Apr 3, 2013

Backyard Reverie

I am currently enjoying space and quiet in the outdoors. The fact that there is still a sea of snow in my yard and that it is only 40 degrees is not stopping me from spending time in the sun on my deck. The thermometer reads 80 in the sunshine and that is keeping the chill at bay. I am enjoying watching the frenzy of bird activity as my feeders and trees are full of juncos, chickadees and sparrows. I can hear the bicycle whir of the warbler but can't see it. The female cardinal is flying backwards and forwards from her nest with no sign of her mate. I hope that he is sitting on the nest as it is unsual to see her out without his careful attention. The Coopers Hawk is back, returning each spring for years, and it greeted me with it's commotion of sharp cacking. I am hoping it did not eat the male cardinal as it feeds on squirrels and birds. I saw a squirrel with a chunk missing from it's tail just this morning. The chickens have finally ventured out on the snow and have made it to the deck. They are currently gathered around me, probably wondering how they will get back home across the snow. It took and hour of coaxing to get them here; they like their feet warm and dry as do I. Ah, a pileated woodpecker just showed up, he is so dramatic in his call, size and appearance. He is over one foot long and has a bright red cap with black and white stripes. When he makes a hole it sounds like an axeman going at a tree.

This kind of back yard reverie reminds me of Annie Dillard's, On Tinkers Creek and I am thinking that I need to read it again. I guess that we are all craving fresh air and sunshine after a very long winter and I am connecting with the rest of nature in this rediscovery of the world around. This connection feeds my humanity and makes things feel as though they are assuming their proper place.  The hens are a little jittery at the birds so close by and they are clustering around my legs. They have had a few unpleasant encounters with the hawk who is not at all phased by my presence. She swoops at them right in front of me and sits in my tree boldly facing me down. I have mixed feelings about it, it is rare for them to be so bold with humans and I like that it has come to know me, but I feel guilty feeding the birds as this only encourages the hawk and it keeps the chickens sticking under the bushes and trees. Sigh, my fingers are getting stiff with cold so I must end and help the chickens back over the snow.
Post Script - the chickens were each happily carried back home and I am about to put my feet up too with the pleasant tired that comes from all that sunshine and fresh air.
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