The past three days, we have been pulled out of the deep freeze and into a melt. I can not walk through the tall woods at the river, without hearing the constant mating thrums of Northern Flickers and without seeing the wild flurry as males, out of urge and instinct, chase the females, dodging in and out of branches. I can hear the echoing drum of the Pileated Woodpecker on the opposite side of the river and thrill to see my Alberta Birders’ archives of the splendid colour, later, on my computer at home. It is as though everything has come to life, suddenly. For so long, the world slept.
It all began with the Magpies. My neighbourhood, even as snow mounted on our quiet circle, was abuzz with the squawking gathering of dead branches that were tightly woven into the growing bulb of nests, peppering the remaining Elms.
Evenings, I stood in contemplation while the adult Bald Eagles, flew west and east and west and east, gathering up lining materials and tall grasses, returning again and again to the nest that was clearly visible all winter long. The juveniles have mostly disappeared, leaving the two regal raptors to forge out a life for the new. It has been an intimate and powerful encounter to watch these families throughout such a harsh winter.
While these aren’t the best of shots, I have a wee archive of the interesting approach to gathering. I can only imagine living in one of the ‘big’ houses along the ridge and having access, every day, to such wonder, just outside my windows.
I celebrate, every day, the access I have to such wonder. I really can only equate it all to an experience of grace. My friend, Michael, is someone who knows and understands what I mean by that. A person just wants to sing, at the top of their lungs…”HOLY! HOLY!”
Whether one enjoys the nesting behaviours of an eagle, or the simplicity of sparrows that nest in a stove vent…it is all so amazing.
As my children have become adults, I have experienced a sense of loss. Some days my heart feels empty. But, then I step out into nature and I observe what surrounds and once again, my heart sings. I am reminded that God made all of this for me. I am reminded that I need to take responsibility for such astounding beauty. Sometimes it can all be very brutal, but at other times, it is pure fragility and tenderness.
For a girl I know it’s Mother’s Day
Her son has gone alee
And that’s where he will stay
Wind on the weathervane
Tearing blue eyes sailor-mean
As Falstaff sings a sorrowful refrain
For a boy in Fiddler’s Green
Well, I guess it never worked too good
The timber tore apart
And the water gorged the wood
You can hear her whispered prayer
For men at masts that always lean
The same wind that moves her hair
Moves a boy through Fiddler’s Green
Oh nothing’s changed anyway
Oh anytime today
There’s nowhere that he’s really been
But he won’t travel long alone
No, not in Fiddler’s Green
Balloons all filled with rain
As children’s eyes turn sleepy-mean
And Falstaff sings a sorrowful refrain
For a boy in Fiddler’s Green