Saturday, June 13, 2015
Grab a cup of iced coffee, head to the back porch, fill the bird feeders, check on Birdette and Fiona, and settle in to "observe." This morning, Hank is lying by the top of the deck stairs, Maxie is sitting by the grill and Abbie is wandering between the two. Chance has taken up his post on the front porch, ready to ward off anyone who dare approach, with his deep bark.
And I just sit, and watch. I watch Doc, the roan stallion in the next pasture quietly grazing, and the seemingly infinite variety of birds that flit back and forth from the great black walnut trees to grab a seed then retreat to enjoy it in private. I am in awe of the work ethic of the bluebirds and tree swallows, skimming the pasture for breakfast for their babies, tucked safely in the nesting boxes, with relentless determination. There's no Plan B for them, nor would they consider complaining. They do what is necessary; they don't expect anyone to do it for them. I admire them.
I smile at the charge of the mares across the creek into their "club room," the series of tunnels and open spaces they've carved out of the heavy woods on the other side: a shady and cool retreat where they'll spend a good bit of the day. Grace is definitely not Kachina's middle name as she moves with the delicacy of a lumberjack through the narrow passageway.
This has become my morning ritual. Observing, coffee, light yoga to stretch out my body, meditation to quiet my mind. I bring my date book and my journal to make notes on thoughts that I know I will forget, for some of the best ideas come during this time. I do not speak; not even to the dogs. Silence is a key part of observation. It is impossible to listen with your mouth going.
The chipping sparrow has a fledgling and she's teaching it where the food is. I've been watching her teach it all manner of things this week, either from the hammock where I do my evening observation or here, in the mornings. The baby's call is distinct and 'cluttered': too many notes. It will become more succinct as it ages. Only one baby is odd, but there are many predators for young birds.
Something visited close to the house last night, for Ellie the Walker Hound has her nose practically embedded in the earth under the tree just to my left, totally focused on the scent, and oddly silent. Ah - there it is. She has found the trail and is off through the pasture toward the creek, baying in a way that most definitely is not conducive to quiet reflection, but she makes me smile.
The fog is burning off as the sun crests the mountain behind me. The golden hour light is gone. It has been a challenging few weeks, and I have many questions. The answers are here, for all of us. We just have to be still and listen.