s not a great picture, but it makes me happy. There’s much going on here (falling snow, flight, eating, turf battles, perching, etc) and I wanted to include this image because birds never, ever fail to brighten my day. I’m hoping they’ll do the same for you. Either way, it feels right to include feathered friends as I say goodbye to a difficult year.
The one other consistently bright spot for me this year has been the Sunrise Movement. No one is fighting harder and more effectively in the face of climate change than these young people with their action plan, aka the Green New Deal, that includes massive job creation. PLEASE consider pledging a monthly donation (mine is $5 per month) to this incredible organization that’s given me more hope than I thought possible.
I wish you and yours a Happy New Year! Here’s to continuing the good fight in 2019!
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