Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 26: Backyard Birds

After mowing the lawn today, I did something unusual for me. I sat on the back step in the sun and... well, that's it. I just sat on the back step. For about ten minutes I did nothing but just sit there and live in the moment. My cat, who is strictly an indoor cat occasionally allowed supervised visits onto the porch, came over and, instead of trying to make her usual escape attempt, curled up in my lap. Apparently she wanted to live in the moment too. She purred and dozed, while I looked around and thought about how much I love my back yard.

Back yard, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love the ever-present rushing music of the river that passes over your feet. I love the canopy of oak, beech, ash, and maple leaves that surround you, leaving just the right-sized opening for sky and sunlight. I love the frilly fans of ferns that border your edges and the tall goldenrod along the porch steps. I love your view of my neighbor's orange day lilies. I love how you keep my flowers healthy, even the wild ones. And I love how the combination of water and tree cover brings birds into your sheltered embrace.

If you don't go looking for birds, sometimes they have a way of finding you. While I sat there enjoying my yard in all its early summer greenery, I heard the following:
cardinal whistling up a storm in the neighbor's yard
squalling group of crows upriver
broad-winged hawk high overhead
pileated woodpecker cackling somewhere downriver
loon calling in flight
warbling vireo moving through the trees above the river
several robins singing throughout the neighborhood
song sparrow across the street
hummingbird squealing through the yard, hopefully on its way to my bee balm

I've found fewer birds than that while out actually looking for them! And my cat was oblivious to it all.

Sometimes sitting still
turns out to be the best way
to hear birds, here, now.

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